staff, June 2, 2015

The 2015 Michigan softball team will have the chance to "sprinkle the cheese" one last time this season.

[ MORE: View the official NCAA tourney bracket ]

Senior LHP Haylie Wagner made a first-inning run hold up as the No. 3-seeded University of Michigan softball team shut down No. 1 seed Florida, 1-0, to force a third and deciding game in the NCAA Women's College World Series championship series Tuesday evening (June 2) in front of 8,254 fans at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Michigan (60-7), the 2005 national champion, and Florida (59-7), which won the 2014 title, will play for the 2015 championship Wednesday (June 3) at 7 p.m. CDT on ESPN.

In a fast-moving pitchers' duel that lasted just an hour and 33 minutes, Wagner (25-2) worked quickly and efficiently in her first start of the WCWS, allowing six hits with no walks and five strikeouts for her third win in Oklahoma City and her fourth shutout of the season.

After Wagner retired the Gators in order in the top of the first, the Wolverines got on the board first for just the second time in WCWS play. Junior centerfielder Sierra Lawrence led off with a two-strike single through the left side, slid in safely at second when junior second baseman Sierra Romero reached on a fielder's choice to shortstop, and scored when junior rightfielder Kelsey Susalla singled to shallow centerfield. Florida pitcher Lauren Haeger avoided further damage by retiring the next two Wolverines.

Haeger (31-2), the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, threw just 68 pitches (50 strikes) and was magnificent after Michigan nicked her for the game's only run. She faced two batters over the minimum after the first inning, yielding two hits — a leadoff single by Wagner in the second and a one-out double by Lawrence in the fifth — and a walk and benefiting from a fifth-inning double play.

Meanwhile, after the easy first, Wagner had to work out of some jams but found a way each time. In the second, Haeger reached on an infield single and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, Michigan shortstop Abby Ramirez saved a run with a key defensive play, diving to glove a grounder up the middle and allowing Wagner to quell the potential rally with another strikeout.

Florida also put two runners on board in the fourth with back-to-back one-out singles, but Romero made a nice running grab of a popup down the rightfield line and Wagner retired the next hitter on a groundout. In the fifth, Florida's leadoff hitter singled but was erased on a double play on a liner to shortstop.

Wagner also worked out of trouble in the sixth. Kirsti Merritt reached on a one-out bunt single, bringing up Haeger, who drove in all three Florida runs the previous night. Wagner jammed Haeger on a 1-0 pitch, forcing a weak infield popup, and with Merritt in scoring position after stealing second, a lineout to shortstop ended the threat.

Wagner took care of everything herself in the seventh, needing just eight pitches to close out the game on a first-pitch popup to the circle followed by two swinging strikeouts.

Read full recap.