Pittsburgh 6, Oakland 3
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The senior duo of Sara Cupp and Courtnee Johnson smashed back-to-back home runs as Oakland (27-24) battled hard but fell 6-3 to Pittsburgh (36-21) in an elimination game at the NCAA Division I Softball Championship Ann Arbor Regional on Saturday at Alumni Field inside the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex. Haley Zemmer (5-5) stared the game going 3.2 innings allowing four hits and two runs while retiring eight straight batters at one point. Erin Kownacki (16-14) came in as relief going 2.1 innings with three strikeouts and three earned runs.
Since the program was reinstated in 2000, Oakland finished its historic 2015 season with 27 wins and 14 conference victories which rank second most in program history just one victory shy of the all-time mark set by the 2006 and 2003 teams respectively.
Johnson finished the game going 2-for-3 with her home run moving her into third place for the all-time single season school mark with eight. Cupp went 1-for-3 and in just one year, set the all-time single season record in RBI (44) and slugging percentage (.695) while ranking second in home runs (10) and doubles (13). Jackie Kisman went 1-for-4 and set the single season record with 197 at bats. Sarah Hartley added a RBI also going 1-for 4 and set the all-time single season record in home runs (11), runs (41) and total bases (112) while ranking second in RBI (40), third in triples (5) and stolen bases (22).
Oakland wasted little time getting on the board in the first inning as Kisman reached on a two-base error by the Pitt second baseman and then reached third on an illegal pitch. Harley hit a sacrifice fly to bring her home. Cupp then launched a missile over the center field wall followed by Johnson's home run to left center to give the Golden Grizzlies a 3-0 lead and send Pittsburgh starter Savannah King out of the game.
Pitt responded in the bottom half with a two-run home run from McKayla Taylor cutting Oakland's lead to 3-2.
After the home run, Zemmer settled down and retired eight straight batters before a double by Carly Thea in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Pitt got a fielder's choice, single and walk to load the bases ending Zemmer's day. Kownacki came in and got pinch hitter Giorgiana Zeremenko to pop up getting out of the jam leaving three runners stranded.
Pitt started the bottom of the fifth with a walk followed by a sacrifice bunt and a hard hit ball off Kownacki's leg to load the bases with no one out. Taylor popped out to first base in foul territory for the first out. Carley followed and fouled the ball off but catcher's interference was called allowing a run to score to tie the game at 3-3. Kaitlin Manuel then delivered a two-run single through the right side giving Pitt the lead at 5-3.
The Panthers added another run with a two-out single in the top of sixth to move ahead 6-3.
With one out in the seventh, Kisman got aboard with a single but Pitt pitcher Kayla Harris retired the last two batters to secure the win and held Oakland to 0-for-12 with runners on base since entering the game in relief for King in the first.
No. 3 Michigan 9, Oakland 1
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Laura Pond smashed her first career home run as Oakland (27-23) dropped a 9-1 decision to No. 3 Michigan (52-6) in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship Ann Arbor Regional on Friday at Alumni Field inside the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex. Haley Zemmer was solid in relief allowing only two runs (one unearned) with two strikeouts while Erin Kownacki tossed 2.1 innings also with two strikeouts. The Golden Grizzlies will now face Pittsburgh (35-21), who lost 11-3 to No. 19 California, in an elimination game on Saturday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
Pond recorded Oakland's only hit going 1-for-2 as the Golden Grizzlies had trouble offensively against U-M's Megan Betsa who showed why she was the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year tallying 10 strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched.
Michigan got the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. However, Kownacki was able to work out of the jam surrendering only one run as Courtnee Johnson made a spectacular diving catch in left field foul territory with the runner on third tagging on the play to give U-M a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, Pond turned on an inside pitch from Betsa and blasted it into the right field stands to cut U-M's lead in half at 2-1. The third time through the lineup proved to be the charm as the Wolverines got a RBI double from Lindsay Montemarano followed by a bases loaded walk and hit batter to end Kownacki's day. Zemmer came in with the bases loaded and surrendered a two-run single to Sierra Romero to increase U-M's lead to 7-1.
U-M added another unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to move ahead 8-1 and closed the game in the sixth with a RBI double from Taylor Swearingen for the 9-1 win.