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Posted on Fri, May 24, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Michigan's Ashley Lane hits walk-off home run in 4-3 Super Regional win over Louisiana-Lafayette

By Kyle Austin


Michigan's Ashley Lane celebrates while rounding the bases Friday.

Daniel Brenner |

Updated at 5:55 p.m.

Ashley Lane got a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime hit. And she didn’t miss.

With the Michigan softball team trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning the senior second baseman hit a hit a routine fly ball into foul territory that was dropped by Louisiana first baseman. Two pitches later, Lane sent a walk-off home run over the left field fence to give the Wolverines a 4-3 win over the Ragin' Cajuns in their NCAA Super Regional opener Friday afternoon at Alumni Field.

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“I gave a little mini fist pump. I was pumped because that’s a legitimate second life right there," Lane said. "I definitely wasn’t going to let that one get by.”

The Wolverines are now one win away from their first Women's College World Series appearance since 2009. The two teams will play the second game of the best-of-three Super Regional Saturday at noon (ESPN). Game 3, if necessary, will follow.

The home run capped a wild end to the game. Michigan led 2-0 with two outs in the top of the seventh, when Louisiana Lafayette’s Brianna Cherry sent a 1-0 pitch over the right field fence to tie the game at two.

After Michigan went down in order in the bottom of the inning, Matte Haack gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their first lead of the game on a home run to left field in the top of the eighth.

With her team down to its final three outs, Michigan’s Caitlin Blanchard was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth, and Lane started the celebration with a home run to left field.

“I’d say there was a wide variety in my emotions at that point, absolutely,” Michigan coach Carol “Hutch” Hutchins said. “The thing is you can’t get too high. As I said, nothing’s decided today. You can get too high and tomorrow we need to be ready to fight.”

This weekend marks the second straight that the Wolverines are playing NCAA tournament games at home. Friday’s game was played in front of nearly full bleachers at Alumni Field.

“That was a great college softball game, that was a great environment,” ULL coach Michael Lotief said. “That’s amazing, it’s good for our sport, but this community is lucky to have that softball team and those young ladies represent them.”

Wolverines starter Sara Driesenga gave up no runs and four hits over the first six innings, before allowing three singles and two home runs in the seventh and eighth.

Those runs were the first in the game since an eventful first inning that came out in the Wolverines’ favor. Michigan scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, thanks in part to a Ragin’ Cajuns mishap. With one out and a runner on third, a routine fly ball to right-center field dropped between two ULL outfielders allowing leadoff hitter Lyndsay Doyle to score.

The next hitter, Blanchard, singled home Sierra Romero to put Michigan up two.

In the top of the first, Driesenga walked two of the first three batters she faced and had runners on first and third with one out. But freshman left fielder Sierra Lawrence caught a fly ball in foul territory and gunned down ULL’s Nerissa Myers at home plate for a double play that ended the inning.

“I was expecting the ball to come out there and I knew that if it went in the air I had to get behind it and throw it home,” Lawrence said. “It was a big play for my pitcher and I needed to help her out.”

The call was one of several close ones that went Michigan’s way Friday.

“Those calls, that’s an inch here and an inch there,” Lotief said. “If you sit a different way, it all happens different. It does. That game’s decided by inches.”


Michigan junior right fielder Nicole Sappingfield saves a ball from going over the fence against Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, May 24.

Daniel Brenner |

After Lawrence’s first-inning throw, Driesenga got some more help from her defense in the sixth inning. With a runner on first, Haack hit a fly ball that cleared the fence in right field. But Michigan right fielder Nicole Sappingfield deflected it back on the field with her glove to save two runs and the Wolverines escaped the inning unscathed.

“Best play I’ve ever seen her make,” Hutchins said. “Best play ever. That was fantastic, knocking that ball down was huge.”

But even in the elation and disappointment of the aftermath of Lane’s hit, both teams were already starting to look ahead. There is at least one more game to play tomorrow.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Lotief said. “And we have to be prepared to fight another war.”

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.


Section Six

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Not on ESPN on my TV. Are we being blacked out?


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 4:29 p.m. says ESPN, which is showing Oklahoma-Texas A&M. says ESPN2, which is showing Sportscenter. Guess I'm watching on Game Tracker. Ugh.

Brian Bundesen

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Spectacular and exciting win. Losing the lead with 2 outs in the 7th, then a walk-off home run win by a batter who was 0 for 3 on the day after a dropped foul. It was a thrill to watch, and this team with a 20-0 home record has been a joy to watch all season. Let's keep rolling on to OKC! Go Blue!


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 3:36 a.m.

I think the softball team is learning from the football team, in how to give fans a total heart attack!! What a great heart this team has, to twice come back and not fold. one strike away in the top of the seventh .....Shows what is possible. I love coach Hutch--she is as tough a coach as there is (though I liked the Ragin Cajun coach too with his comments). This team plays solid ball year in and year out. On to the championship ladies!! Go blue.

Terry Star21

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 3:07 a.m.

Great game, you just had that feeling watching the game that Michigan would come back. There will be a lot of people at tomorrows game, lot of excitement - good luck Lady Wolverines.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 2:15 a.m.

Great job ladies!!!! I will be there cheering with what is left of my voice. Fans there was plenty of room in the bleachers so come on out and cheer these amazing ladies on. GO BLUE!!!! Great job Hutch and staff by the way having them ready!!!! You all rock!


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

What an unusual and exciting game. The old cliche that says that the game is never over until the last out is certainly not outdated or worn. Michigan has experienced a few of these last inning heart-stopping game endings. Lousianna-Lafayette is a fine team that deserves playing in the Super Regional tournament. Jordan Wallace is a fine pitcher who actually gave up fewer hits than Dreisenga and Wagner. Tomorrow's game could be another nail-biter. At least I will be able to watch the game on ESPN rather than settling for the use of Gametracker which is still better than waiting for the game summary at By the way, Kyle deserves compliments for a great report and Daniel Brenner's picture tells the whole story in one "click."

Kyle Austin

Fri, May 24, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Thanks, veracity. Not exactly fun to get that story done immediately after the game, but getting to witness a game that cool makes up for it.