Ohio State (25-14, 9-5 Big Ten) handed Michigan (29-11, 11-1 Big Ten) its first loss in Big Ten play, but split the doubleheader against the Wolverines on Saturday.
Despite striking first with two home runs in the top of the first inning, Ohio State was unable to continue its hot offense in the first game, falling to Michigan 6-2.
Senior shortstop Lilli Piper put the Buckeyes on the board first with a solo home run over left field her fourth of the season. Senior second baseman Emily Clark added another solo home run over the left field fence in the next at bat, her eighth of the season, taking an early 2-0 lead.
But it was a lead that would soon evaporate, as Michigan soon turned the table with three runsin the top of the second inning.
Michigan added two more runs in the third inning with a home run by senior designated player Alex Sobczak and one more in the seventh.
Ohio State sophomore pitcher Lauren Rice allowed six runs, four earned, in 6.1 innings of work, earning her fourth loss of the season.
Ohio State freshman third baseman Ashley Prange and senior right fielder Bri Betschel played the heroes, saving the game in the Buckeyes’ extra-inning 2-1 win against the Wolverines in the second game of the doubleheader.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the seventh, Prange hit a solo home run, her fifth of the season, to tie the game. Betschel followed up with a game-winning RBI single in the eighth.
Prange said this game was one of the finest games she has played in her life.
“That rivalry means so much to everyone here,” Prange said. “Honestly, I was struggling. I was new. I just need to clear my mind and I am happy with how it ended.”
Betschel called the second game a dogfight between two rivals.
“It was a fight. It was going back and forth,” Betschel said. “It was all about making adjustments. And in the end, we came out on top.”
Ohio State senior pitcher Morgan Ray opened the game with a pair of swinging strikeouts, eventually tying her season high with 10 strikeouts.
“Obviously, playing Michigan is a big rivalry,” Ray said. “Senior year, playing Michigan at home, it’s a big game. So, I just try to stay in it and keep our team in the game.”
Wolverines scored its only run on a bases-loaded walk by sophomore Lou Allan in the bottom of the second inning.
Ohio State will be back in action at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Buckeye Field against Ohio (26-16).