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May 23, 2011 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-05-23

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Monday, May 23, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

11

Taylor's legacy hits snag in seventh-inning fallout

W Senior pitcher
sets two Michigan
pitching records
By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
Jordan Taylor kept her eyes
down and bit the top of her blue
No. 7 jersey as she walked past the
entire Kentucky team celebrating a
walk-off win at home plate.
The cold truth became read-
ily apparent for the No. 2 Michigan
softball team in the elimination
game: The senior who got the Wol-
verines to that point had ended it
all.
With a 1-0 lead entering the bot-
tom of the seventh inning, Taylor
allowed a leadoff home run to right
field and then allowed consecutive
walks and a hit batter to load the
bases.
With Michigan's hopes quickly
fading, Taylor struck out one bat-
ter before inducing a game-ending
blooper to .151-hitter Annie Row-
lands that fell just past first base.
"She was not happy, and I'm
sure she was shook up a little bit,"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins

said. "She got a little tentative and
she pitched a little careful. But I
told the kids, 'Jordan didn't lose the
game for us.' Jordan was outstand-
ing, she pitched her heart out all
weekend.
"If it would've worked, it
would've been just a hell of an
effort."
Taylor was unavailable for com-
ment after the game, but the tears
that mixed with her eye black, as
she hugged her mother and strode
into the clubhouse, spoke volumes.
Taylor weaved a gem for six
innings at Alumni Field on Sun-
day, striking out 10 hitters to stake
Michigan to a 1-0 lead, but her
outing - and her senior season
- unraveled with just three outs
remaining.
The look of shock on her face as
Wildcat pinch runner Macy Allen
crossed home plate to end the game
showed Taylor's disbelief. But she
wasn't alone.
"I wasn't going to believe it until
they scored that run that we weren't
going to go in and get more at-bats,"
junior third baseman Amanda
Chidester said. "I believed Jordan
was going to get through it and
we'd make some plays. I thought a
double-play was going to come, but

(Rowlands) found a little hole."
To Kentucky hurler Rachel Riley,
who was the first of the seventh-
inning walks, Taylor didn't seem to
lose her composure.
"I was expecting her to come
with her A-game, because she's a
great pitcher and I thought she'd
have the confidence to get the next
few outs," Riley said. "I was just
looking for my pitch, and it never
came."
But Taylor faced equally difficult
stretches in both games Saturday -
a 7-6 loss to Kentucky and a 9-8 vic-
tory over Notre Dame.
Taylor threw 428 pitches in less
than two days - allowing 12 runs
over four games - but the 10 con-
secutive balls in the seventh inning
were the dagger.
"I had seen her get rattled (Sat-
urday) with us and Notre Dame -
I could see it in her face and in the
way she'd start throwing her pitch-
es a little crazy," Rowlands said.
"So I do think we did kind of take
advantage her being rattled."
Despite the disappointing fin-
ish, Taylor's weekend cemented
her place in Michigan softball his-
tory by becoming the winningest
pitcher in program history with her
107th victory and passing former

ERIN KIRKLAND/Da
Michigan senior Jordan Taylor reacts to allowing a walk-off base hit to Kentucky.
ace Jennie Ritter for most career add to the strikeout count."

strikeouts with her 1,206th in the
fourth inning against Notre Dame
on Saturday.
But Taylor was still not altogeth-
er pleased with her performance.
"(The record) makes the whole
day a little bit better, I guess," Tay-
lor said after defeating the Fighting
Irish. "But I was not happy with
my performance, so we're going to
come back tomorrow and have to

Her strikeout reign mounted to
a nearly insurmountable 1,220 total
by the end of the NCAA Ann Arbor
Regional, but arguably Michigan's
best-ever pitcher saw her career
come to a halt with nothing more
than a handful of program records,
two All-American seasons and four
Big Ten championships.
And even for Hutchins, it's hard
to ask for more than that.

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