The Bulldog proved to be the only competition too strong for the Wolverines this past weekend, as the No. 5 Michigan softball team collected four wins and a loss at the Judi Garmen Classic – its last road tournament of the season.

The Wolverines (29-2 overall) started off the tournament Thursday, coming off their first loss of the season against Western Kentucky. But the team didn’t have time to dwell, as its first matchup of the California weekend was against No. 6 Arizona State.

“We’ve been out of Ann Arbor more than we’ve been in it,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “I think (the team) has done an exceptional job of staying on their toes and working hard and working through traveling and playing so many games.”

The game was a battle on the mound, as it remained scoreless until sophomore second baseman Ashley Lane came up to the plate in the sixth inning. She sent the ball deep for her tenth homerun of the year, putting Michigan on the board.

Senior pitcher Jordan Taylor was put to the test in the seventh inning after Arizona State third baseman Krista Donnenwirth smacked a one-out double to the fence. But the veteran retired the next two batters on just nine pitches, including a game-ending strikeout – her eighth of the game – giving Taylor her sixth complete-game shutout of the season.

Lane was the only player to cross home plate, as the Wolverines snapped the Sun Devils’ 23-game win streak with a 1-0 victory.

Later that day, the Wolverines picked up a win against Cal State Fullerton, and came up with big hits in clutch situations.

Michigan set the tone from the start. After senior first baseman Dorian Shaw hit a hard double to left field, junior third baseman Amanda Chidester sent one straight down the left-field foul line and over the fence.

The Wolverines kept the rally going in the fifth and sixth innings to take the game over the Titans, 5-2.

Friday and Saturday included three more games and two more wins for Michigan, as it faced No. 7 Arizona and cusp teams Notre Dame and Fresno State.

“In all 30 of our games this year, I think we’ve done a really nice job of just focusing on what’s important – Michigan,” Hutchins said of facing tough competition over the weekend.

The Wolverines didn’t let the Wildcats’ ranking or 26-6 record concern them at all, as Michigan blanked Arizona 8-0. Taylor struck out nine Wildcat batters and earned her second complete-game shutout in as many days.

The Wolverines broke the game open in the sixth inning, scoring six runs with two outs. Junior centerfielder Bree Evans hit a three-run triple to help give Michigan the cushion and the win.

After a strong 9-4 finish against Notre Dame on Saturday morning, which included Shaw’s 11th homerun of the season, the Wolverines headed into their final game in the Golden State against the Bulldogs.

“At the end of the day here, you tend to run out of gas,” Hutchins said. “I think it’s been not just a long road trip – it’s been a long 30 games.”

And Fresno State (16-8) took advantage of Michigan’s failure to execute after a long weekend.

After Evans and Shaw worked to put a tally mark on the board for the Wolverines in the first, no other Michigan batter would score.

The Bulldogs scored all of their runs with no outs in the fourth inning. Fresno State’s Michelle Moses led off the inning with a solo shot to left centerfield. After the next Bulldog hit a full-count triple, catcher Caitlin Stiglich connected and drove a two-run blast over the left center fence, putting Fresno State up 3-1.

Michigan threatened with a pair of base runners in the top of the seventh, but the Bulldogs forced a game-ending groundout to issue the Wolverines their second loss of the season.

The Wolverines kick off Big Ten play next weekend with a pair of games in Evanston before coming back to Ann Arbor for their home opener on March 30.

“(How we’ll do) remains to be seen,” Hutchins said of conference play. “We just need to keep with what we’re doing and try not to make the conference season or any conference opponents as anything bigger than it is.”

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