Michigan softball drops four of five games in Stanford Invitational

It’s been a rocky start for head coach Bonnie Tholl and the Michigan softball team so far this season. The team currently sits at 7-8 overall, and it just endured a tough weekend in California at the Stanford Invitational.

The Wolverines played five games in three days over the weekend, and they came out victorious in only one of the contests.

Below is a brief breakdown of all five games.

Boise State, L, 2-4

In the second inning of Michigan’s first game of the long weekend, freshman Maddie Erickson doubled to right-center field, and fellow freshman Madi Ramey came in to pinch run for Erickson.

Ramey advanced to third base on an Ella McVey single, and she stole home on the ensuing at-bat.

Michigan’s offense sputtered, though, and pitcher Lauren Derkowski gave up two runs in each of the second and third innings. Down 4-1 going into the seventh and final inning, Michigan tried to put together a rally, and it did score a run, but the Wolverines ultimately came up short, 4-2.

Nevada, L, 0-3

Michigan’s second starting pitcher, Jessica LeBeau, pitched a fantastic first five innings of softball. She gave up just one hit through the first five innings and held Nevada scoreless with two innings to play.

Unfortunately for LeBeau, she wasn’t given any run support, as the bats failed to get going. LeBeau’s dominance came to an end in the sixth inning, and the Wolf Pack tallied three runs in the final two innings to put away the Wolverines.

Boise State, W, 2-1

After pitching seven innings less than 24 hours earlier, Tholl sent LeBeau right back into the pitcher’s circle on Saturday morning in a rematch with Boise State. LeBeau was once again dominant, giving up just one (unearned) run on six hits.

This time, she received just enough run support for Michigan to secure the win. Freshman Indiana Langford scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning, and it was followed up with a sacrifice fly from Ellie Mataya, which scored Audrey LeClair from third base.

The two runs Michigan scored in the fifth inning were just enough as LeBeau pitched yet another complete game. It was her fifth victory of the young season.

#16 Stanford, L, 0-5

Derkowski returned to the circle once again on Saturday as the Wolverines took on the 16th-ranked Stanford Cardinal. Michigan and Stanford had five hits each, but the Cardinal plated five runs compared to Michigan’s zero.

The Wolverines were putting the ball in play — they had just three strikeouts in the loss — but the Stanford defense was solid. Conversely, Stanford struck out seven times at the plate, but Michigan committed four errors in the field, which ultimately led to the loss.

#16 Stanford, L, 1-3

Michigan struck first in the rematch with Stanford on Sunday afternoon. In the second inning, Mataya singled, bringing home Janelle Ilacqua.

LeBeau held Stanford scoreless through four innings, but the Cardinal were able to figure the pitcher out the third time through the batting order. Stanford tied the game with a run in the fifth inning, and it plated two more in the sixth to steal a win from the Wolverines.

What does it mean?

The bats are not the best. It was a problem last season, and it appears to be even more of a problem again this year. Over the five-game stretch, Michigan pitchers allowed 16 runs, which equates to just over three runs per game — a pretty solid mark.

However, Michigan plated only five runs of its own, only one run per game. Now, the bats haven’t been that poor the entire season, but it’s still a glaring issue.

Through the first 15 games of the season, the Wolverines have scored 58 total runs, which is good for roughly 3.8 runs per game. Nothing is more demoralizing as a pitcher than pitching a great game, but getting no run support to back it up.

Michigan will take on Saint Mary’s on Tuesday before competing in the Judi Garman Classic next weekend.

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