Meanwhile, the Michigan bats struggled to get anything going on UCLA ace Anjelica Selden. Through five innings, the fire-balling freshman had allowed only two hits, and things looked grim for the Maize and Blue heading into the sixth. Then Michigan rose to the occasion.
The long dormant Michigan bats exploded for three singles, including the game tying single by Samantha Findlay, in the sixth.
Following the Findlay single, Selden would calm down and work her way out of the inning, aided by a huge double play from third baseman Andrea Duran. Duran played the hot corner to perfection when she grabbed a line drive down out of the air and then proceeded to tag Alessandra Giampaolo before she could get back to third base.
The two teams would trade hits through the end of regulation in the seventh inning.
In the second extra frame, UCLA threatened to end the Wolverines season in heartbreak. The Bruins advanced the winning runner to third base with only one out, but it would never cross home plate. After working the bases loaded with two down, Jennie Ritter recorded the final out of the inning on a ground ball to shortstop Jessica Merchant.
In the top half of the next inning, Michigan rose to the occasion in true championship fashion. The nation's leader in home runs used the long ball to go on top for good when Samantha Findlay crushed a Selden pitch over the left field fence. The Wolverine defense then held in the bottom half of the inning to secure the school's first ever softball title.
After the game, head coach Carol Hutchins pointed to the title as an exclamation point on the high level performances her team brought to the field all year long. "Jessica Merchant summed it up last night: it wasn't really about that game, it's about what this team has done all year, all the experiences that they've had," Hutchins said. "They believed from day one, and I think our senior class were great leaders all year. Obviously, it's a great moment for Michigan, Michigan softball, for all of our alums and the Big Ten Conference. I'm just so proud. But I'm most proud of these kids, they were incredible here all week. I have to admit when we got that No. 1 ranking -- that came out in the middle of winter, I believe -- my biggest concern was staying the course, finishing the season and getting here, because that is often your hardest challenge. Getting here was hard; winning here was really hard. For us to be the champion, I don't think there's a word for it." In honor of the Wolverines first softball national championship, there will be a celebration at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor on Thursday at 7 p.m. free of charge.