Softball Wins MACtion Match-Up, No-Hits Hurons 4-0

Softball Wins MACtion Match-Up, No-Hits Hurons 4-0

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on April 10th, 2018 at 5:58 PM

It was a bit of a lethargic day for offense at Alumni Field this afternoon, as the Michigan Wolverines took on their foe from just up the road, the EMU Hurons.  A Tera Blanco solo-shot was the only hit from Michigan's top 4 batters on the day, but it alone would have been enough to get the win.  Fortunately, there was a little more padding than that.  Single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th innings provided the 4-0 margin that Michigan needed.

The real story in this one, though, was in the circle.  Senior Tera Blanco gave perhaps her best performance yet in Maize & Blue, going 7 full innings, striking out 12 while ceding just 2 walks.  Even better, she threw the complete-game no-hitter, the first of her Michigan career.  This gives all three pitchers on the Michigan staff - Beaubien, Schaefer, and Blanco - a no-hitter on the season.

While beating the 4-28 Hurons is nothing to get overly worked up about, a no-hitter is always a great accomplishment.  The fact that Michigan has 3 pitchers who've done it in a single season says a lot about how this team has transformed & found a new identity.  While the team is still top-20 in batting average & top-40 in runs per game, they are now top 5 nationally in team ERA, and #2 in fielding percentage.  This is an elite defensive team, both in the circle and in the field.  As we've learned from basketball, that can take you a long way in a tournament.

Michigan's next game will be tomorrow evening at home 6 PM against MSU.  The match-up will be on ESPNU, so be sure to tune in!

Blanco Blasts Bury Boilers in Big Blowout, 11-1

Blanco Blasts Bury Boilers in Big Blowout, 11-1

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on March 31st, 2018 at 1:20 PM

Softball continued their winning ways today, shelling a Purdue Boilermakers pitching staff that was clearly in over their heads in this one.

Tera Blanco was the hero at the dish, launching a solo shot in the 4th, followed by a 3-RBI blast in the 5th to walk off in run-rule fashion, all part of a 3-for-3 performance.  The first homer went so far that it landed on the Ray Fisher Stadium outfield, drawing roars of approval from the baseball team.  She was not alone in finding her hitting stroke today, though, as Faith Canfield also went 3-for-3, and both Aidan Falk & Katie Alexander chipped in 2-hit efforts.  Nearly everyone got in on the action as the Maize & Blue pounded out 14 hits in less than 5 full innings of work.

In the circle, Meghan Beaubien was once again in control in the early going.  She did cede a walk and a hit in her 3 innings of work, taking a third straight Wolverine no-hitter off the table.  With nothing to prove and a big lead in hand, Hutch decided to save her ace's arm, sending Sarah Schaefer out to finish the job.  Schaefer went 2 innings and was a little wobbly, allowing 4 hits, 2 BBs, and an ultimately-meaningless run.  Still, the more innings she can accumulate the better, both for her development and for the sake of Beaubien's endurance.

1 game remains in the 3-game set, a 1 PM Easter Sunday match-up.  This one will be on BTN, so tune in after lunch & hopefully catch another big W!

Big 6th Lifts Softball Over CMU, 5-0

Big 6th Lifts Softball Over CMU, 5-0

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on March 21st, 2018 at 5:46 PM

Michigan softball just wrapped up their home opener, topping CMU 5-0 at Alumni Field.  The weather was chilly, and so were the bats through 5 innings in this one.

Neither team could scrape together a run, although the Chips came dangerously close in the 5th.  Hutch had lifted starter Tera Blanco for freshman phenom Meghan Beaubien, but Beaubien coming in cold could not keep Central off the base paths.  With the bases loaded, Blanco returned to the circle and got the Wolverines out of the jam.  Blanco would keep the door closed in the 6th, before getting her chance to play hero on the other side of the ball.

After Faith Canfield and Natalie Peters picked up hits, Blanco stepped to the plate with 2 on and no outs.  She delivered a double to the wall, driving in what would turn out to be the winning run.  Madison Uden added another double, making it 3-0, and Lou Allan and Faith Canfield added RBI singles as the Wolverines batted around.

Freshman Sarah Schaefer, coming off a Big Ten Pitcher of the Week performance last weekend, slammed the door in the 7th, and a stressful pitchers' duel ended as a comfortable M win.

Conference play begins on Friday, as Michigan travels to Iowa for a Friday/Saturday/Sunday 3 game slate.  Friday's game will be on BTN at 6 Eastern, 5 Central, so take a break from the Sweet Sixteen to take in some bat-and-ball action!

Softball Smacks Stony Brook, 7-0

Softball Smacks Stony Brook, 7-0

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on March 9th, 2018 at 5:55 PM

Coming off a break-out weekend, featuring multiple wins over ranked opponents and some of the most complete performances of the season, Michigan makes a trip to Florida this weekend for the FAU tournament.  The opener was the first-ever meeting between Michigan & Stony Brook softball, and my guess is that the Seawolves won't be all too eager to schedule meeting #2 any time soon.

It was another encouraging outing for the Michigan offense, as 6 different Wolverines got hits on the day.  Faith Canfield continued on her tear from a week ago, going 2-4 with 3 RBIs (all three of which came on a bases-clearing double in the B6 that turned a 4-0 lead into a 7-0 blowout).  Madison Uden was also particularly effective, going 2 for 2 with a walk to boot, while freshman Natalia Rodriguez also added a pair of hits to the cause.  Fellow-freshman Lou Allan continues to work her way into the line-up bit by bit, scoring a run after reaching base on a Stony Brook error in the 6th.

Defensively, Tera Blanco was in control for most of this one.  Stony Brook didn't register a hit until the 4th inning, when a lead-off triple gave them their biggest threat of the day.  An alert Sobczak gunned down the runner trying to get home on a bunt, though, and no harm was done.  Sarah Schaefer would come in to close things out in the 7th, hurling a 1-2-3 inning.

Michigan continues play in about 5 minutes, facing hosts FAU.  Freshman phenom Meghan Beaubien will be in the circle for this one.

Bats Boom, Blanco, Beaubien Bash Baylor Bears [Update: Beats ULL As Well]

Bats Boom, Blanco, Beaubien Bash Baylor Bears [Update: Beats ULL As Well]

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on March 2nd, 2018 at 6:01 PM

A scuffling UM softball team seized a huge opportunity to set things back in the right direction today, topping #8 Baylor 6-3 our in California.  Multiple rain delays dragged the affair out, but in the end, it was all to the good for the Maize & Blue, who finally got a big offensive performance against a big-time team.

Michigan scored in each of the first 4 innings, highlighted by a 3-run Tera Blanco homer in the top of the 1st, her first of two hits.  Faith Canfield also homered, and went 4-4 on the day.  Aidan Falk rounded out the multi-hit club, going 3-3.  Encouragingly, freshman Lou Allan saw extended action for the first time all year, and picked up a hit as well.

Defensively, Meghan Beaubien went the distance and picked up the win.  It wasn't her strongest outing, as she surrendered 5 hits, including a 3-run home-run in the 6th to open the door for some late inning drama.  She came back strong, however, with a 1-2-3 inning the B7 to slam the door on Baylor's comeback hopes.

This is a huge marquee win for Michigan, their second on the season, to go with a W over FSU two weeks ago.  Michigan gets one more opportunity at a top-25 scalp against #18 ULL, starting shortly.  After that, a string of lower-tier opponents will round out the non-conference slate.

[Update: The momentum kept rolling in game 2, as Michigan took down the ULL Ragin' Cajuns 3-1.  Michigan jumped out to an early lead, and it was all about Faith Canfield.  She crushed the first pitch of the game over the fence, and drove in 2 more runs in the 2nd with a single.  Pitching was by committee, with Schaefer throwing 2 innings, Blanco 4, and Beaubien 1, picking up a 1-2-3 save.  Cal Poly will round out the Judi Garman slate Saturday at 9:30 AM Pacific]

Softball Opens Judi Garman Classic with a Win [Update: 2 Wins]

Softball Opens Judi Garman Classic with a Win [Update: 2 Wins]

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on March 1st, 2018 at 2:34 PM

Every year at this time, Michigan's softball team treks West to participate in the annual Judi Garman Classic, which features a wide field of teams of all levels from around the country.  This year, the Wolverines opened play with a match-up against a weak Loyola Marymount team.

Despite their unimpressive record, the LMU Lions managed to give Michigan some significant trouble in this one.  Freshman phenom Meghan Beaubien was in command for most of the game, but one slip up in the 2nd cost her 2 runs on a LMU homer.  Michigan started to scratch back in the B3 as Alex Sobczak made her way around the bases 60 feet at a time, taking advantage of a sac bunt, a ground out, and an error to make it a 2-1 game.

A Tera Blanco single in the 5th opened the door for Rodriguez to tie it up, but Michigan was unable to take the lead.  After a blank 6th inning, Beaubien retired the Lions in order to start the 7th, and Michigan came to the plate knowing they just needed 1 run for the W.  Three straight singles from Canfield, Peters, and Blanco got the job done, and Michigan walked off with a 3-2 win.

It's not one for the record books, and it won't do much to assuage concerns about the Wolverine offense, but the team managed to avoid a bad loss today.  Hopefully it was just a matter of a long flight, jet lag, and an early start time.  The team will have what should be a tune-up game against Charlotte at noon Pacific Time today before two crucial games against Baylor and ULL tomorrow.

Update: The team beat the Charlotte 49ers 5-0 in the second game of the day.  Most of the damage was done over the course of a 4-run 4th inning.  That outburst was encouragingly highlighted by a 2-RBI single from freshman Lou Allan, who has been out with injury thus far this season.  In the circle, Tera Blanco and Sarah Schaefer combined for the shutout, scattering 5 hits.

Softball Whips UAB in Season Opener [Update: No Hitter in Game 2!]

Softball Whips UAB in Season Opener [Update: No Hitter in Game 2!]

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on February 9th, 2018 at 12:20 PM

Softball season is officially underway for the Michigan Wolverines!  In Florida for the USF tournament, the team took on the UAB Blazers.

Michigan got started early, putting up a run in the 1st inning on the strength of an Aidan Falk single.  Both teams threatened in the 2nd, but no one was able to push a run across.  Then in the 3rd inning, Michigan blew down the doors.  Faith Canfield got a lead-off hit, and after a walk, Falk added 2 more RBIs to her total with another single.  A pair of hit batters made it 4-0, and Abby Skvarce made it 5-0 (and maintained her career 1.000 batting average!).  The inning finally ended, but not before 2 wild pitches made it 6-0.  Things calmed down after that, with a Faith Canfield solo shot in the 6th rounding out the scoring.

Defensively, Tera Blanco went 6 strong innings, not allowing a run at any point.  Looking to get her young star a few reps in a low pressure situation, Hutch threw freshman Meghan Beaubien into the circle to close the show.  A little bit of nerves might have been in play, as Beaubien hit the first batter on her first career pitch.  A couple close plays that went UAB's way loaded the bases with no outs, and brought Hutch to the circle.  After that, Beaubien was lights out.  2 straight Ks put UAB's backs to the wall, and a ground-out ended the affair.

Michigan will now take a short break before facing Georgia State in about 20 minutes.

Georgia State was simply no match for Michigan in any phase of the game.  Offensively, Michigan hit through the line-up, with everyone but Blanco getting at least one base knock.  Faith Canfield starred offensively with 2 hits, including a 3-run homer to put the game into run-rule territory in the top of the 6th, but it was truly a team effort.

No one wants to talk about the offense right now, though.  The story is all about Meghan Beaubien, who absolutely murdered GSU from the circle.  Hurling 11 Ks while surrendering just 1 walk, the freshman unbelievably pitched a complete-game no-hitter in her first career start.  She mixed speeds effectively, ranging from the 70s down to the mid-50s, and never looked in serious danger of wavering.  You can't ask for a better start to a career than she just delivered.  Tomorrow, we'll get the chance to see what she can do against tougher opponents.

Blanco, Beaubien Impress as Softball Sweeps Sparty

Blanco, Beaubien Impress as Softball Sweeps Sparty

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on October 12th, 2017 at 8:34 PM

Michigan softball wrapped up its fall slate tonight with a 3-2 win over Michigan State in front of the home fans at Alumni Field.  The offense slopped around yet again, blowing a couple big opportunities, once with a base running error, and later by leaving the bases loaded with a chance to put the game out of reach.  Tera Blanco was a bright spot, reaching base in all 3 plate appearances, but we'll need more than that come spring.

Pitching, however, was a different story.  Senior Tera Blanco went 3 perfect innings to start the game, pitching 3 strike-outs and looking like a player in total command.  Freshman Sarah Schaefer entered in the 4th, and looked a little wobbly.  She allowed 2 runs in 2 innings, as MSU closed the gap from 3-0 after 3 to 3-2 after 2.

As the game got a little close for comfort, Hutch sent out her ace to close the show.  Emerging star Meghan Beaubien came out in the 6th and shut the door on the Spartans.  She did issue a pair of walks in the 6th, but also managed a ground-out, a fly-out, and a strike-out to retire the side.  In the 7th, an unlucky dribbler put the tying run aboard with one out, but she would advance no further.  A K and a ground-out ended the frame and the game.

Beaubien ends fall play with the following stat line: 18 innings pitched, 4 hits, 3 walks, 32 Ks.  It'll be a long winter waiting to see more of this young phenom.  Early returns are excellent, though, and sorely needed.  With the offense looking doubtful, Beaubien will need to be elite from day one for this team to win the Big Ten and make noise in the playoffs.  So far, so good.

Michigan ends fall exhibition play with a record of 6-0.

Softball Blanks MSU in Pitchers' Duel

Softball Blanks MSU in Pitchers' Duel

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on October 5th, 2017 at 6:24 PM

Michigan softball got this rivalry week off to a good start with a 3-0 road win over Michigan State.  Offense was again a problem, as a first-inning run scored off a Swearingen bloop single was all Michigan was able to muster until the top of the 7th.  Canfield and Falk drove in a pair of insurance runs late, making the final score line a little prettier, but coming on the heels of a weekend of questionable offense in Traverse City, Michigan fans were hoping to see more.

Fortunately, in the circle, the Wolverines were dominant.  Michigan State threatened a few times, but was never able to convert.  Freshman phenom Meghan Beaubien got the start in the circle, and was just as flawless against Big Ten competition as she was against MAC foes.  Beaubien pitched 3 no-hit innings, ceding just one walk while hurling 7 Ks.  She has now gone 16 innings without conceding an earned run, during which she has allowed 3 hits and 1 walk, while dishing out 29 Ks.

Freshman Sarah Schaefer and senior Tera Blanco split the rest of the pitching duties, shepherding Michigan through a tight one.  Schaefer allowed 2 hits and a walk in 2 innings of work, but also had 3 crucial strike-outs and kept the Spartans off the board.  Blanco stepped in the close the show in the 6th, and got the needed outs.  MSU put runners on the corners in the 7th, but a big K ended it.

Michigan has one last exhibition game, a home re-match with this same Spartan team on October 12.  For those in Ann Arbor, attendance is strongly recommended.  Alumni Field is always a great time, and this is a unique chance to see a future star in Beaubien right at the beginning of her career.

Softball Sweeps Fall Tournament

Softball Sweeps Fall Tournament

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on October 1st, 2017 at 2:26 PM

Michigan softball returned to the diamond for a second straight double-header, squaring off against Central Michigan twice, first in a round-robin game, and then in the mini-tournament's championship match.  The Wolverines took both games, 2-0 and 5-1, completing a 4-game sweep of the weekend's action.

The offense was a bit lackluster once again, as the Wolverines struggled to pull away from the Chips.  The lead never got bigger than 2 runs in game 1, and in the championship game, CMU pulled the margin to 2-1 in the fifth before Alex Sobczak blasted a home run that gave the Maize & Blue a 5-1 cushion.

In the circle, however, Michigan's pitchers were stellar.  Senior Tera Blanco got the start in the morning, and went the distance, ceding 4 hits and 1 walk while dishing out 8 Ks.  The coaches know what they have in Blanco, though, and so when Hutch had to choose a pitcher to get a second start, it came as no surprised that she sent super-frosh Meghan Beaubien out for the championship game.  Beaubien did not disappoint, hurling 6 strong innings of near-perfect softball.  1 hit, which lead to an unearned run, was all that separated the Wolverine southpaw from perfection.  Fellow freshman Sarah Schaefer stepped in to close things out in the 7th.

While you'd like to see the offense produce a bit more against these middling opponents, Meghan Beaubien was a shining star in her first appearances.  In 13 innings (145 pitches) on the weekend, she racked up 22 Ks, allowed only 3 hits, and did not give up a single walk.

The Wolverines will return to action on October 5 when they travel to East Lansing for a match-up with in-state rival MSU.