#5 Michigan Softball 2015 Preview

Michigan Wolverines

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
#5 Michigan Softball 2015 Preview
Michigan Team Page


The Wolverines are one of the more consistent teams in the nation, always competing for a Big Ten title and looking to go far into the NCAA Tournament. Last season proved that consistency, as Michigan won its seventh straight Big Ten title and advanced to the Super Regionals for the ninth time in ten years. To get there, the Wolverines upset Arizona State before losing a heartbreaker to Florida State in the third game of the Super Regional.

2014: 47-15, 18-5
2014 Postseason: WCWS
Coach: Carol Hutchins

Field Players:
The Wolverines only bring back two of their top five hitters from last season, but the two they bring back are monsters at the plate. Sierra Romero was an All-America selection after hitting .491 with 18 home runs, 11 doubles, 71 runs scored, 74 RBI and 81 hits. Possibly more impressive is the fact she struck out only 16 times, while walking 66 times. The other star returning for Michigan is also a Sierra, Sierra Lawrence. Lawrence hit nine home runs en route to knocking in 58 RBI and stealing a team-high 17 bases. Lauren Sweet hit .287 last season with seven doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI, while Abby Ramirez hit .289 in 61 games started as a freshman.

The Wolverines pitching rotation is led by two seniors, Haylie Wagner and Sara Driesenga, with a stud sophomore as well in Megan Betsa. Last season, Wagner went 24-5 with a 1.82 ERA and 122 strikeouts, while Betsa went 18-4 with a 2.15 ERA and 150 strikeouts in her rookie campaign.

Who to Watch:
Ramirez and Betsa. Ramirez may be looked at to play a larger offensive role with the losses of some of the top Wolverine hitters. She was a power hitter in high school, but had only four extra-base hits, with no home runs, amongst her 44 hits last season. Betsa dominated as a freshman, but can she continue that dominance or has the college softball world figured her out?

Final Projection:
The Wolverines will continue to be scary good, especially with the senior-laden team they have.  With the two Sierras running the offense, piling up runs shouldn't be a problem. And with the pitching the team returns, they may not need to score a lot of runs to defeat the teams on their schedule. The team scheduled a ridiculously difficult preseason, led by an opening day of playing Florida and USF. The next weekend they travel to play Alabama twice, as well as James Madison. The next weekend brings two games with Arizona State before a final tournament, the Judi German Classic has Michigan facing ASU again, Florida again, Baylor and San Diego State. Michigan avoids playing Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Big Ten, but has to travel to Minnesota.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Sierra Lawrence, OF, 171
Hits: Sierra Romero, SS, 81
Home Runs: Sierra Romero, SS, 18
RBIs: Sierra Romero, SS, 74
Runs: Sierra Romero, SS, 71
Stolen Bases: Sierra Lawrence, OF, 17

Wins: Haylie Wagner, P, 24
Innings Pitched: Haylie Wagner, P, 172.2
Strikeouts: Megan Betsa, P, 150
Complete Games: Haylie Wagner, P, 16

Madness 2015 NPF Draft Rankings:
#10 Haylie Wagner

Madness 2015 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Tera Blanco


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