Jennie Ritter threw a one-hit shutout, and Samantha Findlay had a pair of hits and RBIs as Michigan knocked off Texas 4-0 in a winner’s bracket contest Friday evening at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Ritter went the distance and struck out 12 as she allowed a leadoff single to MicKayla Padilla and proceeded to retire the final 19 batters she faced.
Ritter and Texas starter Cat Osterman engaged in quite a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings, but Michigan gave Ritter all the run support she would need with a pair of runs in the fourth from the middle of the Michigan lineup.
“We know why Michigan is one of the teams favored to win this tournament,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “They did a good job adjusting at the plate. I thought Cat through a good game, but you have to credit Michigan for getting the hits when it counted.”
The Wolverines exploded for eight hits in the game, with seven coming out of 17 at-bats for the first five in the order. The top five in the batting order also combined for all four RBIs and three of the Wolverines’ four runs.
“I thought we brought our A game tonight,” Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins said. “We really persevered tonight. We did a good job of putting the ball in play and making things happen. It all started with defense and pitching, and Jennie pitched an outstanding game.”
Alessandr Giampaolo got the frame started with a single to Osterman, and Jessica Merchant followed with a single down the left field line. Findlay scored the pair as she delivered a double off the wall in left center.
The Wolverines gave Ritter insurance with a run in the sixth and another in the seventh. Merchant singled with one out in the sixth, and she slid around the tag from Megan Willis on Nicole Motycka’s single down the line in left that chased Osterman from the game.
A night after hurling a one hitter against Alabama, Osterman allowed three runs on six hits with 12 strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings. In Osterman’s seven losses this season, the Longhorns have scored five runs and been shut out in five of those games. She also saw her scoreless innings streak come to a halt at 60 and a third, and it was just the third time this season that she has allowed three or more runs.
“We knew Cat would get her strikeouts,” Merchant said. “In the fourth we started putting the ball in play, and we made some things happen.”
The final run of the game for Michigan came off of Meagan Denny in the seventh on Tiffany Haas’ single to center that scored Stephanie Bercaw, who led off the frame with a base hit.
Either DePaul, Alabama or Tennessee will face Michigan Sunday at 2 p.m., while Texas will face either California or Arizona Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
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