Softball falls to Michigan in single game

The Falcons softball team fell to the nationally ranked Michigan Wolverines 7-1 on the road following early offense from the Wolverines. The team is currently on a five game losing streak after going 0-4 last weekend.

“I’m very proud of the way the team came back after that first inning,” Head Coach Sarah Willis said. “They’re obviously a talented team, and they started out the game very strong, but the defense settled in a little bit better after that. Defensively, though, we need to find a way to be sharp from pitch one, especially when we’re throwing some of our heavy drop-ball pitchers, where they’re going to see a lot of action.”

In the bottom of the first inning, Sophomore pitcher Brooke Parker allowed two early singles from Michigan’s Natalie Peters and Kelly Christner. With runners on first and second, an error on Tera Blanco’s grounder resulted in the bases being loaded. Parker would hit the next batter on a wild pitch that got Michigan its first unearned run. Parker would then allow two straight singles to left field by Lindsay Montemarano (2 RBI) and Amanda Vargas (RBI) that gave the Wolverines an early 4-0 lead following the first inning.

In the bottom of the third inning, Michigan would load the bases, once again following a walk and two singles. Parker would allow another single by Amanda Vargas that chopped up over the glove of second basemen Katee Hinkle that went into right field. This resulted in two runs and the Falcons were down 6-0 after the third inning.

After three innings, Coach Willis sat Parker for Sophomore Meredith Miller in hopes to slow down this offensive attack from Michigan in the bottom of the fourth inning. Miller would only allow one single from the first batter she faced, but was successfully able to hold off the next three batters to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth inning, Sophomore Laine Simmons doubled deep to left center that got her in position for the team’s first scoring opportunity with one out. Following Simmons was Katee Hinkle, who singled up the middle that got pinch runner Makayla Wood on third. The Falcons would then get on the board following Hannah Giammarino’s RBI single toward left center. The Falcons would only get one run in the inning and still trailed 6-1.

In the bottom of fifth, Michigan would respond with a home run by Katie Alexander that would put the lead at 7-1. The Falcons were unsuccessful offensively the next two innings, and Michigan got the win.

Brooke Parker earned the loss, allowing eight hits and six runs in three innings. Meredith Miller allowed two hits and one run in the final three innings.

“Brooke Parker gave up only two earned runs today, and several times she did not get the result she deserved after a good pitch,” Willis said. “Meredith pitched very well in her three innings too; shutting Michigan down for the most part. Looking at the score, it doesn’t show how close this game actually could have been for us, on the road against a top-20 program. But, with the tough schedule and the tough competition our team has faced, it’s getting easier for them to face this type of competition, and they know that we can play on this big of a stage.”

The team will begin the Mid-American Conference play on the road against the Central Michigan Chippewas beginning on a single game Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday; both beginning in the afternoon.