Sweet, Betsa lead Michigan past Alabama, 5-0
May. 29, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Lauren Sweet learned quickly after striking out in her first at-bat.
The senior catcher hit a grand slam her next time up to help Michigan beat Alabama 5-0 on Thursday night in the Women's College World Series opener for both teams.
"My adjustment was to go up there and use my timing swing and really see a lot of pitches," Sweet said. "I think that even though I got down in the count, I was able to come back and really see the ball and really see it down, so my game plan worked out."
It was the kind of performance that has marked her final season.
"She's having her best season as a senior, and you like to see that," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. "It's what we need. You want your seniors to be the leaders out there. She's just been fantastic all year long. We just want her to keep playing as long as possible."
Megan Betsa, a sophomore, threw a four-hitter and struck out six for the third-seeded Wolverines (57-6).
"I think my biggest thing was getting past the first inning," she said. "I knew I was going to have the jitters and the nerves, and if I could get past the first inning, I was going to be fine."
Michigan will play UCLA on Friday night. UCLA defeated Oregon 7-1 in Thursday's nightcap. Alabama will play an elimination game against Oregon on Saturday.
Michigan's Kelly Christner hit a solo home run in her first World Series at-bat in the bottom of the first inning.
"Obviously, the nerves were high," she said. "Everybody was trying to calm me down before the game. I think I just went out there and realized the first at-bat that it's just like any other game we've played the entire year, so I just focused on seeing the ball."
Sweet's homer came off Alexis Osorio in the fourth. The Wolverines only had four hits, but they left just two on base. Osorio didn't allow a hit outside of the first and fourth innings.
"They had two key hits," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "Other than those two big swings, Lexi pitched a good game. We just didn't do enough offensively to support her."
Jadyn Spencer had two hits for sixth-seeded Alabama in a game that started an hour late because of rain. But the rest of the team had just two hits.
Michigan has won all three meetings with Alabama this season, holding the Crimson Tide (47-14) to a total of three runs.
"You're not going to win very many games against a very good team, offensively like that," Murphy said. "We had to put some more pressure on them, and we didn't do that."