Ann Arbor, Mich.-- In the second semifinal game of the day, the Michigan Wolverines showed why they were the tournament's top seed. The Maize and Blue unloaded 10 runs in a 10-1 five-inning victory over the fifth-seeded Wisconsin Badgers. USA Softball Player of the Year Finalist Jessica Merchant led the way for the Wolverines, going three for four, scoring two runs, and driving in a pair as well.
Michigan got on the board in the second inning. After third baseman Grace Leutele doubled to left center, right fielder Stephanie Bercaw drove a ball that carried over the right field fence to put U-M up 2-0.
Bercaw finished two for three with two runs batted in and another two scored. Leutele finished the game two for two with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.
The scoring onslaught continued in the Michigan third, when after Alessandra Giampaolo was called out for leaving first base early, Merchant went deep giving Michigan a 3-0 lead.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year Samantha Findlay followed the Merchant homerun with a walk. Nicole Motycka singled to advance Findlay and after Katie Layne replaced Wisconsin starter Eden Brock in the circle, Leutele knocked a single up the middle to score Findlay.
Bercaw reached on an infield single to load the bases and catcher Becky Marx followed with a single to left, bringing in Motycka and moving up the runners.
After Milian reached on a fielder's choice, resulting in Leutele being erased at the plate, Tiffany Haas recorded the sixth single of the Michigan half inning, scoring Bercaw, before Giampaolo, who led off the inning, struck out to end it.
In the bottom of the third, Wisconsin second baseman Athena Vasquez led off the frame with a solo homer to deep left-centerfield. The run would prove to be the only one Wolverine pitcher Lorilyn Wilson allowed.
Wilson went the five-inning distance, giving up four hits, while striking out seven and walking none. The victory was Wilson's 22nd of the year.
The scoring continued in the fifth inning for Michigan. After a pair of fielder's choices, Merchant doubled to left center scoring Haas. With two runners on, Findlay came up to bat next and took the pitch deep over the right field fence, scoring three.
With two outs, and after Megan Smith moved into the circle for Wisconsin, Badgers catcher Boo Gillette picked off Lauren Holland who ventured too far off second base.
The Badgers went down in order to round out the fifth. With the nine-run lead, the game was called under NCAA run-rule protocol.
With the victory, Michigan moves into the tournament finals to face off against the Iowa Hawkeyes. In the Big Ten's opening series in Ann Arbor, Lisa Birocci and the Hawkeyes took the opening game, 5-2, before falling in the second to Jennie Ritter, 3-1.
The 2005 Big Ten Softball Tournament championship game will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET.
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