Softball suffers worst loss of the year to No. 3 Michigan
Wednesday can be summed up in one word for CMU softball: Cold.
The Chippewas managed just three hits in their 11-0 five-inning loss to the third-ranked University of Michigan. The win was the 20th straight for a hot Michigan team, which wasn’t bothered by the 43-degree temperatures at Margo Jonker Stadium.
“I have no explanation why we played crappy on defense and didn’t hit,” said head coach Margo Jonker. “We did not play well at all. Probably the worst game we’ve played all year. It’s very disappointing that we didn’t come to play.”
Michigan shortstop Sierra Romero launched a two-run home run off the scoreboard with only one out in the top of the first off of junior pitcher Kristen Kuhlman. Romero ranks first in the country in batting average, coming into the day hitting .515.
“We were not supposed to give her anything to hit and we did, so she took care of it,” Jonker said. “She’s a great player, she’s a great defensive player, she’s a great hitter, she’s one of the best in the country if not the best shortstop in the country.”
Romero walked in a run in the second and tripled to score two runs in the fifth.
Senior pitcher Morgan Yuncker replaced Kuhlman in the second inning. The Beal City native allowed three earned runs, all in the fifth inning, but four unearned runs were scored in the fourth scored due to defensive errors.
“We pride ourselves in our defense and we didn’t have it today,” Yuncker said. “It makes a difference when we do have it. You just expect them to do their job, and if they don’t, you still have to continue doing yours.”
Jonker said Yuncker’s performance was better than it looks on paper.
“If we’d have caught a pop-up, we wouldn’t have even had that situation (where Michigan tacked on runs),” Jonker said. “I thought Morgan pitched really well. That’s the bright spot of the day.”
Until the fifth inning, the Chippewas only had one base runner all day when sophomore first baseman Katelyn Rentschler doubled with two outs in the second.
“She wasn’t throwing anything too special,” Rentschler said. “I think we were too anxious in the box. That’s usually our issue when we’re not hitting. I think if we settle in and play our own game, then we can hit anybody.”
Wednesday was the seventh game in a row the Wolverines have outscored their opponent by eight or more runs. They also haven’t surrendered multiple runs in a game since March 29.
Despite the cold temperature and nine mph winds, 512 fans were overflowing from the grandstands.
“The crowd was awesome,” Jonker said. “That’s why it’s even more disappointing that we didn’t play well. It may be the only game that some of these kids will ever see Central Michigan softball play and that’s what they’ll remember.”
The 26-13 Chippewas will play their final four home games of the season this weekend when they play a doubleheader against Northern Illinois at 1 p.m. and a pair of games against Western Michigan Saturday and Sunday.