TULSA, Okla. – After dropping a 7-4 heartbreaker against North Dakota in game one, the Ohio State softball team rebounded with an 8-0 shutout vs. Iowa State in game two Friday afternoon at the Holiday Inn Tulsa-City Center Festival at the Hardesty Complex in Tulsa, Okla. Freshman pitcher Audrey Plant led the Buckeyes (5-12, 0-0 Big Ten) to victory in game two with a one-hit shutout against the Cyclones to claim her first-career win in the Scarlet and Gray.
“It was good to see the team bounce back after a tough loss,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “Audrey Plant was outstanding for us. We executed perfectly in the game. The challenge for our team is to come out and play with that same energy for the rest of the season. This game vs. Iowa State was a starting point for our season.”
Offensively in the first day of competition in Tulsa, the Scarlet and Gray were led by senior Brittany Goodchild, who went 3-for-6 at the plate with a double, 2 RBI and two stolen bases and junior co-captain Alicia Herron, who was 2-for-5 with a double, 2 RBI and two runs. In total, eight different Buckeyes tallied hits in the opening doubleheader of the tournament.
In game two against the Cyclones, Ohio State scored two runs in the third and six runs in the fifth to claim its first run-rule win of 2011.
Plant had her best performance of her young career to improve to 1-1 on the season. In five innings of work, the native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, allowed just one hit with five strikeouts. The only hit she allowed came in the bottom of the second inning when ISU shortstop Dayln Varela singled to left field. Plant was dominant throughout the game as only two ISU players reached second base, while retiring the last nine batters she faced.
Ohio State struck first in the top of the third inning, capitalizing on two throwing errors by the Cyclones.
After Melissa Rennie walked, lead-off hitter senior co-captain Dee Dee Hillman placed a beautiful bunt down the first-base line off pitcher Breeanna Holliday. Iowa State first baseman Varela fielded the ball and came up firing to third base, however, no one was covering the bag. As the ball rolled down the left-field line, Rennie scored the first run and Hillman hustled all the way to third on the play. After Herron walked, Hillman scored on a throwing error by the ISU catcher to make it 2-0.
The Buckeye offense opened up the game in the top of the fifth as the Scarlet and Gray plated five runs, while batting through the order. Hillman started the rally with a one-out single and scored on an RBI double by Herron to left center to make it 3-0.
With the bases full of Buckeyes after two hit-by-pitches, sophomore Megan Coletta singled to left field , scoring Herron to make it 4-0. The following batter, Goodchild drove a pitch to left center field for a two-RBI double as freshman Leesa Gresham and sophomore Alyson Mott scored runs to extend the lead to 6-0. Freshman second baseman Melaina Saalfeld came up next and hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Coletta to make it 7-0. With runners on first and third after Rennie drew another walk, Goodchild stole home, sliding in under the tag at home plate to give the Buckeyes the 8-0 final. In all, Ohio State recorded five hits in the inning with seven Buckeyes reaching base safely.
Plant sent down the ISU batters in order in the bottom of the fifth to claim her first-career complete game. Ohio State outhit Iowa State, 7-1.
In game one, the Buckeyes held a 4-3 lead headed into the top of the seventh, but the Fighting Sioux rallied with four unanswered runs in the final inning to claim the 7-4 come-from-behind victory.
In the top of the inning, North Dakota loaded the bases with back-to-back bunt singles off freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly. Ohio State then went to Plant in the circle. The next batter, North Dakota tied the game when Amber Roth scored on a wild pitch. With runners on second and third, Caralyn Chewning then hit a clutch three-run home run – her second long ball of the day – just over the left field wall off Plant to give the Fighting Sioux the late-inning lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ohio State had two runners on, but the Fighting Sioux with relief pitcher Michelle Frank in the circle were able to wrap up the win to improve to 3-7, while the Buckeyes fall to 4-12.
Kelly receives the loss and is now 2-3 overall after pitching 6.1 innings with nine hits, six runs and six strikeouts.
In the top of the third, with one out and a runner on third, Evelyn Carrillo fielded a slow roller at first and fired the ball to the plate to freshman catcher Rennie to get UND runner Amber Roth in a rundown and deny the Fighting Sioux the first run of the game. However, the next batter, Kayelee Schoeny, singled up the middle off Kelly, scoring Cami Bennett from second to give UND the first lead of the game.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Buckeyes answered with a run of their own. With runners on the corners, designated player Gresham tied the game, 1-1, with a one-out RBI single to left field scoring Herron, who reached third base after a great hustle play from first following a UND wild pitch.
After Kelly put down three-consecutive UND batters, the Buckeyes claimed their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Saalfeld led off the inning with a single after going the other way with a pitch to right field. However, after reaching third base she was caught stealing home for the second out. But the Buckeyes then rebounded with three two-out singles. Sophomore Brittany Mills plated the second OSU run following an RBI single down the left field line by Herron. The next batter, Carrillo, stepped up to the plate and connected on a single to left center to score Hillman to make it 3-1.
North Dakota cut its deficit to 3-2 in the top of the fifth with a two-out RBI double by lead-off hitter Bennett, but Kelly got out of the inning the following batter with a strikeout – her fifth of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, Coletta singled up the middle and reached second base on a heads-up play following an error by the shortstop, who mishandled the incoming throw from center field. The native of Fullerton, Calif., then scored on a wild pitch from third with two outs to make it 4-2.
But the Fighting Sioux wouldn’t go away. The starting UND pitcher, Chewning, sent a high fly ball over the left center field wall to open the sixth and shorten the Buckeye lead to 4-3. The home run didn’t rattle Kelly, however, as she ended the North Dakota momentum when Coletta made a play on a pop-up in foul territory down the third base line.
North Dakota claimed a 10-8 advantage on hits. Ohio State left 11 runners on base, while North Dakota stranded four runners.
Ohio State continues play at the Tulsa tournament at 4:45 p.m. (CT) Saturday as the squad faces Drake at the Hardesty Complex.