M Softball: Double Mercy-Rule Wins Today

Submitted by MGoSoftball on March 24th, 2012 at 6:06 PM

The Michigan Softball Team did not have one but two mercy-rule wins today against Penn State.  The first game was an 11-2 thumping and the second was a 12-4 beat-down.

In the first game, Haylie got the win.  She gave up 2 ER off 2 hits.  She walked 2 and stuck out 3.  She gave up a 2 run bomb to PS Pitcher (and best player) Lisa Akamine.

The offense had 10 hits led by lead-off hitter Bree Evans.  Bree went 3 for 3 scoring 3 runs and recording an RBI.  Bree also received a BB so she went 4 for 4 for her on-base statistic.  Now that is what you want from your lead off hitter; get on base any way possible.

Ashley Lane had a monster game.  She went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.  Chiddy went yard, 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.  Freshman Lauren Sweet went 2 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored.  Sara Driesenga batted in the DP slot and received 2 walks and scored a run.

In the second game, Sara got the start and pitched 3 innings.  She gave up 3 runs (1 ER) off 2 hits.  She had 3Ks and 3 BBs.  Haylie came on in relief and picked up the win.  She gave up 1 ER off 2 hits.  She recored 2 K and 0 BB.

The offense had 12 hits and was led by Steph Kirkpatrick.  She went 2 for 3 with a HR and 5 RBIs. Lauren went 2 for 2 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.  Colie went 2 for 2 with a run scored. Sara went 2 for 4 with a run scored.  Bree went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

Overall it is nice to get 2 quick wins.  Most will say "meh" because it is Penn State but I am here to tell you; a win is a win in softball.  We need to re-build confidence and this is a step in the right direction.  Coach has got to be happy with the result today.



March 24th, 2012 at 7:29 PM ^

because she played 90% last year.  Steph only played in about 8 or 10 games.  I will have to check into that.  Bree's injury was much more scary I agree.  My heart sank and skipped a beat when she went down.  She just layed there, lifeless.  I cant imagine what her parents were thinking.


March 24th, 2012 at 8:30 PM ^

The medical redshirt rule is available to athletes who did not compete past the 30% mark in their season. If the tenth game she played in was the tenth of the season, she should be fine if she wants one.

A 56 game season would allow her to redshirt if she didn't play past the sixteenth game for a medical reason.



March 24th, 2012 at 8:58 PM ^

I didn't mean my comment as a slight to her. Softball is an equivalency sport, so I would venture to guess there are only one or two girls getting full tuition. OOS tuition being what it is, and life in general were behind what I was saying.

For the softball players I know, it would be hard for them to quit with eligibility available but also hard not to get on with the real world. With practically no pro prospects, it's a different equation than football/basketball/hockey/baseball.

Wolverine Devotee

March 24th, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

School B1G Overall
1.  Nebraska 3-0 19-12
2. #20 MICHIGAN 2-0 20-9
    Purdue 2-0 17-9
   Illinois 2-0 15-10
5.  Wisconsin 1-1 12-10
     Ohio 1-1 14-12
     Indiana 1-1 16-14
     Iowa 1-1 11-16
9.  Minnesota 0-2 18-9
10. State 0-2 10-18
     Penn State 0-2 7-15
12. Northwestern 0-3 11-17



March 24th, 2012 at 7:33 PM ^

to look at B1G standings.  We only completed the first set of games.  Wait until mid-April to gain any useful insight.  It is going to be a fun spring.

Even the weather is co-operating.  Last year vs Indiana, we could not see due to the heavy snow.  This year's opening weekend is 55F. 


March 24th, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

I know it's sill early, but with the top 16 teams hosting a regional, do you think Michigan will be able to claw their way back up and host a regional?? I know the NCAA doesn't like the B1G Ten when it comes to Softball so would like to hear your input.


March 24th, 2012 at 8:37 PM ^

a lot of help from those in the 8-12 spot to lose.  One advantage we have is that we are a North and an East location.  It is also possible that we could get a #2 seed but host a Western team.  I think the latter will be true. 

Even if we run the table in the Big Ten, it will be difficult to climb 5 spots in the RPI.


March 24th, 2012 at 8:26 PM ^

Gotta start racking up the wins if M wants another Big Ten championship. They play BGSU during the week, and megangoblue should have a preview. I saw them play, and I doubt I'm taking away from her writing to say the M should be favored heavily.

Also, I just cannot help myself in saying that megangoblue had another monster game in a 2-0 day against the team picked to win their conference. One hit in seven innings, among other impressive numbers.

I'm hoping M can host and she can pitch an NCAA game at Alumni Field. That would be something else, although she'd probably have something sarcastic to say about the M flag in our room and a decent portion of my closet.


March 24th, 2012 at 8:44 PM ^

and I don't want to have to think about it again, haha. It would probably be unavoidable if both teams made the tournament, given seeding and everything, but not pleasant for yours truly.

Thanks, I'll let her know, and she'll be on tomorrow or Monday to share some thoughts on BGSU for anyone going or watching on GameTracker.


March 24th, 2012 at 8:47 PM ^

I would expect nothing less than the best effort they could give to do just that, which is why I love Michigan.

That said, just because M is hosting doesn't mean they'll be in that game. And actually, I don't know if she would start a game against Michigan; it depends on matchups and what-not but she's number two behind a really, really dominant one. She would probably pitch against the non-one or two seed.


March 24th, 2012 at 9:59 PM ^

Bree is not eligible for a red shirt.  Her very scary injury was in fall ball.  She was good to go by the time the season started in February.  She didn't miss a beat although she was quite seriously injured.

One player who was not mentioned in the above summary is Taylor Hasselbach.  She came in as a pinch hitter and had a triple (game 1) and a double (gamne 2).  In both cases she pinch hit for Sappenfield - not because Sappenfield isn't hittig, but because Sappenfield is more of a slapper and we needed a hit out of the infield. She scorched the ball.  She also has 2 homers to go with her very few at bats.

The hitting looked much better today than it has been so far this season.  I think most were worried about the pitchers.  Pitching has been adequate; most of their losses have been due to lack of offense.


March 25th, 2012 at 12:42 AM ^

Taylor has done this on a few occasions this year.  Colie is a small ball type hitter.  I don think she has but a few against the fence.  I really like Taylor as a hitter.  I would not call her a "power hitter" but she can put the ball in the outfield when needed.  This is just one more weapon that Coach has in her arsonal. 

I didnt intend to slight Taylor.  It just gets boring to read every single stat unless one is into the game like you and me.  Taylor does deserve some MGo-Love.

Smash Lampjaw

March 25th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

I "watched" the double-header on Live Stats, while I was watching another softball double header and some NCAA basketball, so I am not sure I caught everything, but I am wondering if we are down to using 1 1/2 starting pitchers for the conference season. I am always puzzled that softball seems to prefer one dominant pitcher to keeping four good pitchers ready. I think I saw that one of my favorite players, Lyndsay Doyle, was moved up to the  two spot in the batting order.


March 25th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

we have three pitchers on the roster (four actually, but Payne has pitched 1.1 innings) and before this weekend the IP split was Wagner 102, Driesenga 70 and Speierman 15. From what I've seen on LiveStats, which isn't a lot by the way, it looks like Hutch started the year trying to figure out which freshman was top dog and Wagner has begun to pull away, while Speierman's usage is increasing with Driesenga struggling a bit.

As for riding your top pitcher, I bet you would see that in baseball as well if it were physically possible. MGB's team currently splits a three game weekend with their one getting 66% of the starts, their two getting 33% and their three (who is the only lefty) seeing relief duty for the one and two. I don't know what MGoSoftball has to say since he actually coaches, but to me that seems like the best scenario to be in as far as pitchers and their usage, depending on how equal the talent level is.


March 25th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

Softball is very different from baseball in terms of pitching.  Most guys grew up playing Little League Baseball which limits innings.  Then as pitchers move up and into the MLB, they are put on the "rotation".  It takes about two or three horrible outings to get removed from the rotation.  I have seen some MLB managers, like Sparky Anderson swap out the number 4 or 5 in the roation often.  That doesnt happen that often anymore.  Once you are in the rotation, you are solid, even at the #5 hole. 

We know so much more about baseball and softball pitching.  Baseball pitching is bad for you.  Almost as bad as asbestos but not quite (think Mark Fydrich, circa 1976)

In softball, the underhand "windmill" is a natural motion for the body.  It does not destroy muscles and ligaments like the overhand baseball throw.  The only issue for pitchers is endurance, ie. do they tire easily.  Before each season, many coaches put their pitchers on a heavy workout to build that endurance then have them start pitching.  Typicall in softball when pitchers and catcher report, the pitcher will not pitch; she will run and lift weights.

I would be interested in Megangoblue's take on here experience with endurance.  As most of you have realized, softball pitchers are typically a little more stout.  It is rare for a pitcher to be petite; although I have coached against some petite pitchers who ended up at the D1 level.  However that is rare.

Softball coaches are known for riding the hot arm; and why not?  If a softball pitcher is getting the job done in the circle, why change?  There has been several years where I would have one pitcher pitch all the quality innings and use my #2 for mop up situations.  Some pitchers are born to pitch and as a coach you have to ride that pony until 1) she breaks or 2) another better pony comes along.



March 25th, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

She's in extra innings right now, but I'll see if she has anything to say later.

As far as I know, though, you can't ride a pitcher to that extent at the division one level, although it certainly happens in high school and ASA. D1 is just too competitive to have a tired pitcher in the second game of the day.


March 25th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

a pitcher can handle the strain, its no problem.  Remember last year, Indiana only had one pitcher in Morgan Melloh.  She single-handedly came within an inning of winning the Big Ten Title.

Morgan was not a very dominating pitcher.  However she had stamina and smarts to out-pitch teams.  I am glad she has graduated.

So it does happen at the D1 level.  However, most high-level teams have 2 or 3 pitchers that are #1's to keep opposing coaches off balance.


March 25th, 2012 at 4:48 PM ^

That's still a tiny portion of pitchers, though. Out of the top three hundred pitchers by ERA last year, four pitched 300+ innings (76% figuring 56 games going seven innings). Only ten of the top fifty by ERA pitched more than 66% of available innings.

Smash Lampjaw

March 25th, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

If I were, I would value this series not for the run-rule wins, but for the chance to let my other pitchers work. (I see that Wagner pitched all 7 today.) I would risk some non-conference and conference losses to get ready for the post-season. I remember the year that Georgia knocked us out with their only pitcher. Soon after, when she reached her limit they had to bring in an outfielder who had not pitched since high school. Apparently, winning it all is a high-risk gamble that your favorite pitcher isn't going to get injured or worn out. (Meant as a reply to justingoblue.)


March 25th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

This is the toughest part about being a softball coach.  I want all of my girls the experience to pitch.  Its not just about winning and losing, its about memories.  However, if I have a hot pitcher and we play a weak team, I risk disrupting her rythem if I put in my #2 or #3 to "get them innings".

Sometimes it works out for the best.  I dont cool off my hot pitcher and I get my other pitchers into the game and still win.  So that is the game we play as coaches.  It takes a very special person to understand that paradox.

We are so lucky to have a brilliant coach in Coach Hutch.  She gets it and understands it.  I would guess there are not many softball coaches that really understand the art of pitching.

Smash Lampjaw

March 25th, 2012 at 5:18 PM ^

I am not really thinking of  the players. I am thinking of the team at tournament time, when the schedule get compressed and the big dog pitchers get tired. I remember Jordan Taylor getting worked on in the dugout after every inning. It seems like the team that ulitimately wins is the team whose pitcher does not give out, as seemed to happen to us last year. Pulling out your number one pitcher is like giving up. I just don't see why it has to be that way.


March 25th, 2012 at 7:05 PM ^

you will make millions with your book.  This is the most difficult point that any softball coach can determine at any level.

If a coach does not start or play a hot pitcher, the coach risks throwing that pitcher off her groove.  It could take weeks to get her groove back.

Or if a coach trys to spread the work around to keep the other pitchers loose, risks not letting any pitcher get into a groove.

This is the softball coach's paradox.


March 25th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

that someone comes into our thread and starts down voting softball.  If anyone doesn't like softball, don't read this thread.  There are many of us who love the game and love our team.

All we ask is you respect us and we will respect you.  Comment on one of these post if you like but dont hate on us just to hate.

Mods, can you do something with this A-Hole.