March 22, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team won in come-from-behind fashion in game one and held on for a one-run victory in game two to complete a weekend sweep of Michigan State on Saturday at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes are now 15-14 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten while Michigan State falls to 7-18, 0-3.
Game One: Ohio State 11, Michigan State 7
Ohio State scored 10 runs in the last three innings – including six in the bottom of the sixth – for an 11-7 comeback victory over the Spartans. Caitlin Conrad powered the offense, going 2-for-5 with a three-run home run and five RBI while pitchers Audrey Plant and Olivia O’Reilly combined to pitch 4.1 innings of relief, scattering just four hits while striking out two.
Michigan State scored six times in the top of the third on three hits and two Buckeye errors. Destinee Luna proved a two-run single during the frame for the Spartans while Carly Nielsen also drove in two runs with a double.
The Buckeye comeback began in the bottom of the fourth when they trailed 7-1. Jesse Machovina led off the frame with a triple and following a Keelia Nester walk, Conrad drove Machovina home with a single up the middle. Evelyn Carrillo singled down the left field line to drive home two runs to make the score 7-4.
In the sixth, Saibene reached second base on an error by the right fielder and eventually was driven home on a single by Erika Leonard. A sacrifice fly by Machovina tied the score 7-7 and Nester’s RBI single completed the comeback, giving Ohio State an 8-7 lead. Conrad then stepped to the plate with two on and belted the first pitch of her at bat over the right field fence to give the Buckeyes an 11-7 lead.
O’Reilly came on to shut Michigan State down in the seventh inning. Offensively, Taylor Watkins, Leonard, Cammi Prantl, Machovina and Nester all had multiple hits. Carrillo drove in two runs while Watkins, Leonard, Melaina Saalfeld, Machovina and Nester each drove in one. Shelby Hursh started the game in the circle, going 2.2 innings and allowing three hits.
Game Two: Ohio State 4, Michigan State 3
Carrillo delivered what proved to be the game-winning hit in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single to right center field as Ohio State held on for a 4-3 win in the day’s second game.
The Spartans got on the scoreboard first thanks to a two-run home run by Carly Nielsen in the top of the second. In the bottom of the frame, Ohio State struck for three runs, keyed by a three-run home run by Prantl that scored Saalfeld and Anna Kirk.
In the fourth, Michigan State pushed across the equalizer on an RBI single from pinch hitter Stephanie Sanders. The score remained tied at 3-3 until the bottom of the fifth when Conrad started off the inning with a single to right center. Watkins followed with a sacrifice bunt, advancing Conrad to second. She took third base on a wild pitch and then was driven home when Carrillo laced a single to right center that hit the wall.
Michigan State had a base runner in both the sixth and seventh innings but neither of them advanced past first. O’Reilly pitched a complete game, giving up six hits while striking out five. She earned her team-leading fifth win of the year.
Over the three-game series, Carrillo hit .700 with six RBIs, four runs scored, two home runs, a slugging percentage of 1.300 and on-base percentage of .727. Prantl was equally as hot, checking in with a .600 average, three doubles, a home run and five RBIs. As a team, Ohio State hit .432 on the weekend with 15 extra base hits (nine doubles, one triple, five home runs).
Ohio State returns to action on Tuesday, March 25, when it travels to Pittsburgh, Pa., for a doubleheader with the Pitt Panthers beginning 3 p.m.