with video: Michigan softball team one win from Big Ten title after beating Purdue, 2-1
The Michigan softball team struggled to get key hits against visiting Purdue on Friday night.
But thanks to a strong performance by freshman pitcher Haylie Wagner and a well-timed sacrifice fly, the No. 22-ranked Wolverines escaped with a 2-1 win in front of 1,665 at Alumni Field.
Wagner allowed six hits and struck out five Boilermakers as Michigan (37-15, 16-5) moved within one win of clinching its fifth consecutive Big Ten championship.
Michigan threatened to break the game open early, loading the bases against Lexy Moore with one out in the bottom of the first inning. After Ashley Lane struck out, Wagner was hit by a pitch to force in a run. Moore avoided more damage when Amy Knapp flied out to left.
Michigan loaded the bases again in third inning, but failed to score when Purdue centerfielder Lindsey Rains made a diving catch to rob Lauren Sweet.
The Wolverines stranded a total of 10 baserunners during the game, including seven left in scoring position.
After Rains tied the score with an RBI double in the top of the fifth inning, the Wolverines immediately took the lead back in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Caitlin Blanchard that scored Sara Driesenga.
Wagner retired the Boilermakers (31-20, 13-8) in order in the sixth and seventh innings to clinch the win.
The teams play a regular season-ending doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday.