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Posted on Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

Michigan softball opens Big Ten play with two mercy rule-shortened wins over Penn State

By Angela Cesere

The Michigan softball team has had a happy homecoming.

The No. 20-ranked Wolverines posted a pair of mercy rule-shortened, Big Ten-opening wins over Penn State in front of an announced crowd of 1,867 Saturday at Alumni Field.

After the 11-2 and 12-4 victories - combined with a 10-2 win against Eastern Michigan on Wednesday - Michigan is averaging 11 runs and 10 hits in its first three home games this week.

The first game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning after an Amanda Chidester two-run home run.

Leadoff hitter Bree Evans went 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI single in the five-run fifth inning. Ashley Lane went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, including an RBI single in the Wolverines’ five-run third inning.

In the second game, Michigan (20-9, 2-0) pinch hitter Taylor Hasselbach ended things with a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Stephanie Kirkpatrick went 3-for-5 with five RBIs, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Lauren Sweet, who led off the second inning with a home run, went 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs.

Freshman Haylie Wagner (14-4) won both games. She started the opener, allowing two hits and two earned runs. In the second game, Wagner relieved fellow freshman Sara Driesenga and allowed two hits and one run over three innings.

Three of Penn State’s six combined runs came via long balls. Lisa Akamine had a two-run home run in the fifth inning of the opener and Cassidy Bell had a solo homer in the fifth inning of the second game for the Nittany Lions (7-17, 0-2).

The teams wrap up their three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday at Alumni Field.