Michigan And Illinois Advance To NCAA Regional Finals




May 22, 2004

Michigan Downs Oregon State, 3-2

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The sixth-ranked University of Michigan softball team pulled out a close 3-2 victory over Oregon State to move on to the championship game of the 2004 NCAA Regional 6 Tournament Saturday (May 22) at Alumni Field. The Wolverines (53-10) trailed by two through the first four innings before Tiffany Haas drilled a clutch three-run homer with two out to put the Wolverines ahead for good.

Junior Nicole Motycka started the contest for the Maize and Blue, giving up two runs on three hits through 2.1 innings. After Motycka struggled in the third, head coach Carol Hutchins brought on sophomore Jennie Ritter in relief. Ritter held the Beavers scoreless for the remainder of the game, going 4.2 innings and striking out nine, to allow Michigan to ride to victory.

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Illinois Stays Alive With 2-0 Win Over Seton Hall

WACO, Texas - The Fighting Illini softball team advanced to the Regional Final or the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament with a pair of victories on Saturday in Waco, Texas. The Illini posted back-to-back shutouts of Seton Hall (2-0) and Baylor (4-0) to reach the Regional Final. Illinois will face LSU at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Illinois needs two wins over LSU to advance to the Women's College World Series next week in Oklahoma City.

LSU enters Sunday's game ranked No. 3 in the nation. The Illini and the Tigers split a pair of games at the LSU Tiger Classic in February, a tournament in which Illinois and Oklahoma tied for the title. Oklahoma defeated top-ranked Arizona and stand just one win shy of Oklahoma City as well.

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Michigan Blanks No. 24 Notre Dame, 1-0

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The sixth-ranked and top-seeded Michigan Wolverines shutout No. 24 Notre Dame, 1-0, in NCAA Regional action on Saturday.

Nicole Motycka (21-4) pitched six solid innings for Michigan, striking out four batters and only allowing four hits.

Jennie Ritter came on in relief in the seventh inning and struck out the side to seal the win.

On the offensive end, Michigan was able to manage just four hits off Notre Dame's Steffany Steglein, but the Wolverines made them count.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Maize and Blue put the game's only run on the board with an RBI fielder's choice from designated player Angie Churchill with runners on second and third.

Michigan improved to 52-10 on the season, while Notre Dame fell to 49-19.

Michigan will play again against Oregon State at approximately 10 p.m. Saturday night (May 22) at Alumni Field. The winner of the contest will advance to the championship game.

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Michigan State Eliminated by Georgia, 9-1

ATHENS, Ga. - Brittney Green and Elizabeth Peterson led Michigan State softball (35-27) at the plate Saturday as both players went 2-for-3 in the 9-1, five-inning loss at Georgia (54-16). The loss eliminates State from the NCAA Regional competition, though the Spartans were one of the last 32 teams in the country still playing on Saturday.

Green had State's only extra-base hit of the game, with her ninth double of the year. Nicole Mercado and Janette Hurtado posted the Spartans' other two hits in the game, as MSU was held to just six hits. Georgia posted its nine runs on 12 hits and one walk, and had two home runs, two doubles and a triple in the game.

Jessica Beech took the loss and moved her record to 29-16 on the year, which tied the MSU season wins mark. She worked 2.0 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits and a walk. She did not strike out a Bulldog batter. McGrew threw 2.0 innings in relief, and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits. She struck out one.

Georgia's Kasi Carroll (18-7) picked up the win, and allowed one run on six hits and a walk in 5.0 innings pitched. Carroll struck out two.

State ends its season at 35-27, the seventh time in the last 11 years the Spartans have posted 30 wins or more. 2004 also marks the first Big Ten Tournament Championship in school history and the first time MSU has advanced to both the NCAA Regional and Big Ten Tournament in consecutive seasons.

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Northwestern Ends Season With 3-0 Loss to Louisiana-Lafayette

TUCSON, Ariz. - Fresh off a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over South Carolina Friday night at the NCAA Arizona Regional, Northwestern was unable to keep up the momentum Saturday in a 3-0 loss to No. 9 Louisiana-Lafayette.

Eileen Canney started the game strong for Northwestern, striking out the side in the first inning. She took the loss despite striking out eight batters and giving up only one hit to the outfield, dropping her season record to 19-5.

Senior Carri Leto knocked a one-out single up the middle in the fifth inning, extending her team-best hitting streak to 19 games, but the 'Cats were unable to put anything together in the inning.

Leto closes her Northwestern career with the longest hitting streak during her four years on the team. She hit safely in 28 of the Wildcats' final 30 games of the season.

Louisiana-Lafayette improved to 57-7 on the season, while Northwestern ended its year at 34-20.

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