May 27, 2005
Courtesy Michigan Athletics
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 1-ranked University of Michigan softball team took a 4-1 decision in the first game of a best-of-three match-up against No. 16 seed University of Washington in the first-ever NCAA Super Regional in front of a record-setting 2,311 fans this evening (Friday, May 27) at Alumni Field. Starting pitcher Jennie Ritter (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) pitched a gem, working a no-hitter through 6.1 innings before a solo home run by Husky catcher Kristen Rivera spoiled the no-hitter and the shutout.
Despite losing the no-hitter, Ritter backed the Wolverines (59-4) with a stellar performance, earning her 32nd win of the season. While Michigan had trouble putting its offense together throughout the first four innings, Ritter kept Washington (34-21) at bay, retiring 19 batters in order after giving up a walk to lead off the game. She gave up just one hit and two walks in seven innings while striking out 11.
With the stellar performance of both pitchers, the Michigan offense experienced difficulties along with the Washington offense. After being held scoreless for the first four frames, all of the U-M scoring took place in the bottom of the fifth. Though the Wolverine offense took awhile to warm up, it caught fire in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a solo home run by centerfielder Alessandra Giampaolo (Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic HS) to lead off the inning.
With a 1-0 lead, shortstop Jessica Merchant (Wayland, Mich./Wayland HS) continued the production with a single to rightfield before scoring on a throwing error from the Washington rightfielder after a double from designated player Nicole Motycka (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney HS). Motycka was the only Wolverine hitter to record multiple hits in the contest, finishing 2-for-4 with a single and a double.
With a 2-0 lead and runners on first and second, catcher Becky Marx (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore HS) rounded out the Wolverine scoring. She crushed a single to center field, scoring third baseman Grace Leutele (Sierra Vista, Ariz./Buena HS) and rightfielder Stephanie Bercaw (Wooster, Ohio/Hillsdale HS). Marx finished the day 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBI.
Game two of Super Regional 1 will take place tomorrow (Saturday, May 28) at 2 p.m. at Alumni Field. A Michigan win would advance the Maize and Blue to the Women's College World Series; a Washington victory would force third and deciding game at 5 p.m.