Leadoff hitter Lawrence lights spark for Michigan

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan senior outfielder Sierra Lawrence can’t wait to get back to Oklahoma City to compete in the Women’s College World Series.

Lawrence said Sunday’s 5-4 comeback win over Missouri to clinch the Super Regional at Alumni Field was the most exciting game she has been a part of during her career at Michigan.

“For sure it was the best game of my career, hands down, nothing compares to it,” said Lawrence of the four-run seventh to erase a 4-1 deficit. “My adrenaline was going so much. I watched the replay a couple of times. It was just such an emotional inning, a lot of fun and I’m happy we came out on top.”

Lawrence is hitting .440 with 11 homers, 45 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

Lawrence was 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot in the comeback win, getting a hit and scoring a run in the winning rally. She would be the team’s top hitter at most places, but not at Michigan (51-5) where National Player of the Year finalist Sierra Romero is hitting .465 with 19 homers and 78 RBI.

The Wolverines are hitting .354 as a team with 85 homers.

Last year, Lawrence hit .346 with career highs in homers (14) and RBI (60).

“I feel I’ve gradually improved throughout my years here as a hitter,” Lawrence said. “Hutch (Michigan coach Carol Hutchins) is an amazing coach and has had a great career. There’s no other coach I’d rather play for in this world. She loves us and we love her and she knows the game so well.”

UM kept promise with return to World Series

Hutchins is the winningest coach in college softball history with 1,483 wins, guiding the Wolverines to the national championship in 2005 at Oklahoma City.

Lawrence talked of the Wolverines’ philosophy at the plate.

“We just want to hit the ball hard and a lot of times that translates into home runs,” Lawrence said. “Really, we just try to hit the ball hard and stay behind it. It’s a great feeling to know that if you don’t get it done someone else behind you will so you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun my senior year. I’ve been able to have fun and relax and not put too much pressure on myself. I’ve been able to hit the ball on the ground a lot this year and get a lot of infield hits. Honestly, my confidence has been big, that and staying in my moment and not worry about my outcomes.”

Lawrence, a 22-year-old native of Georgia, came through with multiple big games in last year’s Series, including a two-run double to drive in the winning run before also stealing home in the semifinal win over LSU. She was 2-for-3 and scored the winning run in Game 2 of the national championship series, ultimately won by Florida. She also went 2-for-4 in a Super Regional win over Georgia.

The Wolverines open the Series Thursday night against LSU.

When asked about the Series and the Wolverines’ chances of returning home as national champs, Lawrence replied: “It’s a great, an amazing feeling to be able to end my career there. We’re Michigan softball and we’ve worked hard all year to be in the national championship (series) and hopefully we’ll get there and come out on top.

“It’s always nice to have the experience of being there, playing in the World Series before. You know what to expect and you’re comfortable.”

Hutchins is grateful to have Lawrence in her leadoff spot and patrolling center field.

"She has a great, savvy softball mind," Hutchins said. "She doesn’t say a lot, but when she says it, she has something to say. She’s not going to talk just to talk.

"She’s a great teammate. Her teammates love her."



UM opens WCWS Thursday at 9:30; full schedule here