Michigan SB wins 2 games, probably #1 Nationally

Submitted by MGoSoftball on April 17th, 2011 at 6:43 PM

The #2 Michigan Softball team won the second game of two critical contests today against Illinois at Urbana.  The score of the second game was 9-7.

Michigan should be the #1 team in the nation with these two wins today.  The #1 team, Arizona State lost on Friday so that should be enough to leap frog the Devils.  #3 Texas also lost so there is no chance for the Longhorns to leap frog us.  So the top 3 should be #1 Michigan, #2 Georgia, #3 Alabama or ASU.  This depends on how far ASU falls in the polls.

Michigan was led by Senior Alycia Ryan.  Alycia went 2 for 2 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored (3 run HR in the first).  Ashley Lane went 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored.  Bree Evans went 2 for 5 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored.

The pitching woes continued into the second game today for Stephanie Speierman.  She started the game but was roughed up in the 1st.  She faced three batters, gave up 2 ER and recorded only 1 out and 1 BB.   Hilary Payne came in to relieve her.  She pitched 4.1 innings, giving up 3 ER (2 HR) on 7 hits.  She also had zero Ks and zero BB.  JT came in to pitch the final 2 innings to record the save; she gave up only 1 hit, a HR in the bottom of the 7th.  JT also recorded a strikeout and 0 walks.


South Bend Wolverine

April 17th, 2011 at 6:50 PM ^

Well, I can't say I'm comfortable with giving up all those runs, but at the end of the day, a win is a win, and two wins are two wins.  You don't always get to win pretty, and today we showed that we can beat a strong team in ugly games where we have to just keep pushing runs across.


April 17th, 2011 at 7:05 PM ^

I agree.  Today was the worse pitching performance all year.  Typically if one pitcher is having a bad day, the others will pick her up.  Not the case today.  None of the pitchers did well.  Payne pitched well enough to hang in there, put not well enough to say she was lights out.

The offense did very well to get the wins, including Alycia Ryan who was the hero in the second game.  There seems to be a lot of "pick me ups" on the offensive side.

I was a little worried about JT in the second game.  She pitched 2 innings coming off a complete game earlier today.  If JT got into trouble or if she got hurt, we would have been in a real pinch.


April 17th, 2011 at 7:12 PM ^

I don't think we'll be #1.  There's more to rankings than wins and losses over the previous week.  The Big 10 is still not a dominant conference so beating Western, Central, and sweeping Illinois doesn't count as much as beating an equal, which is what happens frequently in the PAC10 and SEC. 

This was by far Taylor's worst game.  I hope she was just off and will be ready against Penn State mid week.  The lack of a strong second pitcher means Hutch can't just yank Jordan if/when she's getting hammered.  I was surprised to see her come in to pitch relief.  She got the job done, but won't like the solo homerun she gave up.

Clutch job by Payne and Ryan.  Both of these players have worked hard all year are making important contributions to the team.


South Bend Wolverine

April 17th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

You are likely right.  We've beaten all the top-caliber opponents we've faced, and only have a few scattered losses, which everyone does at this point in the year.  Our win over ASU already had us getting a few 1st place votes over them last week, so it'll be mighty tough for voters not to give us the nod with this week's results.


April 17th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

 I know Michigan beat Arizona State and Arizona in Fullerton.  That was a month ago.  Since then we've played Northwestern, which we struggled to sweep and NU isn't exactly dominating the Big 10.  We split against Indiana which is resurgent with their transfer pitcher Melloh.  We swept Purdue.  And we swept Illinois, but gave up lots of earned runs.  I'd love to hear that lots of those homers were win-aided.

I also don't think a #1 ranking does Michigan any good.  I don't think this team is as strong as last year's team.  We're doing much better than I would have expected after replacing 4 starters and then having to replace the shortstop due to injury.  But, we don't look like the best team in the nation.






April 17th, 2011 at 8:04 PM ^

have a point about ranking being more than winning and losing.  However, in the ESPN.com poll; ASU had 10 first place votes for a total of 473 points.  We had 8 first place votes for a total of 465.  #3 Alabama had 0 first place votes for a total of 439.  #4 texas had 2 first place votes for a total of 435.  The coaches poll has ASU 717, us at 708 and Texas at 690.

ASU lost and Texas lost.  Alabama and Georgia won today so they will not slip.  So even if we get a few voters to switch first place votes away from ASU and to us, then we will be #1.

The #1 ranking has limited use.  I supose it could be a recruiting tool and bragging rights.  Other than that, it is only used by the Tournament Committee in determining which teams are aligned in the Super Regional.  The top 16 teams get home sites for Regionals and the top 8 get home sites for the Super Regionals.

The #1 team's Regional will be matched with the Regional with the #16 team.  Geography also plays a big part.


April 17th, 2011 at 8:21 PM ^

are still great wins especially on the road.  Whether if it's a month ago or not.

A win is a win regardless of how a team perform.  Every teams have bad losses like Michigan to Indiana.  It's hard to go undefeated for the entire season so for Michigan to perform at a high level this season has been impressive.


April 17th, 2011 at 8:17 PM ^

then the only real challenge will come from Iowa next weekend in A2.  We should roll through the rest of our schedule.  If the softball gods are with us, then we should finish the season at #1 and have home field advantage in the tournament.


April 17th, 2011 at 9:09 PM ^

The top 8 seeds all have home field advantage through the regionals and super-regionals, and the WCWS is at a neutral site, so it doesn't matter if you are #1 or #8.  As of Wednesday, Michigan was #7 in the RPI (http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/softball/d1), and if they can maintain that ranking, they will almost certainly be playing at home in the regionals, and again the next week if they win their regional.

It's probably best not to worry about the ranking other than that--it's not like this is football, the championship will be won on the field.


April 18th, 2011 at 12:44 AM ^

that rankings in football are much more important.  However, seedings are important in softball as well.  The Tournament Committee follows their own criteria.  The RPI is only 1 of many criteria (and over rated as has been discussed in previous threads).

So #1 seed will be the the Super Regional with the #16 seed, #2 vs #15 etc,  so yes it is important.  Of course, the team has to play and win to advance, and it is possible that both seeded (ranked) teams lose in their regional.




April 18th, 2011 at 9:18 AM ^

"lights out" with her pitches.  She sometimes hangs one high and good hitters will jump all over it.  But her strikeout to walk ratio is one of the best in the nation.  I am not worried about our pitching heading into the stretch run.

The hitting took a nap when we started Big 10 action but it looks like the beast has awoken.  Ashley, Chiddy, Colie have done a great job.  Bree, Amy, and Dorian have been steady.  Even Alycia is getting into action.  Her bat is on fire as of late.

So overall, we have a fairly balanced team.  I agree we dont have many super-stars (save JT/DS) we have a team full of solid players that work well together.  I bet if you asked anyone on the team, they would tell you the chemistry is outstanding.

Teams like Oklahoma, have so much drama that they cant keep girls to finish a season let alone stay 4 years to get a degree.  We have an awesome group of girls and the coaching staff is top shelf.