EVANSTON, Ill. – The Ohio State softball team fell, 14-0, in five innings at Northwestern Saturday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston, Ill. The Buckeyes (11-28, 2-9 Big Ten) will conclude the two-game series with the Wildcats (21-13, 3-6 Big Ten) at 3 p.m. ET Sunday live on Big Ten Network.
Northwestern scored one run in the first, five runs in the second and eight runs in the fourth to claim the run-rule victory. Wildcat starting pitcher Jessica Smith limited the Buckeye bats to three hits to improve to 7-7 overall on the season, while freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly fell to 3-7 on the season.
In the top of the first, junior co-captain Alicia Herron opened the game with a lead-off single to left center. However, the Buckeyes stranded two runners when Smith got out of the inning after shortstop Emily Allard made the force out play at third base on a groundball.
Northwestern opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first. Allard began the offense for the Wildcats with an infield single followed by a stolen base. Following an illegal pitch and walk to Adrienne Monka, Ohio State was in its first jam of the afternoon as designated player Michelle Batts stepped into the batter’s box. But Kelly concentrated on the hitter and got Batts with an infield flyout. However, with two outs, second baseman Marisa Best knocked an RBI single through the left side to give Northwestern a 1-0 lead. Kelly limited the damage with a fly out to center field with the bases loaded.
In the second, freshman Melaina Saalfeld posted a one-out single up the middle, but Smith ended the OSU at-bat with two strikeouts and a pop up.
The Wildcats then had the first two batters on base after a hit-by-pitch and a walk to begin the bottom of the second. Allard made it, 2-0, in favor of Northwestern with an RBI single to left field to knock Kelly out of the inning as senior pitcher Karisa Medrano came into the circle with runners on first and second. With one out, Monka connected solidly on a 2-0 pitch for a three-run home run to dead center off Medrano to open up the game, 5-0. The Wildcats then went ahead, 6-0, on an RBI single by Bast.
In the third, Dee Dee Hillman reached base safely when a groundball went right through the legs of third baseman Robin Thomson, but the Scarlet and Gray could not start a rally after Smith closed the door with a strikeout.
Freshman pitcher Audrey Plant then came into the circle for the Buckeyes to begin the bottom of the inning and threw well as she retired three-consecutive Wildcats – all on groundouts.
But In the bottom of the fourth, Northwestern extended their lead with an eight-run inning. With the bases loaded, Bast claimed her third RBI single of the day with a blooper over the head of Herron as the Buckeye shortstop was shaded in to make it 7-0. Wheeler then claimed an RBI single off Plant to center field to give her squad an 8-0 lead. After a walk plated the ninth run, Kristin Scharkey made it 10-0 when she lined a single off the leg of Plant, who had no time to react to hard-hit ball. The Buckeye rookie stayed in the game and got Allard to pop-up, however, Robin Thompson knocked a two-run single through the right side followed by a two-run double by Monka to make it 14-0, ending Plant’s day in the circle. Kelly returned to pitch and ended the big inning for the Wildcats with a groundout.
Northwestern had a 12-3 advantage on hits, while both teams left five runners on base.