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Wolverines Drop B1G Tournament Finals To Nebraska In Extras

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Michigan fell to Nebraska, 3-1, in the final of the Big Ten Tournament; NU drove in the winning runs on back-to-back two-out RBI-hits in the eighth inning.
UM equalized the score to one Audrey LeClair RBI double in the fifth; Kristina Burkhardt pace the attack with two hits and two walks.
RHP Alex Storako gave up only four hits and two walks with five strikeouts through 7.2 innings.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The 23-ranked University of Michigan softball team tied the score in the fifth but was unable to complete its comeback, falling 3-1 in Nebraska in eight innings in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Saturday afternoon (May 14) ) at Michigan State’s Secchia Stadium.

Nebraska hit two plates with two outs in the top of the eighth inning, walked, then scored the go-ahead run with a double by second baseman Cam Ybarra against the wall right-center on the next pitch. NU added another on an RBI-single to left field in the next at bat. The tournament title is the first for the Cornhuskers since joining the Big Ten in 2011.

The Huskers led much of the game after a solo homerun in the first inning by Ybarra, the tournament MVP, but Michigan tied it with a run in the fifth. First-year designated player Annabelle Widra took a pitch from helmet, swept second, then junior outfielder scored Audrey LeClair loop a two-out RBI double to left-center.

Michigan had the winning run on third base in the bottom of the seventh inning for a chance to walk away, but was unable to capitalize on it — aided in part by a difficult decision on the home trails. The Wolverines used a pair of free passes to set up two with no outs before Nebraska turned twice on a 4-3 double play. Michigan insisted that it dodged the tag between first and second base, while the first base umpire’s out call came late and with an instant judgment, which was inconclusive without good camera angles. A pop-out ended the threat in the next at bat.

Graduate Student Outfielder Kristina Burkhardt went 2-for-2 with two walks and her team-best 20th double to speed up the Wolverine charge. Michigan registered only three hits, but earned seven free passes, leaving eight on base in the game.

Senior RHP Alex Storako (23-8) was strong despite the loss, giving up only four hits and a few walks in 7.2 innings with four strikeouts.

Storako, Widra and fifth year senior Taylor Bump were included in the All-Tournament Team.

Michigan will receive its NCAA regional roster on the annual NCAA Selection Show, which airs tomorrow (Sunday, May 15) on ESPN2.

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