By Megan Kolodgy

Daily Sports Writer

The No. 19 Michigan women’s softball team was on its way to its second straight tournament win in Tallahassee, Fla. After three victories on Saturday, the Wolverines were in position to defeat Troy State in the semifinal round of the Florida State Seminole Invitational. Only one thing could stand in their way: Mother Nature.

On Saturday night, torrential rains flooded the diamonds, dashing the Wolverines’ hopes of returning to Ann Arbor with a championship.

“The rain was definitely frustrating,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “It’s no small thing to get geared up for a game and not be able to play, but I was proud of the way the team handled it.”

Although the weather may have cost Michigan what would have certainly been a boost to its morale, the Wolverines did manage to up their record to 11-6. Hutchins was pleased with the abbreviated performance in Florida.

“Fortunately, we got three games in,” Hutchins said. “And going 3-0 in a tournament like this is never a bad thing.”

The Wolverines did not get to match up with other top 25 teams, such as Nebraska or Florida State, this weekend, but they took advantage of the opportunity to make up for the playing experience lost to inclement weather.

“The team has certainly become more cohesive,” Hutchins said. “We should have about 24 or 26 games under our belts so far, but we only have 17. I’d say we’re doing well, all things considered.”

In Michigan’s first game against Utah, senior pitcher Marissa Young propelled the Wolverines to a 1-0 win.

“Offensively, we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to against Utah,” Hutchins said. “But our defense and pitching was able to pick up the slack.”

Later Saturday afternoon, Michigan’s offense stepped up, as junior Meghan Doe drove in two runs, and scored two of her own on the way to a 7-1 win over Providence. Senior Melinda Moulden had a pair of RBI’s and one run.

Saturday’s third game marked the beginning of the rain, and the end of the tournament. The intrepid Wolverines, fueled by an improved pitching effort from sophomore Nicole Motycka, played through the rain and beat Florida International by a score of 5-2.

“Florida International was a team with a lot of spark,” Hutchins said. “Motycka came in on relief last night, though, and I was really pleased.”

The wet weekend in Tallahassee allowed Michigan time to utilize its strengths, and also gave it the chance to see where it has room for improvement.

“We need to have better at-bats,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins maintains that the only way the Wolverines will be able to do this is through more competitive experience.

“We need to get on the field and play more than we need to practice,” she said. “It’s been difficult to establish a rhythm this season, but once we do this, we should be set.”

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