March 1, 2014
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – On the second day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, the Ohio State softball team fell to a pair of ranked opponents, dropping a 3-1 decision to No. 23 Notre Dame and a 9-1 contest against top-ranked Florida. The Buckeyes are now 6-8 on the season and conclude play at the Citrus Classic tomorrow at 10 a.m. against No. 17/19 Missouri.
Game One: No. 23 Notre Dame 3, Ohio State 1
Erika Leonard drove in the Buckeyes’ only run in the top of the first inning when she singled to the pitcher, driving home Caitlin Conard, who reached after ripping a double to left center field. On the mound, senior Melanie Nichols went 4.2 innings, scattering just four hits while giving up two earned runs.
Notre Dame tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Katey Haus. Nichols was able to avoid any further damage by getting Micaela Arizmendi to strike out with two runners on base. Notre Dame took the lead for good in the fifth on an RBI double by Emilee Koerner and an RBI single to left field by Karley Wester.
Five different players collected hits for Ohio State, and Shelby Hursh came in the pitch in relief of Nichols and allowed just one hit in 1.1 innings.
Game Two: No. 1 Florida 9, Ohio State 1
The top-ranked Gators were able to break open a close game with six runs on four hits in the fifth inning. The biggest blow as a grand slam by Lauren Haeger off reliever Olivia O’Reilly to make the score 7-1.
Ohio State hung with the Gators for much of the game, tying the game on a RBI triple by Melissa Rennie in the second inning that scored Anna Kirk. From there, Hursh was able to stymie the potent Gator offense, keeping them off the scoreboard for the next two innings. In all, Hursh pitched 5.1 innings, allowing five hits while striking out six.
Haeger gave Florida a 2-1 lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the third. Ohio State had a leadoff runner in the fourth inning after Leonard was hit by a pitch, but a strike out, a fly out and a caught stealing ended the threat.
Watkins, Prantl, Melania Saalfeld and Rennie all collected hits for the Buckeyes.