It’s do or die now for the Michigan Wolverines.
The Women’s College World Series has been nothing short of exciting thus far, despite rain altering the scheduling a bit. No matter, we’re still on course to have the championship series start as early as Monday.
For (2) Michigan and head coach Carol Hutchins, they will need to win three times over the next two days if they want to make it the finals for a second consecutive season. Should they succeed, the championship series would be slated to start on Tuesday.
A recap of what they have done so far – Their first-round game vs. (10) LSU was pushed back from Thursday to Friday due to weather. The game remained scoreless heading into the bottom of the 6th until Michigan’s Tera Blanco smacked a two-run double to right, giving the Wolverines the lead.
Starting pitcher and Second-team All-American Megan Betsa did the rest, holding LSU to just four hits and two walks, striking out eight Tigers as Michigan went on to win 2-0.
With their opening round victory, Michigan advanced through the bracket to face (3) Oklahoma, who took down (6) Alabama in their first-round matchup. It was a battle of siblings as Michigan superstar second baseman and 2016 National Player of the Year Sierra Romero was pitted against her younger sister, Sooners freshman Syndey Romero.
Michigan did not have the same success Saturday night against the five-time defending champion from the Big 12. The home-crowd favorite Sooners jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top half of the 1st and increased to 4-0 heading into the home half of the 4th. The Wolverines scored three of their own in the 4th.
However, Oklahoma would score three more runs in the 6th and 7th innings and a 7th-inning rally by Michigan came up short as the Sooners went on to win by a score of 7-5.
It was night and day between starts for Betsa. She was charged with all seven runs, five of which were earned, in 6.1 innings of work allowing six hits and six walks. Offensively, Michigan did their part, pounding out 12 hits against Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and conference co-Freshman of the Year Paige Parker.
Sydney Romero outperformed her older sister Sierra as well, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored. She launched a solo home run to left field to at the time make it 4-0 in favor of her Sooners. Older sister Sierra went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
So now the Wolverines are one of four teams facing elimination on Sunday. Elsewhere in the bracket, two teams are unblemished – (4) Auburn and the aforementioned Sooners. (6) Alabama and (12) UCLA have already been eliminated.
The action picks back up on Sunday afternoon and continues all day long. Here is the schedule for the day and moving forward (barring any weather delays):
- Sunday June 5
- Game 1: (2) Michigan vs. (8) Florida State – 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Game 2: (16) Georgia vs. (10) LSU – approx. 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. (4) Auburn – 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2
- Game 4: Game 2 Winner vs. (3) Oklahoma – approx. 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2
- Monday June 6
- Game 5: Rematch of Game 3 (if necessary) – 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Game 6: Rematch of Game 4 (if necessary) – approx. 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
NOTE: If Game 5 and 6 are not necessary, the best-of-three Championship Series will begin on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. However, if at least Game 5 or 6 is necessary, the Championship Series will begin on Tuesday.