Wolverines Even Championship Series 1-1

The No. 1-ranked Michigan softball team returned to the diamond in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Tuesday, this time playing to keep their season alive in the Women's College World Series best of three championship round. The Wolverines rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the three game series with UCLA thanks two a two-run blast from catcher Becky Marx. Now U-M looks to bring home the first softball national title in school history on Wednesday at 6:30 CDT in a game to be broadcast by ESPN.

The No. 1 Michigan softball team found themselves in a familiar situation on Tuesday night. Win or go home. For the second time in as many days, the Michigan softball team entered the day one loss away from elimination in the 2005 Women's College World Series, and for the second day in a row, the Wolverines have survived to play another day, this time fending off the No. 12 UCLA Bruins 5-2.

Like in game one, the Bruins went on the offensive first on Tuesday. After trading two scoreless innings, a UCLA triple into the right-centerfield gap scored Bruin first baseman Lisa Dodd, who had reached base on an error by Michigan second baseman Tiffany Haas.

Michigan pitcher Jennie Ritter would get out of the inning surrendering only the one run, but it didn't take long for UCLA to strike again. After the Michigan hitters were retired in the top of the fourth inning, Caitlin Beyi of UCLA sent Ritter's third pitch of the inning over the fence in leftfield to put UCLA on top 2-0.

From that point on, however, the momentum of the game changed into the Maize and Blue uniform.

Becky Marx, the Wolverines junior catcher, tied the game 2-2 with one swing of the stick in the fifth inning, sending a 1-1 pitch over the wall in leftfield after Stephanie Bercaw reached first base on a fielder's choice.

The home run by Marx marked the first time in over 11 innings that the Wolverines plated a run on UCLA ace Anjelica Selden, but the offense wasn't done yet. Rebekah Milian followed the home run with a single up the middle, and advanced to second on an error by Selden allowing Tiffany Haas to reach base as well. Two outs later, and with the runners now at second and third base, Jessica Merchant, one of the Wolverines two lone seniors in the line up, belted a 1-1 pitch into the left-centerfield gap to bring home two more Wolverine runs and put Michigan on top 4-2.

Although Jennie Ritter would hold the Bruins scoreless for the remainder of the contest, Michigan added one more run in the top half of the seventh inning, this time off the bat of freshman Samantha Merchant on a double to deep right field that scored Alessandra Giampaolo.

With the 5-2 win, the Wolverines set up a final winner take all game for the national championship between the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines and the No. 12 UCLA Bruins to take place Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN.

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