Nicole Motycka went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, and Jennie Ritter hurled a three-hit shut out as Michigan knocked off DePaul Thursday evening at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Wolverines jumped on top early with two runs in the first. The pair would be all Ritter would need to lead Michigan to its first WCWS win since 1998. They previously went two and out in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
“We won. It was a great game,” Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins said. “DePaul is on their game. They always come at you. But our kids just played good, solid softball. They really did a great job, especially getting out of the third inning — that got a little hairy there. I was confident we would get out of it. Our kids were ready to play and had a lot of poise. They did a great job.”
DePaul did have a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the third as it loaded the bases with two outs. Ritter struck out Sandy Vojik to retire the side and end the threat.
“We always like to talk about how, in order to beat a team like Michigan, you have to play well early and play well late,” Eugene Lenti, DePaul head coach, said. “We obviously didn’t play well early. You have to minimize your mistakes and maximize your opportunities. They (Michigan) made their mistakes, but they didn’t bend or break. We bent and broke a little bit. That was the difference in the game.”
Tiffany Haas led the game off with a walk. After a fielder’s choice by Alessandr Giampaolo, Jessica Merchant laced a single to right field. With two outs and runners on first and second, Motycka singled to right and Merchant scored on a fielding error.
The Wolverines added an insurance run in the fourth as Haas’ sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Michelle Weatherdon who had advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Ritter struck out 12 and walked two in the complete-game shutout, continuing an outstanding pitching day in which the three winning pitchers — Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, UCLA’s Anjelica Selden and Ritter — combined to allow seven hits, one unearned run, two walks and 27 strikeouts.
Blue Demons’ starter Tracie Adix suffered the loss as she went three and one-third innings and gave up three runs, one earned, on four hits with four walks. Megan Huitink went the final two and two-thirds, giving up one hit over that span.