Ann Arbor, Mich. - One day after snapping a 33-game Big Ten losing streak with a 5-4 win at Michigan State, Indiana was simply overpowered by 14th-ranked Michigan at Alumni Field this afternoon by the scores of 9-1 and 9-0. Both games ended after five innings because of the eight-run mercy rule. Indiana mustered only three hits on the day.
In the first contest, junior first baseman Valerie White led off the game with a solo blast over the right field fence against All-America candidate Marissa Young (18-1). The home run marked the second in as many at-bats for the Hoosiers as sophomore Ashley Griffiths ended yesterday's contest at Michigan State with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to down the Spartans. Little did the Hoosiers (18-30 overall, 1-15 Big Ten) know that White's home run would be their first and last hit of the contest as Young was simply dominant for the remainder of the game. In 5.0 innings pitched, Young allowed only the home run, while walking none and striking out 12 of the 16 batters she faced. White, the only Hoosier to reach base in the first game, also found her way to first base on an error with two outs in the top of the third inning. She was thrown out attempting to steal. Young struck out the final six hitters she faced.
Indiana's lead did not last long in the first game as sophomore hurler Katie Witham (6-13) surrendered three runs in the bottom of the first. With two outs, leftfielder Melinda Moulden doubled to leftcenter, and scored on a single by catcher Monica Schock that provided the Wolverines with a 1-0 advantage. The next hitter, shortstop Jessica Merchant, followed with a two-run blast to left field that increased Michigan's lead to 3-0. The Wolverines (36-10 overall, 13-3 Big Ten) added single runs in both the bottom of the second and third stanzas, and four more runs in the fourth, to close out the scoring. Designated player Nicole Motycka was 3-for-3, including a triple, to go along with two runs scored and one RBI, while Merchant was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI. In addition to her home run, Merchant also tripled.
The second contest looked as if had the potential to be competitive as Indiana junior pitcher Heather Stillians (9-16) retired the first six hitters she faced, while Michigan starter Nicole Motycka (15-7) allowed only a leadoff walk before retiring the next nine hitters she encountered prior to being removed from the contest with a comfortable 9-0 lead.
With the second game scoreless through two innings, Michigan scored nine runs, only four of which were earned, on five hits in the top of the third. After Motycka hit a fly ball to left field that was dropped by Abby Stark, third baseman Grace Leutele doubled to score Motycka from second with the first run of the game. Courtney Betley followed with a ground ball to shortstop and reached safely at first as shortstop Heather Suca attempted to throw out Leutele at second after she was caught several feet off of the base. Now with runners at first and second, second baseman Tiffany Haas advanced both runners on a sacrifice bunt. Centerfielder Meghan Doe followed with a single to center that scored Leutele with the second run of the inning. Moulden then hit a single down the right field line to score Betley as Michigan took a 3-0 lead. After Stillians walked catcher Monica Schock to load the bases, she was replaced in the circle by Witham, who immediately walked Merchant, scoring Doe with the fourth run of the inning. Young then singled to right to score Moulden with the fifth run of the game. The rout was on.
In the second game, Stillians surrendered three hits and four earned runs, while walking one and striking out one, in 2.1 innings pitched. Witham allowed three runs, although none of them were earned, in 0.2 of an inning, while freshman Megan Roark allowed two hits and no runs in two innings of work. She also struck out two hitters.
Jennie Ritter worked the final two innings in the circle for the Wolverines and allowed two hits in 1.2 innings pitched. She walked one and struck out three. Indiana's lone hits were a single by senior catcher Stormy Hanson and a double by senior Heather Suca.
The Hoosiers return to action on Saturday when it travels to Purdue for a single game that begins at noon. Indiana will conclude its 2003 campaign at noon on Sunday against the Boilermakers. The game will close the curtain on the IU careers of seniors Hanson, Katie Joy, and Suca.