March 12, 2014
BERKELEY, Calif. – The Ohio State softball team started its spring break trip in California by dropping a hard-fought 2-1 decision to California at Levine-Fricke Field. With the loss, the Buckeyes are now 9-12 on the season while Cal improves to 10-10.
In the top of the second, the Buckeyes had their first scoring opportunity with leadoff batter Caitlin Conrad was hit by a pitch and Cammi Prantl worked a walk. Erika Leonard pop up to the pitcher and Melaina Saalfeld lined into a double play to end the inning.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the third, Evelyn Carrillo hit a ball hard up the middle but Cal’s Victoria Jones made a diving stop that saved at least one run.
Melanie Nichols came in to relieve DiDomenico in the bottom of the third and allowed two runs on two hits. With the bases loaded and two outs, Breana Kostreba looped a single over the head of shortstop Keelia Nester that gave Cal a 2-0 lead. Nichols got out of the inning when the next batter, Victoria Jones, grounded out to third base.
In the fourth, Nichols retired the leadoff batter but then walked Jordan Wallace and gave up a single to Alex Robben. Alleah Laxamana then walked and Nichols was relieved by Olivia O’Reilly. On her first pitch, O’Reilly got a line out to Saalfeld at second who then threw to first and doubled off Laxamana.
Ohio State got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI from Keelia Nester, who scored Saalfeld on a close play at the plate. Saalfeld started out the inning with a single and Kirk followed with one of her own. After a strikeout by Jayla Saibene, Taylor Watkins singled to load the bases, which led to Nester’s RBI. Cal was able to limit the damage thanks throwing out Kirk at home on a fielder’s choice and a ground out by Conrad.
In the sixth, Leonard singled up the middle to give the Buckeyes a base runner but Saalfeld struck out looking and Kirk flied out to left field.
The Buckeyes last chance in the seventh started with a walk from Saibene but Ohio State was unable to move her and Carrillo flied out to center to end the game.
In three innings of relief, O’Reilly did not allow a hit and struck out two. DiDomenico pitched two innings and struck out four.
Ohio State returns to action on Friday, March 14 when it takes on Cal Poly (4:30 EST) and Fresno State (9:00 EST) in Fresno, Calif., as part of the Bulldog Classic.