COLUMBUS — It’s been 17 games since the Michigan softball team looked up at the scoreboard and found themselves in a deficit.

The 2nd-ranked Wolverines last loss came on March 20 against then-No. 15 Texas, when they were on the wrong side of a 5-2 contest.

But when the Wolverines looked at the scoreboard after Wednesday’s first game in Columbus, it read 5-3, in favor of the Buckeyes.

The Wolverines (14-1 Big Ten, 38-6 overall) battled in both games of their doubleheader, winning game two 4-3 to split the season series with No. 19 Ohio State.

“We did persevere,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. “Hopefully we just learned that we’re going to have some tough games, and you’re going to drop some games. We’re not going to be perfect. The key is bouncing back and the key is staying together. It was a test for us, we haven’t been tested like that.”

The test began early, as Ohio State got on the board in the bottom of the first inning on a three-run home run from Courtney Pruner. Prior to Pruner’s bomb, junior pitcher Jordan Taylor threw an illegal pitch on what would have been strike three to Sam Marder. Taylor would walk Marder before giving up the long ball to Pruner and the Buckeyes never looked back.

Tayor had a rough outing on the mound — by her usual standards — giving up five earned runs on five hits and walked one. The Buckeye earned runs came from two deep balls, one from Pruner in the first and a two-run shot from Ohio State first baseman Rebecca Schultz in the bottom of the fourth. The junior hurler did have 13 strikeouts on the day, but the multi-run home runs did her in for the game.

Michigan couldn’t get anything going offensively in game one. Sophomore Bree Evans and senior Molly Bausher were the only Wolverines to help Michigan cross home plate — Evans had one RBI and Bausher had two. Ohio State pitching stifled the Wolverine bats, as five of the six starting seniors were hitless in the game.

Michigan got one run in the top of the third inning when Evans hit a deep sac fly but Michigan wouldn’t score again until the top of the seventh inning.

With two outs in the seventh inning and down 5-1, Bausher hit a rocket off of the left center field wall to score senior Amanda Chidester and junior Dorian Shaw, making it a 5-3 game. That score went final when Evans struck out looking for the final out of the game.

“I was a little disappointed in our at-bats,” Hutchins said. “We certainly had some good ones and early in the first game we were on her. And then, I just thought we were pressing and we tried too hard.

“We swung at a lot of bad pitches, we took called third (strikes). That’s when your thinking and you’re not playing. They’re a good team and we knew that we’d have to outscore them.”

Game two was a different story as the Wolverines got on the board in the top of the first with on an RBI double by St. Clair. Then, Michigan quickly reemerged when Chidester hit a three-run home run over the left field fence in the top of the third.

“I think (that home run) was huge for us,” Shaw said. “That gave us a little bit more confidence. Two hard hits back to back, that says something to a team. When (Chidester) hit that ball out, they kind of got a little bit down and we kind of got a little bit up. I thoroughly enjoyed being on second for that one.”

Nemitz kept the Buckeyes scoreless through three innings, until Leah Ledford hit an RBI double to deep center to get Ohio State on the board in the bottom of the fourth. The Buckeyes scored two more runs in the inning on Alicia Herron’s triple down the right field line, making it 4-3 Michigan.

Hutchins handed the ball off to Taylor with two outs in the fourth, and the junior struck out Pruner to end the Buckeye’s fourth-inning rally. Taylor worked herself out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the bottom of the sixth and held onto that lead for Michigan by retiring the side in the seventh to secure the win for Michigan.

“In that sixth inning, Taylor did a great job getting out of it and not getting down after (we) make the error in left,” Hutchins said. “Striking out Pruner, that was huge. That was the game right there. But then (Taylor) came back in the seventh and commanded them.”

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