Friday, April 30, 2010
Michigan Softball: Michigan splits with Ohio State
Posted at 12:00pm -- 4/30/2010
GBMW Covers Wolverine-Buckeye Softball
It was not a bad day in cowtown, but Michigan’s softball team was looking for better. At the conclusion of Wednesday’s doubleheader, neither team made progress in the chase for the Big Ten championship after a hard fought split.
Michigan in the first game came out a little on the snoozy side and quickly fell behind 3-0. All was going very well until a base umpire called an illegal pitch on Jordan Taylor, canceling out a big strikeout. The illegal pitch was the only one called the entire double-header and was identical to any other pitch thrown by both staffs the entire night. After Jordan argued, some focus was lost and she parked a fastball down the buffet table and an OSU batter hit it over the camera in center field, a good 30 feet or more past the fence.
So now Michigan was in the hole early and prospects were not improving with OSU freshman Melanie Nichols pitching very well. Melanie will be a big time force in the Big Ten for the next four years. In the middle of the game, Jordan put another buffet pitch on the platter on a 3 and 1 count to senior Rebecca Shultz, who although diminutive threw her hands through the ball as well as I have seen for a long time. Talk about great hands at the plate, wow.
Michigan made a little noise late but went down 5-3 in the first game. One fun highlight was when Dorian Shaw almost knocked the fence down on a shot that netted only a single. Michigan did blotch two bunt attempts and kicked the ball around a little in the field.
The second game matched Wolverine lefty Nikki Nemetz against Ohio State senior Megan Mille,r who is at least an inch or two taller than Jordan Taylor. This was a good match-up for Michigan. Michigan jumped to a 4-3 lead but let up enough to keep Miller in the game until a switch at mid-game was made to bring back Nichols in relief. Ohio State got some bloops and a couple of Michigan errors to provide baserunners. The ball was hit off the end of an Ohio State bat, hit chalk, and bounced 90 degrees to the right scoring two runs. In comes Taylor, who, although in big trouble, left the bases loaded later in the game and held on for a tough 4-3 Wolverine victory.
The athletes on the field for both teams were impressive. Whoever is working with Ohio State’s hitters is doing a very good job, their stances and swings are superior to many baseball players. Both sides showed some quick hands that went right to the ball. Taylor struck out many batters, but the two buffet specials were the story of the night.
A great night overall and some great competition took place. Look for these two teams to settle the score in the Big Ten finals. Ohio State is a very good team, make no mistake about it, and with Nichols on the mound, this team could go pretty far. Michigan needs to do a little better with small ball, tighten up the defense, (especially the right side) and execute the basics of the game. Bunts are like free throws, you gotta have them.
Michigan fans should know that throughout the game I heard stories from those in the stands about what a wonderful group of student-athletes this squad is. That in the end is more important than bunting, but bunting is important.
Written by Doc4blu -- GBMW Staff
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!