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Ohio State remains perfect at home with 9-0 record at Buckeye Field

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 19 Ohio State softball team swept a doubleheader vs. Big Ten foe Indiana, 8-0 in six innings and 11-3 innings in five, Wednesday at Buckeye Field to improve to 7-1 in conference action. Overall, the Buckeyes own a 28-11 ledger while the Hoosiers fall to 11-29 overall with a 3-8 Big Ten record.

In the two games vs. Indiana, Ohio State sent four balls over the wall at Buckeye Field and has now hit 13 home runs against its conference foes while allowing just three in 2010. In eight league games, the Buckeyes have outscored their Big Ten counterparts, 68-22.

The Buckeyes continue their six-game home stand with a league series vs. Minnesota this weekend. Action starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and continues at 2 p.m. Sunday at Buckeye Field.

Game One
Behind a one-hitter by freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols, the first in her career, Ohio State run-ruled Indiana, 8-0, in six innings in game one of a doubleheader Wednesday. Nichols had a phenomenal day on the mound for the Buckeyes, facing just one extra batter in six innings of work while fanning six.  

Ohio State wasted no time putting runs on the board vs. Indiana in game one as the squad saw its first four batters connect, including a three-run home run from senior catcher Sam Marder. The start of the lineup produced three singles with sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron scoring junior Dee Dee Hillman from second prior to Marder’s big at-bat. The Hoosiers then brought in Jessica Dobson to pitch for Sara Olson who made quick work and retired the next three Buckeye batters.

With runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the third, senior Rebecca Schultz hit an RBI single up the middle which advanced freshman Megan Coletta to third and scored senior Leah Ledford. On the next play, Coletta scored an unearned run as junior Brittany Goodchild reached first on an error before Hillman grounded out to the shortstop for the third out to make it a 6-0 game.

The only hit Indiana put on the board came in the top of the fourth as Jennifer Glueckert singled to third base but with two outs already, Nichols struck out the last Hoosier batter swinging.

Neither team scored in the fourth nor fifth and for the fifth time in the game, Nichols retired the Indiana batters in order in the top of the sixth.

The Buckeyes put the game away with a two RBI, walk-off single from Ledford in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and runners on second and third, the senior from West Chester, Ohio, sailed a ball into right field, bringing home pinch runner Katie Simonton and Marder for the 8-0 final. To set things up, Marder, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, singled and senior Courtney Pruner hit her 34th career double. With the double, Pruner moves into 10th place on Ohio State’s all-time record list.

With the win, Nichols moves to 14-2 on the season, throwing her seventh game with zero walks allowed. Olson falls to 6-12 after allowing four runs while Dobson pitched the remaining 5.2 innings for Indiana, allowing six hits and walking five Buckeyes.

In the game, Ohio State out-hit Indiana, 10-1.

Note:
Sam Marder’s three-run home run in the bottom of the first is her 14th this season, bringing her all-time OSU record to 57. With three RBI, Marder ups that all-time Buckeye record to 179.

Game Two
Just like in game one, Ohio State jumped out ahead of Indiana in the first inning, posting six runs off of six hits. The Buckeyes would go on to hit three home runs en route to an 11-3 run-rule victory over Indiana in game two of a doubleheader at Buckeye Field Wednesday.  

Leading Ohio State in game two was sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron who went 3-for-4, scoring two runs and notching four RBI. Senior Whitney Cooper also went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Herron hit a two-run home run while Cooper and classmate Rebecca Schultz each hit solo homers to help the Buckeyes make quick work of the Hoosiers.

After junior centerfielder Dee Dee Hillman got things started with a single to right field and advanced to second on a Cooper sacrifice bunt, sophomore Alicia Herron singled through the right side to bring the first run in. The Buckeyes then loaded the bases allowing senior Leah Ledford to come up big with a two-RBI double. Freshman Megan Coletta kept things going with an RBI single through the left side before some crafty base running allowed Coletta to successfully steal second and advance to third as the Hoosiers attempted to catch Ledford who stole home to make it a 5-0 game. In the nine spot of the order, junior Brittany Goodchild added an RBI single for the sixth and final run before Indiana was able to escape the inning.

The Hoosiers put up two runs in the top of the second with a two-run home run but the Buckeyes kept producing as Cooper hit a leadoff home run, her seventh homer of the season, to make it a 7-2 game after three.

Starting Ohio State pitcher Megan Miller got in some trouble in the top of the third as Indiana loaded the bases. The Hoosiers were able to score off an RBI single by Cassie Gogreve and with the bases still loaded, the Buckeyes brought Melanie Nichols in for relief. The freshman was able to take control and record the final two outs of the inning without allowing another run to score. In the bottom of the inning, senior first baseman Schultz launched her first home run of the season and third of her career to make it an 8-3 contest.

Nichols was back into her form from the first game, retiring the side in order in the top of the fourth before Herron went long for a two-run home run in the bottom of the stanza to give Ohio State a seven-run lead heading into the fifth.

With three hits in the bottom of the fifth, the Buckeyes were able to tack on a single run to again run-rule Indiana, this time, 11-3. Goodchild started the inning with a single to left field before advancing to second on a wild pitch and moving to third on a Cooper single to left. With a third-consecutive single to left field, Herron brought in Goodchild to end the game.

Nichols earned her 15th win of the season, throwing 2.2 innings while allowing just one hit and striking out four.

Note:
The senior class of Whitney Cooper, Leah Ledford, Sam Marder, Megan Miller, Courtney Pruner and Rebecca Schultz is now tied for fifth on the all-time winningest senior class with 148 victories. The Class of 2004 owns the record with 162.