You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, May 25, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

Michigan softball team advances to College World Series with 2-1 win over Louisiana Lafayette

By Pete Cunningham

Updated 7:27 p.m.

Next stop: Oklahoma City.

The Michigan softball team is bound for the Women’s College World Series after defeating Louisiana Lafayette 2-1 on Saturday at Alumni Field. The Ragin’ Cajuns beat Michigan 5-0 in Game 2 of the three game series earlier in the day - the Wolverines won Game 1 on Friday - setting up a winner-take-all third and deciding game with a trip to the World Series on the line.

For the second day in a row, Ashley Lane played the role of hero as Michigan mustered together just enough offense to advance to World Series for the 10th time in program history.

"I’m so proud of my kids and their effort today. Sometimes losing that Game 2 is tough, (Louisiana Lafayette) had 24 hours to adjust and we had 30 minutes," said Michigan coach Carol "Hutch" Hutchins after the game. "I’m most proud of my senior class; they told me all year that they were going to go to Oklahoma and they were determined. Determination is pretty important, so I’m excited for them and I’m proud of them and I love them.”

After hitting the eighth inning walk-off home run that won the game for Michigan on Friday, Lane drove in two runs with a two-out double with runners at the corners in the bottom of the fifth inning with Michigan trailing 1-0.

Louisiana Lafayette had scored its run in the fourth inning and was assisted by a throwing error made by Lane while attempting to turn a double play. The struggles made her late game heroics all the more gratifying.

"I make it a little tough on myself, that’s for sure," Lane said with laugh. "But that hit wouldn’t mean anything if Romo (Sierra Romero) didn’t do her job and Caitlin (Blanchard) didn’t do her job."

Related: Game 3 Boxscore | Game 2 Boxscore

Lane had two runners on with two outs in both the first and third innings and grounded out to end each inning. She made good on her third chance, driving a hit to left center field. Romero easily scored from first to tie the game and Blanchard - who had kept the inning alive with a single of her own - scored what proved to be the game-winning run.

"That was - what - my third situation with two outs and runners in scoring position? Something good was bound to happen," Lane said.


Michigan senior Ashley Lane, above, drove in Michigan's only two runs in its World Series clinching 2-1 win over Louisiana Lafayette on Saturday, May 25.

Daniel Brenner |

Blanchard's run was no sure thing as she was just able to avoid a tag at the plate from Louisiana Lafayette catcher Sarah Draheim.

"The throw was off line, and (Draheim) tried to reach and make a swipe tag. The kid made a good slide and got under (the tag)," Louisiana Lafayette coach Michael Lotief said after the game. "It’s a game of inches, really. This was really a series of inches."

Sara Driesenga picked up the win for Michigan from the pitching circle in what was a surprise start to everyone at Alumni Field, Driesenga and Hutchins included. Driesenga was pulled from the eighth inning on Friday and struggled in four innings of work in Game 2 of the series on Saturday. Game 2 starter Haylie Wagner was on the lineup card as the starter for Game 3, but hurt her shoulder just minutes before the game, causing Hutchins to go with Driesenga.

"Next time we get hurt we need to do it a little sooner," Hutchins joked. "That was quite a finagling at the end. Sara came in and apparently she doesn’t need much notice to pitch, so we’re good.”

"We both warm up before every game so we’re both ready to go no matter what, ready to pick each other up,” Driesenga said.

Driesenga had given up eight runs and five home runs in her past four-and-two-thirds innings of work against the Ragin' Cajuns — having been pulled in the eighth inning on Friday and replacing Wagner in the fourth inning of Game 2 — but appeared unfazed by her recent struggles in the deciding game. Driesenga allowed one run on four hits and struck out seven to get the win for the Wolverines.

"I just had to forget about it. I didn’t have a choice not to forget about it, I had to do it for the team," Driesenga said. "We weren’t sure if Haylie was going to be ready or not so I had no choice. I had to go right at them and keep us in the game.”

Hutchins said the choice to pull Wagner in the early game was unrelated to the injury she suffered between games. Wagner left having retired seven straight batters in a scoreless tie, and Driesenga gave up two home runs in her first inning of relief.

“Haylie throws into their strengths and that part of the order, starting with their two-hitter had hit her hard the first time around and we felt that what we’d try to do was change it up every time through the order," Hutchins said. "But it didn’t work; it didn’t work and we make a lot of decisions; as the head coach I live with all of them. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.”

Louisiana Lafayette scored its only run in the fourth inning when Shellie Landry hit a sharp single up the middle to score Draheim, who was in scoring position because of the Lane error. Lane more than made up for the mishap in the fifth inning with her third and fourth RBIs of the series.

"I think Ashley showed yesterday it doesn’t matter what (you've done before), only what you’re doing right now. She went up there and she had a great look, and I knew she was going to have a great at-bat," Hutchins said. "Ashley’s been getting it done for us all year. She’s a great player and a great hitter. Her having confidence was the most important thing in my mind in her at-bat and she had it.”

Michigan's focus now shifts to the the World Series, where the Wolverines will take on top-seed Oklahoma in the opening round of the week-long tournament on Thursday. It's Michigan's first trip to the national tournament since 2009. Hutchins led the Wolverines to the program's lone national championship in 2005.

"I couldn’t be more excited for this team," Hutchins said. "This is Team 36 and I’m all about that. It’s not about the past and it’s not about the future. I’m excited for these kids, now.”

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Wed, May 29, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

I live in the California desert and ya made my day Michigan.


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

Great game, article, and photos!


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Nice piece Pete. Also Daniel Brenner took great pictures. Go Blue

Daniel Brenner

Sun, May 26, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Thanks a lot Selamet. It certainly makes my job easier with the explosion of emotion after the ladies won the third game. Now please excuse me as I have to tend to my sun burn


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

all these young women played their parts--------but make no mistake-----this was SARA'S game. to pitch as well as she did without expecting to start and after being roughed up in game one---- was a testament to grit and talent. a much, much needed masterful performance----

Pete Cunningham

Sun, May 26, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Dave Brandon agrees. He stuck around after the postgame presser and told Sara repeatedly, "You are one tough kid."


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 3:53 a.m.

Watched both games--what a roller coaster, and what clutch plays! Sun-burned and happy! GO BLUE! On to Oklahoma City and a great tournament.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

Go Blue Softball!