BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The top-seeded Michigan softball team won its 10th Big Ten Tournament Championship and first since 2015 on Saturday with a 3-2 win over No. 3 seed (and three-time defending tournament champion) Minnesota in the title game at Andy Mohr Field in Bloomington, Indiana.
After a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings, the Wolverines (43-11) broke through in the fourth on Madison Uden’s two-out RBI double that scored Natalie Peters. Michigan added two insurance runs in the fifth inning, the first on pinch hitter Lou Allan’s RBI double and another on Peters’ RBI ground out. Both scores would prove pivotal in the final outcome.
Following a 22-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth, Minnesota (41-12) came alive in the bottom half of the inning, starting with Hope Brandner’s opposite field home run to right. Natalie DenHartog followed with a single and Emma Burns doubled off the top of the left field wall to put runners at second and third. Allie Arneson’s sacrifice fly plated DenHartog, but Michigan’s Lexie Blair saved the game for her side with a diving catch on Taylor Chell’s sinking liner to left to end the inning.
The Wolverines had two runners in scoring position in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t drive either home. In their final at-bat, the Golden Gophers got a leadoff walk by Carlie Brandt, but she was stranded when Michigan reliever Alex Storako set down the next three batters, including Brandner, whose deep fly ball to left with two outs died on the warning track in Blair’s glove for the final out, securing the title for the Wolverines.
Michigan sophomore pitcher Meghan Beaubien was named the 2019 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player after she tied the tournament record with her third win in as many outings at the event, working into the sixth inning of the title game and allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out four. In addition to her 3-0 record at this year’s Big Ten Tournament, Beaubien posted a 1.26 ERA and struck out 16 batters while allowing only three runs in 16.2 innings in the circle.
With the victory, Michigan earns the Big Ten’s automatic berth into this year’s NCAA Tournament, with the complete 64-team NCAA field revealed at 9 p.m. (ET) Sunday live on ESPN2.
The 2019 Big Ten All-Tournament Team was as follows:
Most Outstanding Player: Meghan Beaubien, So., P, Michigan
Meghan Beaubien, So., P, Michigan
Lexie Blair, Fr., OF, Michigan
Faith Canfield, Sr., 2B, Michigan
Natalie Peters, Sr., OF, Michigan
Hope Brandner, So., 1B, Minnesota
Amber Fiser, Jr., P, Minnesota
Katelyn Kemmetmueller, Jr., 3B, Minnesota
Jordyn Rudd, Fr., C, Northwestern
Danielle Williams, Fr., P, Northwestern
Melanie Cross, Sr., OF, Wisconsin
Kayla Konwent, Jr., 1B, Wisconsin
Taylor Johnson, So., C, Wisconsin