Sweet Win for Michigan, 5-0 Over Alabama

2015WCWSArticle

“Sweet Win for Michigan, 5-0 Over Alabama” Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY — How was Michigan’s game against Alabama in the Women’s College World Series? It was Sweet.

Catcher Laura Sweet smashed a grand slam homer in a four-run fourth inning to propel Michigan to a win 5-0 over Alabama in the third of four games in the WCWS Thursday.

The grand slam by Sweet was her 12th homer of the year and the 117th hit by the Wolverines who have been one of the hottest teams in Division One. The win Thursday was their 26th in the row and the third time they have beaten Alabama (47-14) this season.

Michigan pitcher Megan Betsa mixed her pitches well in getting her 31st win of the season, allowing four hits, all singles. It was her 17th win during the Michigan win streak and the second time this season that Alabama has been shutout this season. She allowed only one hit through the first five innings before Alabama collected two singles in the sixth inning from Demi Turner and Jadyn Spencer, but Betsa got Marisa Runyon to pop out to third to end the inning and the threat. Alabama got another single in the seventh from pinch hitter Andrea Hawkins, but Betsa struck out pinch hitter Kallie Case to end the game. It was Megan’s sixth strikeout of the game.

Alabama freshman Alexis Osorio took the loss (21-9) and allowed four hits including Sweet’s homer and a two-out solo homer by Kelly Christner with two out in the first inning. It was her 21st homer of the season. She was a reserve on the team last year but worked and worked during the summer and has developed into one of the team’s top players. She had only three homers and a .299 batting average last year.

Michigan (57-6) will face the winner of Thursday’s final game between Oregon and UCLA Friday at 8:30.

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LSU defeats Auburn 6-1 in second game of WCWS

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“LSU defeats Auburn 6-1 in second game of WCWS” Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY — Clint Myers is not one to panic even after his Auburn Tigers lost 6-1 in Thursday’s second game of the Women’s College World Series against LSU.

“We’re still in this,” said the Auburn coach. “I liked the way we finished.”

Auburn dropped in the losers’ bracket, and will meet Tennessee at 11 a.m. Saturday, and now must win four games without a loss to win the national championship. But Auburn had lots of four-game winning streaks on the way to what is now a 54-10 record.

“Whether we have to play two, three or four, whatever it will be, we came here to play and prove that we deserve to be here,” Myers said.

“I’m hoping we’ll be here to play that fourth one, because that will put us in that championship game.”

Auburn collected six hits and one run against LSU starter Carly Hoover (18-5). The lone run came in the fifth inning when Morgan Estell doubled to lead off, was sacrificed to third and scored on Jenn Abbott’s sacrifice fly. Hoover hurked 78 pitches in her route-going performance.

By then the score was 5-1 and the Tigers (51-12) added another run in the sixth inning to seal the issue and record their 51st win of the season against 12 losses. This is LSU’s fourth apppearance in the WCWS.

While Hoover scattered six hits, her teammates collected 10 hits off two Auburn pitchers with starter and loser Marcy Harper going two and two-thirds allowing six hits and five runs. Rachael Walters relieved her after the Tigers had scored four times in the third inning and finished the game. The inning was highlighted by a two-run homer by Kellsi Kloss, her 13th of the season, over left field. The other two runs in the inning were courtesy of a two-run double by Sahvannah Jaquish. Bianka Bell scored the first LSU run in the first inning with a solo homer. It was her 18th homer of the year. Constance Quinn scored the final LSU run on a throwing error by Walters in the sixth inning.

With the win, LSU advances to play Florida 7 p.m. (EST) Friday in the winner’s bracket.

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Florida topples Tennessee 7-2 in World Series opener behind Haeger

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“Florida topples Tennessee 7-2 in World Series opener behind Haeger” Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Paybacks are not easy and especially when they come in the Women’s College World Series, which began here Thursday afternoon with defending champion Florida playing Tennessee in the opening game.

Florida star pitcher Lauren Haeger entered the game with only one loss with 28 wins. That loss came May 8th of this year when the Gators lost to the Lady Vols, 2-1 in the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament.

Thursday afternoon Haeger and the Gators got their redemption with a 7-2 victory to extend their winning streak to six games this season. It also was the sixth consecutive win in the WCWS since the Gators won their first national title and the second by the SEC last year.

Although Haeger won, her consecutive scoreless inning streak of 32 was broken by Lady Vol sophomore Megan Geer, who recorded a two-run homer in the fourth inning. The home run, her 14th of the season, was the 100th of the season for the Lady Vols. It was the only hit Haeger allowed. She retired the first 10 batters in order before hitting Shaliyah Geathers with a pitch with one out. Heager got Meghan Gregg to fly out to left before before Geer hit the first pitch into the left field bleachers. Haeger threw 81 pitches in her route going performance, striking out four and walking none. She faced 23 batters, two over the limit.

Geer was looking to hit her pitch against Haeger. “It was really key to try and lay off the pitcher’s pitches and hit my pitch. My pitch that I’m good at. That’s kind of what I did. My at-bat I thought she was getting ahead a lot so my second at-bat came up. I decided if the first pitch was going to be there I was going for it.”

The homer by Geer reduced the Gator margin to one, 3-2, but that didn’t last long as Florida scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and twice in the sixth to collect their 56th win of the season against six losses. The Lady Vols didn’t help their cause any all, making four errors for the third time this season, with catcher Annie Aldrete, who had entered the game with a fielding percentage of .991 and three errors, making two errors. It wasn’t the kind of game Vol supporters were expecting from Aldrete who has been a solid fielding catcher and is only a sophomore.

But Tennesee has only one player with any previous World Series experience and nerves obviously played a role in the game.”I think we just kind of need to relax and play our game as if we were playing at the home field or something like that, not to get too overwhelmed and not to try to do too much,” said Geer.

Florida set the tone of the game early when Haeger, after two out, hit a 2-2 pitch thrown by losing pitcher Rainey Gaffin into the left field bleachers in the first inning. It was her 17th homer of the season, 69th of her careet and the first in her WCWS career. Gaffin, who suffered her fourth loss of the season in 21 games, said,” She’s a great hitter, two strike at-bat, two outs. She tapped a good pitch. I left it up a little too much and she attacked it. I give her props for that. She was attacking all day.” Gaffin hurled four innings allowing five hits and five runs before Erin Gabriel finished the game allowing two hits and two runs. Gaffin fanned two and walked one. Gabriel walked three and also fanned three.

Besides the solo homer, Haeger had a perfect day, hitting a single in the fourth and eventually scoring on an error by the Tennessee second baseman and walking twice, including once intentionally in the second inning.

The Gators, who advance to play LSU Friday at 7 p.m., (EST) expanded their lead in the third inning when freshman Kayli Kvistad sent a home run to right center to put the Gators in front, 3-0. The home run was her sixth of the season. The Gators added a pair in the fourth, taking advantage of a Lady Vol error, and added another pair of runs in the sixth to seal the issue.

Florida head coach Tim Walton was pleased with the win and Haeger. “Lauren hitting that home run in the first inning really set the tone, [then] she really went out there and pitched well,” Walton said. “Overall, I thought we played clean. We played very poised, very controlled.”

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