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Posted on Thu, May 24, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Michigan softball loses 4-1 to Alabama in Super Regional opener

By Staff

One bad inning by the Michigan softball team turned a pitchers’ duel in Alabama’s favor and gave the No. 2-seeded Crimson Tide a 4-1 win in the first game of a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional.

The Wolverines committed their lone error in Alabama’s three-run fifth inning, when the Crimson Tide had three of their six hits against Michigan freshman pitcher Haylie Wagner -- the biggest being a two-run double by Kaila Hunt. She’d later score on a Jazlyn Lunceford single.

That was more than enough offense for Alabama (54-7) sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina, who threw a complete-game three-hitter in front of a crowd of 2,475 at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.


Alabama coach Patrick Murphy has admired Michigan’s Carol Hutchins since he was an assistant coach at Southwest Louisiana. He frequently calls the veteran Wolverines' coach to bounce ideas off of her.

"In coaching, it's a fine line because there's not really a lot of people you can talk to, which is unfortunate. She's one of them I do trust,” Murphy told the Mobile Press-Register. “She's been through everything. She's done it for years and years. I think she is a good person."

Read the complete story here.

Along with an error charged to first baseman Amanda Chidester, Alabama's big inning included a misplayed ball by Michigan third baseman Stephanie Kirkpatrick that was ruled a single.

"(Alabama) took advantage of every mistake we made," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. "We make an error at first; we make, whether they called it or not, an error at third and they get three runs out of it. You just don't do that against Alabama."

Traina struck out 10 Michigan (42-16) batters, including the Wolverines’ leadoff hitter in five of seven innings. Michigan averaged 4.2 strikeouts this season.

It was the third complete-game win of the NCAA tournament for Traina, who has allowed seven postseason hits and struck out 30 in 21 innings.

"I felt actually pretty good when I was warming up," she told reporters after the game. "We had a plan going into the game with all of the batters. When I have a plan, I feel like I throw a lot better."

The teams play again at 4:30 p.m. Friday (ESPNU). If Alabama wins, it will advance to the Women’s College World Series for the fourth time in five seasons. A Michigan victory would force a deciding third game at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN2).

The Wolverines threatened to take a first-inning lead against the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year when Nicole Sappingfield singled and Chidester followed with a blast to straight-away center field. Alabama’s Jennifer Fenton chased down the long fly ball, however, and caught it at the outfield wall.

Traina wouldn’t allow another hit until Ashley Lane’s two-out, RBI double in the sixth inning. That scored Sappingfield, who drew one of four Traina base-on-balls.

Michigan had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the seventh inning after pinch hitter Caitlin Blanchard reached on a throwing error and Bree Evans singled to left. Traina ended the game by striking out Sappingfield on three pitches.

"That was the key, I think," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "Jackie gutted it out a little bit."

Hutchins saw the four late-inning base runners as a hopeful sign for Friday.

"We started getting on (Traina) toward the end of the game and I'm hopeful that we can carry that into (Friday) and make some adjustments with that," she said. "I thought it was a very competitive game and I'm pleased that we're still in the tournament.

"As long as there are outs left, we're playing to win."



Fri, May 25, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

Alabama has a great team no doubt. Cannot make mistakes on a team like Bama. But our girls can do it with a little luck and a breeze to carry the balls over the fence. GO BLUE !


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

heartbreakM: Fact is: Alabama is a better team than Michigan. Michigan has won on some luck so far, and last night the tables were turned. Alabama stats are better ll around than Michigan. You cannot make errors on a good team and not pay for it. Better luck today. Go Blue.+


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

On paper that may be true, but there is a reason they play the games. Last season Michigan was a better team, but still did not go as far as they did this year. Lousiville was better on paper as well, but they are sitting at home already.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Bama played better than Michigan overall. Their pitcher was lights out and pretty untouchable. If Michigan doesnt figure her out quickly, it will be the same tomorrow. And that Fenton has some wheels on her too. Go blue


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 3:38 a.m.

They should have never played this game because of the implications on the game in September. It's not as if anyone would care if they played this or not either.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:30 a.m.

Yes, so ? Its womans softball.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

What in the hell are you talking about? As an FYI, the women's softball team has won an NCAA championship more recently than men's football


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 3:36 a.m.

I hope this is not a sign that we are going to lose in September.