Jessica Merchant picked a perfect time to break out of her 0-for-10 slump in the Women's College World Series. Her two-run double in the top of the fifth capped a four-run rally that led Michigan to a 5-2 win over UCLA and forced a deciding game three for the national championship Wedneday in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Trailing 2-0 after an Andrea Duran triple in the third and a Caitlin Benyi home run in the fourth, the Wolverines fought back with four runs in the fifth.
"I was pleased with how we attacked the ball," UCLA head coach Sue Enquist said. "We had a couple of slips that cost us. Good teams take advantage of mistakes. We just ran out of innings tonight."
Grace Leutele led off with a single for Michigan, but she was put out at second on a fielder's choice by Stephanie Bercaw. Becky Marx, who entered the game 1-for-10 for the tournament, hit a 1-1 offering from Selden over the left field wall to tie the game 2-2.
"That was an exciting game," Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins said. "It's exciting because one thing that this team has done well all year is comeback. We knew we weren't defeated. Tomorrow will be exciting."
Rebekah Milian kept the inning going as she singled up the middle, and she moved to second as Tiffany Haas' ground ball to Selden was thrown in the dirt. After Giampaolo grounded out to first, senior Jessica Merchant delivered a double to center that scored Milian and Haas with the go-ahead runs.
The Wolverines added to their lead in the seventh. Giampaolo reached on Selden's second walk of the game, and following a Merchant single, Samantha Findlay doubled over Krista Colburn's head in right to score Giampaolo and make it 5-2.
After allowing the pair of UCLA runs, Jennie Ritter settled in and retired the last nine batters she faced to force the deciding game at 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPN. Selden started off where she left off Tuesday, retiring the first 10 she faced, including six by strikeout. The Bruin freshman ended the game with 13 strikeouts, while allowing eight hits.