Ohio State (23-12, 7-3 Big Ten) failed to break Michigan’s 15-game winning streak, dropping the opener of the series 10-3 against the Wolverines (28-10, 10-0 Big Ten) on Friday.
Ohio State struck first in the third inning, with an RBI single by senior second baseman Emily Clark.
Offensively, Clark said the Buckeyes performed well, scoring three runs on four hits. But defensively, she said there is need for improvement.
“I think tomorrow we just come out like we did today,” Clark said. “We are just gonna set our plan defensively and just bring in tomorrow.”
Michigan got on the board early, earning a 4-1 lead by the beginning of the fourth inning, helped by an RBI triple by junior right fielder Haley Hoogenraad and a two-run home run by senior catcher Katie Alexander.
The Buckeyes cut the deficit to one with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run by sophomore catcher Claire Nicholson over the left field wall.
Nicholson said the team came out with the right mindset and will make some adjustments heading into the next matchup.
“We have a better idea of what we need to get better for,” Nicholson said. “We just need to work hard to shut down the longer inning and we will be good to go. “
The Wolverines’ lead was extended to 6-3 with a sacrifice fly by senior utility player Alex Sobczak in the fifth inning and a solo home run by Alexander in the sixth, her second of the game.
In the seventh inning, Hoogenraad recorded her second grand slam of the year, launching the ball deep over the left center wall. The Wolverines further extended the lead to 10-3, locking down the win.
Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said Michigan’s pitcher Meghan Beaubien proved herself as one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten.
“If we pitch a little better, we can be more competitive,” Schoenly said. “If we can play defensive on the ball, we will have the chance to help our pitcher a lot more”
Ohio State senior pitcher Morgan Ray struggled in relief, allowing six earned runs on five hits, including two home runs.
Ohio State and Michigan will play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday at Buckeye Field due to predicted inclement weather on Sunday.