May 19, 2000
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Following a disappointing 8-0 loss to DePaul in the first round, Michigan rebounded with a hard-fought 5-4 win over top-seed Stanford on Friday (May 19) in the NCAA Regional 8 Championship. Michigan scored five runs in the first three innings to break a 21-inning NCAA Regional scoreless drought and then held on as freshman pitcher Marissa Young retired the last 11 batters she faced en route to her 17th win of the season (17-3).
Michigan got on the board first with a run in the top half of the first on a Pam Kosanke RBI groundout. The run was set up by a one-out walk to centerfielder Melissa Taylor, who advanced to third on a double by Stephanie Volpe. Volpe advanced to third on Kosanke's groundout, but was stranded there after Young popped out to first to end the inning.
The Wolverines appeared ready to turn the game into a rout with four runs in the top of the third, spurred by three hits and aggressive baserunning. Michigan leadoff hitter Kelsey Kollen drew a one-out walk to start the rally and was pushed to second after Taylor punched a single through the hole between short and third. Volpe followed with her second double of the game, this one down the leftfield line, to score Kollen and put runners on second and third with one out. Kosanke then collected her second RBI of the game when she laid down a bunt single to score Taylor from third, prompting Stanford to make a pitching change and bring ace Dena Sorensen out of the bullpen.
Still with one out, Kosanke and Volpe executed a perfect double steal, with Volpe scoring on a close play at the plate thanks to a textbook slide. Following a walk to Young, Michigan kept the pressure on the Cardinal as Kosanke took off for third on a steal attempt and ended up scoring on a throwing error by Stanford's catcher. Sorensen retired the next two Wolverines to strand Young on second base, but the damage had been done and the Maize and Blue held a 5-0 lead.
However, Stanford would not go away and quickly answered with a four-run third of its own, paced by a three-run homer off the bat of Pac-10 Player of the Year Jessica Mendoza. A bunt single by Stanford leadoff hitter Ramona Shelburne and a line-drive single to left-center by Robin Walker, who was 3-4 for the game, set the stage for Mendoza's shot deep over the rightfield fence.
Following Mendoza's home run, Young plunked Cardinal cleanup hitter Sarah Beeson, putting her on first, with still nobody out. Following a forceout at second and one of Taylor's nine strikeouts on the game, Stanford third baseman Jenni Shideler drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second. Cassi Brangham proceeded to bang a double into left-center to score Kellie Wiginton and cut Michigan's lead to one run at 5-4. With runners on second and third, Jaime Forman-Lau came off the bench to pinch hit for Stanford, but was sent down swinging by Young to end the inning.
Young used the momentum from that inning-ending strikeout to settle down as she allowed just one baserunner the remainder of the contest. Cardinal shortstop Walker collected a one-out single in the fourth and stole second, but was stranded there after Beeson lined out to first base. Young then proceeded to set down the Cardinal 1-2-3 in each of the final three innings. She logged four strikeouts, including one of Mendoza in the seventh, to secure the win.
Michigan will continue its tournament run with a contest tomorrow (Saturday, May 20) at 12:30 p.m. against a foe still to be determined, while Stanford ends its season with a 45-18 overall record.