UM softball players undaunted by uphill climb ahead

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan starting pitcher Megan Betsa throws to Oklahoma during the first inning.

Oklahoma City — Michigan understands it faces a huge task if it wants to stay alive in the College World Series, but the Wolverines insist they’re capable of making that happen.

The Wolverines lost 7-5 to Oklahoma on Saturday night and must now win two games on Sunday and then one game Monday to advance to the championship round. Michigan was the national champion runner-up a year ago.

Michigan, which rallied in the bottom of the seventh and scored two runs, returns to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on Sunday for a 1 p.m. (ET) game against Florida State, 12 hours after the loss to the Sooners. The Wolverines (52-6) defeated FSU twice early in the season, and if they win again, will face Auburn at 7 p.m.

“We have our work cut out for us, and we’re in a really tough situation,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.

Had the Wolverines won, they would not have played again until Sunday at 9:30 p.m. (ET).

“We knew the importance of this game and Michigan knew the importance of this game,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “It gives the team rest, otherwise the other team is back here tomorrow playing at noon, which is a tough situation with this bracket. And I don’t think the other team deserves to come back at noon. We got at the good end of that.”

The Michigan players said they’re confident they will rebound.

“We’ve just got to get some sleep,” Sierra Romero, the National Player of the Year, said. “We’re not out of it yet.”

Catcher Aidan Falk, who had a home run and three RBIs in the loss, was matter of fact.

“Today’s done, tomorrow’s a new day,” she said.

Wolverines dig big hole with loss to Sooners

Pitcher Megan Betsa, who gave up three runs in the first inning against the Sooners, said the Wolverines must set an aggressive tone early.

“We need to come out tomorrow and attack from the first pitch,” Betsa said. “You can never count us out. We have fight in us as you saw in the last inning (against Oklahoma) and we need to use that tomorrow.”

Romero times two

Michigan’s Romero is the oldest of four children, and Sydney Romero, an Oklahoma freshman, is the second oldest.

The two texted each other before the game to wish each other well.

“I had to get over the fact I was playing against my sister,” Sydney said. “It’s tough because she’s family, but I had to get over it. I was rooting for her, but I wasn’t at the same time. That was the toughest part. But at the end of the day, I had to play it just like a normal game.”

Both sisters had an RBI in the game. Sierra Romero singled in the third run in the fourth inning, getting the better of her third baseman younger sister by beating out her throw to first.

Sydney was asked how badly she wanted to throw out her sister.

“Oh,” Sydney said, perking up and drawing laughter, “so bad. So bad.”

Pitching change?

Betsa, who struggled early giving up three runs in the first, came out of the game late and was relieved by Sara Driesenga. Betsa pitched 6⅓ innings and gave up seven runs, six hits and had seven strikeouts.

Hutchins was asked if Betsa will pitch against Florida State.

“I’m just going to deal with this team right now and we’ll recover from that and we’ll see,” Hutchins said. “I’m sure we’ll need everybody tomorrow.”

Twitter: @chengelis