#4 Michigan Softball 2014 Preview

Michigan Wolverines

Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
#4 Michigan Softball 2014 Preview
Michigan Team Page


The Wolverines are coming off of yet another successful season, as the team won the Big Ten title last year and made its 10th Women's College World Series appearance, which ranks seventh all time. The squad is a mixture of upperclassmen and underclassmen, with 10 of each on the 2014 roster.

2013: 51-13, 20-2
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Carol Hutchins

Field Players:
Michigan welcomes top hitter Sierra Romero back to the lineup this year. The sophomore shortstop put up impressive numbers as a freshman, as her .379 average, 23 home runs and 71 RBI were all team-highs. Caitlin Blanchard returns after hitting .374 and 14 doubles, which led the squad in 2013. Blanchard also knocked in 46 runs, which was third on the team. Lauren Sweet also hit double digit home runs, knocking 10 balls out of the park. Sierra Lawrence clubbed seven homers and drove in 38, but she was also one of three players in double digit steals and tied for the team high of 11.

Michigan used a two-pitcher rotation, led by Sara Driesenga and Haylie Wagner, and both return for their junior season. Driesenga had a team-high 31 wins, 247 strikeouts and 1.89 ERA. Wagner had a 19-3 record.  

Who to Watch:
The Wolverines bring in an impressive four-woman recruiting class including Abby Ramirez (Illinois) and Megan Betsa (Georgia), who were their state's Gatorade Players of the Year. Ramirez set a big-school home run state record last season by knocking 20 balls out of the yard and was named a Max Preps All-American.  Lindsey Montemarano comes from New York after hitting .717 with nine homers and 18 stolen bases as a senior. Kelly Christner also comes from Illinois and was named an NFCA First Team All-American. Betsa was a two-time Georgia State Pitcher and Player of the Year.

Final Projection:
The Wolverines have a lot of experience back and look to make yet another run at a Women's College World Series berth. It'll be interesting to see how the new arrivals mesh with the upperclassmen and whether Betsa, a big-time pitching prospect, will break into the rotation. Has the college softball world figured out how to pitch to Romero? Michigan will find out what their team is like right away, as the team's first two games are against Florida and USF. Other big games include Louisiana-Lafayette (2x), Kentucky, UCLA (2x), Arizona State, Washington, Houston, Arizona and Texas, with the latter five all in a row at the Judi German Classic. The Wolverines also only face two of the top six predicted Big Ten teams, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Nicole Sappingfield, OF, 194
Hits: Cailtin Blanchard, 1B/C, 71
Home Runs: Sierra Romero, SS, 20
RBIs: Romero, 71
Runs: Romero, 67
Stolen Bases: Sierra Lawrence, OF, 11

Wins: Sara Driesenga, 31
Innings Pitched: Driesenga, 263.1
Strikeouts: Driesenga, 247
Saves: Driesenga, Haylie Wagner, 2

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#14 Abby Ramirez
#33 Megan Betsa


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