OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Michigan committed three errors in the 12th and 13th innings, allowing LSU to plate three runs to take a 3-2 decision in the opener of the Women’s College World Series.
The game was scoreless until the top of the 12th, when Michigan’s Grace Leutele delivered a two-run homer, scoring Jessica Merchant, who led off the inning with a triple.
Wolverine starter Nicole Motycka retired two of the first three batters in the bottom of the 12th before Leslie Klein reached on an error and Leigh Ann Danos delivered an RBI single to right field.
Jennifer Ritter (24-8) came in relief of Motycka and retired the only batter she faced in the inning, but Klein scored on a passed ball by Wolverine catcher Monica Schock to force the 13th frame.
LSU starter Kristin Schmidt (36-5) retired the side in the top half of the 13th, then Ritter retired the first two batters in the bottom half. Sara Fitzgerald and Camille Harris hit back-to-back singles, and Fitzgerald scored on a throwing error by Wolverine right fielder Courtney Betley.
“I was looking to score anyway that I could,” said Fitzgerald.
“This was a tough game for Michigan to lose,” LSU head coach Yvette Girouard said. “But it has been the epitome of our team to bend and not break. Our team refuses to surrender. We find ways to win.”
“Sometimes you have to have a break go your way,” added Girouard. “When we avoided that third out, you have to think that destiny is on our side.”
Both teams had early scoring opportunities. Michigan left six runners on base through the first five innings while the Tigers left 13. LSU had the bases loaded in the third inning, and had runners on second and third in the fourth, but failed to score.
“We had the game in our hands,” said Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins. “At the end of the game we just had bad fundamentals. We have to put this game behind us quickly.”
Michigan’s Tiffany Haas went 3-for-6 at the plate to lead all batters. Klein, Harris and Julie Wiese each delivered two hits for the Tigers, who defeated Michigan for the first time in four tries.
LSU will now face the winner of the Stanford/UCLA game on Friday, while Michigan will face the loser on Saturday.
Notes From the Diamond
- LSU is now 3-2 all time at the Women’s College World Series. The Tigers have now appeared in three extra-inning games. LSU defeated Oklahoma 2-1 in 13 innings at the 2001 WCWS.
- Michigan dropped to 2-13 all-time at the WCWS. The Wolverines have not won a game at the WCWS since 1998. Michigan dropped a 14-inning game 9-7 to Iowa in 1995.
- With 13 strikeouts today, LSU pitcher Kristin Schmidt moved into 15th place all-time with 1,123 career strikeouts. Schmidt also pitched a career-high 13 innings for the Tigers.
- LSU improved to 19-9 this season against ranked teams, while Michigan dropped to 7-7 against ranked opponents.
- Tiffany Haas has now reached base safely in 18 consecutive games and has recorded a hit in 25 of the last 32 games.
- LSU tied a season-high with three errors. Amazingly, the Tigers are 7-2 in games in which they commit three errors.
- LSU is now 5-1 in extra inning games this season while Michigan fell to 5-2.