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This Week in Michigan Softball: Road-tripping across the Big Ten

The Wolverines look to rebound in Lincoln after a losing weekend against Ohio State.

NCAA SOFTBALL: MAY 22 Playoff Regional - Michigan v Washington Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Between a tumultuous trip to Columbus and a showdown looming with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Michigan Wolverines softball team is getting a baptism by fire as they enter the Big Ten season. Here’s this week’s trip around the diamond in the world of Michigan softball.

The week in review

After almost two months of non-conference play, the Wolverines had to wait a few days longer than expected to get the Big Ten slate started due to weather — postponing the first two games of the weekend and having a doubleheader on Sunday.

In the first game of the Sunday slate, an early Buckeye run was countered two innings later off a solo home run by Audrey LeClair. The pitching for both squads then locked in, as it took until the 10th inning for Michigan to finally break the tie and escape with a 3-1 victory.

The second game, however, was far less kind to the Wolverines. Ohio State scored early and often — plating four runs in the first inning after an error resulted in a run, followed by a three-run home run from designated player Sam Hackenbracht.

Though the Wolverines cut the lead to two in the top of the third, the Buckeyes pushed the slate back to four in the next half inning, than added five more runs in the fourth — taking Michigan down in an 11-2 run rule finish.

Ohio State looked to be finishing the series off with a bang on Monday, leading the Wolverines 8-1 after four innings. With the threat of another run rule defeat looming, the Wolverines found a lifeline — scoring three runs in the fifth and sixth innings to cut the lead down to just one.

Unfortunately, the Wolverines couldn’t find that last run in their final inning, and the Buckeyes left with the win both in the game and the series.

If Michigan was disappointed coming off the weekend, it didn’t show it on Wednesday at home against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Scoring at least one run in all four of their innings at the plate, the Wolverines strolled to a comfortable 9-0 run rule victory.

Previewing Nebraska

One of the top teams in the Big Ten this season, playing the Cornhuskers on their home field of Bowlin Stadium will posit a formidable challenge for the Wolverines.

The Cornhuskers enter the weekend with a record of 24-10 — including a 4-1 record in their first five conference games. Nebraska made easy work of the Purdue Boilermakers with a series sweep to start the Big Ten season, but split a midweek doubleheader on Tuesday against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The real threat for Michigan will come in quieting the Cornhuskers’ bats. Of Nebraska’s nine qualified batters, six enter the weekend with a batting average over .330, and five post an OPS above .900. The leader of the offensive onslaught is junior infielder Billie Andrews, who already has mashed 11 home runs over the wall in the early season.

Schedule (All times in EST, streaming and television options where applicable)

March 31 – at Nebraska (6:30 p.m., B1G+)

April 1 – at Nebraska (5 p.m., Big Ten Network)

April 2 – at Nebraska (1 p.m., B1G+)