“Florida and Michigan Remain Unbeaten in WCWS” Written By Bill Plummer
OKLAHOMA CITY — Lauren Haeger didn’t pitch another one-hitter but she did hit another home run.
And although Michigan fell behind early against UCLA, the Wolverines’ win streak is intact.
In fact, both teams’ win streaks are intact as they appear to be on a collision course to meet in the WCWS Championship Series, which begins Monday in a best-of-three format.
As it was, Haeger hurled a shutout as the Gators blanked pesky LSU, 4-0, Friday evening before a crowd of 9,425 to win their second consecutive game in this World Series and seventh in a row the over the last two years. The Gators went undefeated in five games last year to win their first NCAA softball title and the second for the SEC. Florida is now 57-6 and is bidding to become the second team since Arizona to repeat as NCAA national softball champ.
Besides hurling a shutout and limiting LSU to five hits, Haeger hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning for her 17th homer this season and70th of her career. Florida extended its lead with a solo homer by Nicole DeWitt to right field in the sixth inning and scored its final run taking advantage of an LSU error with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
LSU, which is making its fourth appearance in the WCWS, threated early again Haeger, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning, but Haeger didn’t miss a beat as her defense came through, getting the first out on a fielder’s choice before shortstop Kathlyn Medina fielded a ground ball and tagged an LSU runner going to third before throwing out LSU catcher Kellsi Kloss before she got to first.
“Get me a ground ball. I’ll get you out of this,” Media said she told Haeger.”We were back to get a double play and it just worked out in our favor.”
“I just credit my first for that inning,” said Haeger, who figures to pitch again while the Gators wait and see which team comes out of Elimination Saturday. LSU (51-13) will play 8:30 Saturday evening against the winner of the Alabama-Oregon game. The Gators’ next game is Sunday at noon.
Michigan,meanwhile, fell behind to UCLA, 3-0, making its first appearance in five years, with three runs in the bottom of the first before the Wolverines got their offense in gear enroute to a 10-4 win and their 27th consecutive win this season. Michigan scored four times in the third before UCLA came back in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at four-all before Michigan tallied six times in the last three innings while the Bruins were scoreless. Michigan is now 58-6 while UCLA is 51-11 and dropped into the loser’s bracket playing Saturday at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Auburn-Tennessee game.
Michigan collected 15 hits off UCLA pitching including Kelsey Susalla and Kelly Christner combing for seven of the 15. Susalla was 4-for-4 and Christner was 3-for-5. Each drove in three runs apiece and each scored twice as the Wolverines defeated UCLA ace hurler Ally Carda, who hurled five and two-third innings, allowing 13 hits and nine runs (eight earned) in losing her seventh game of the season against 32 wins.
Megan Betsa, who hurled the opening game for Michigan, lasted only two-thirds of an inning before Haylie Wagner came on to finish the game and collect her 23rd win of the season against two losses. She hurled six and one-third innings, allowing four hits and one run while striking out five and walking one.
Michigan will now play Sunday at 2:30 and wait and see which team advances through the loser’s bracket.
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