Following the No. 2 Michigan softball team’s 3-0 victory over Central Michigan Wednesday, senior hurler Jordan Taylor said her secret is to “stay even-keeled.”
Judging by her calm and collected reaction to her one-hit shutout in which she completely overwhelmed the Chippewa lineup, it’s safe to say her secret worked.
Taylor struck out nine, keeping her team in the lead despite a lack of offense.
“I thought Jordan Taylor had an outstanding game,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said Wednesday. “She was on her game, and thankfully because the rest of us weren’t.”
The Wolverines pushed across an early run, after a single from junior center fielder Bree Evans scored senior designated hitter Alycia Ryan. It was just the latest in a string of productive at-bats for Evans, who was 3-for-3 on the evening.
Michigan (5-1 Big Ten, 37-3 overall) clung to its 1-0 advantage as its bats went quiet for several innings. But Central Michigan fell completely silent. Just two Chippewas reached base — via a walk and a single — off Taylor, who spun another gem for the Wolverines.
“I wouldn’t say it was my most dominant (appearance this season),” Taylor said. “I try to keep the approach the same.”
Michigan found some insurance in the sixth inning when Ryan crushed a two-run home run over the right field fence. Any chance that the Chippewas (5-3 MAC, 20-13 overall) could touch up Taylor virtually vanished.
The win was the Wolverines’ fourth in a row and came against a formidable non-conference foe.
“Central’s a good team,” Hutchins said. “They’re having a great year. After the game, I told (Central Michigan coach Margo Jonker) this was some of the best enthusiasm her team’s had. They came to play and I was really impressed with them.
“I could see us pressing and trying to meet expectations, but I urged them to get into our process. The season gets harder. It’s going to keep getting harder. That’s why you need to rely on your process.”
This weekend, Michigan travels to Champaign to take on an Illinois team that boasts a 6-2 Big Ten record. Taylor will be called upon to start at least one of the two games. If she remains as dependable as she strives to be, it may very well be another successful weekend for the Wolverines.
“It seemed easy (last weekend against Purdue), but it wasn’t as easy (Wednesday),” Hutchins said. “In softball, you rely on your pitching and your defense because hitting is hard. Taylor’s been consistent. We rely on her.”