Michigan softball stays alive in NCAA tournament with 4-1 win over South Dakota State

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Kristina Burkhardt's three-run home run and Alex Storako's 12 strikeouts lifted Michigan softball past South Dakota State for the second time in the Orlando regional of the NCAA tournament, 4-1, on Sunday.

Michigan will now face UCF, needing two wins to advance to the Super Regionals next weekend. The first game will be later Sunday.

Storako gave up a run on two hits, a walk and a hit batter for the complete game victory. She struck out at least two hitters in five of the seven innings, including striking out the side in the sixth.

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The Wolverines (38-17) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Burkhardt drew a leadoff walk in the first. Audrey LeClair followed with a bunt single and then Lexie Blair, the hero in Friday's win over SDSU, flied out to right, but an error by Emma Osmundson allowed Burkhardt to score.

University of Michigan's pitcher Alex Storako (8) winds up against Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game Saturday, May 14, 2022. Nebraska won in extra innings 3-1.
University of Michigan's pitcher Alex Storako (8) winds up against Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game Saturday, May 14, 2022. Nebraska won in extra innings 3-1.

In the second, Melina Livingston opened with a single. Then Ella McVey drew a two-out walk, setting the stage for Burkhardt. And the Wolverines' leading hitter did not disappoint, blasting her second home run of the season.

In their last at-bat, the Jackrabbits got on the board on Cylie Halvorson's leadoff home run in the seventh. But Storako got a pop out and a strikeout before hitting a batter. Storako shook that off by striking out Lindsey Culver to end the game.

The weather pushed back not only Michigan's second game on Saturday, but even the elimination game between South Dakota State and Villanova that preceded it. The Jackrabbits completed their 5-4 win over the Wildcats to meet U-M again.

U-M lost in extra innings to UCF on Saturday. The Wolverines opened the regional with a 2-1 win over SDSU on Friday.

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan softball stays alive in NCAA tournament with win over SDSU