Coach Carol Hutchins was victorious in her 1,000th career contest, and the Michigan softball team won its home opener yesterday at Alumni Field.
The second game of the doubleheader against Western Michigan ended in a 3-3 tie when the game was called on account of darkness after the fifth inning. Hutchins”s landmark came in the first game, which the Wolverines won 5-0.
“Every home game is special, and every game is special,” Hutchins said. “Honestly, I didn”t view this game any different than the other 999.”
In the late game, the Broncos took advantage of a poor outing from freshman pitcher Meghan Ritter to score two runs in the first inning. Ritter, who had been solid she had a 2.21 ERA in her four previous outings gave up six hits while facing just 12 batters.
“Ritter is a young pitcher who we don”t depend on to carry a load for us,” Hutchins said. “But I think she”s better than what she went out there and threw.”
In the third inning, junior co-captain Kate Eiland relieved Ritter. It was her first appearance this season after hip surgery nine weeks ago. She pitched three innings, and gave up one run.
“I feel like I”ve been out of it for so long, I wasn”t really sure what was going to happen,” Eiland said. “I didn”t really have any expectations. It ended up going pretty well, I thought.”
The Wolverines rallied from the early deficit to take the lead by scoring three runs in the third inning. Designated player Stefanie Volpe provided the spark with a double and a run in the inning.
After the Broncos scored in the top of the fifth, Michigan threatened in the bottom half of the inning. Volpe represented the winning run on second base with one out. But she was caught stealing before two singles by Michigan.
Volpe”s success began in the first game, when she hit 2-for-2 with her first homerun of the season.
“I”ve been struggling a little bit, but I put it all together,” said Volpe, who entered the game hitting just .227. I “got my head back on track and saw the ball well.”
For the day, Volpe was 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI.
The Wolverines benefited from stellar pitching in the afternoon game from Marie Barda, who earned a shutout by recording seven strikeouts and allowing just three hits over seven innings.