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Marder opens scoring for OSU in the fifth

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 19 Ohio State softball team edged Iowa, 4-3, Saturday afternoon in Iowa City to improve to 11-2 in the Big Ten, maintaining second place in the league race, and 32-12 overall. The Hawkeyes fall to 8-4 in conference action and 23-18 overall.

Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols went the distance for the Scarlet and Gray, winning her 19th game this season while striking out four in seven innings.  

“We hit into four double plays so that cut some rallies short but we had to be really tough today,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “Melanie didn’t have her best stuff today but she hung in there and found a way to win and that is what is important.”

The Buckeyes trailed the Hawkeyes until the fifth inning when Ohio State recorded three runs to take a 3-2 lead. With the bases loaded, senior catcher Sam Marder hit a two-RBI single and advanced to second on a throwing error, scoring juniors Dee Dee Hillman and Brittany Goodchild. Iowa then replaced starting pitcher Amanda Zust with Chelsea Lyon. Facing her first batter of the day, Lyon was charged with an illegal pitch, walking in senior Whitney Cooper from third to put the Buckeyes on top.

In the sixth, both teams added a run to the board. Goodchild hit an RBI single to left field in the top of the stanza, scoring freshman Megan Coletta who got on base with a single up the middle. The Hawkeyes then responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning to again pull within one.

But that would be all the scoring in the game as neither team tallied in the seventh. In all, Ohio State posted eight hits with Hillman and Coletta both going 2-for-3 with a run scored each while Marder was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Nichols limited Iowa to just one earned run while the Hawkeyes put up seven hits.

“We did a good job defending their short game and we hit a lot of hard balls but we hit right at them,” Kalafatis said. “Going into tomorrow, we can’t continue to hit balls right at them.”

Ohio State and Iowa meet for game two of the Big Ten series at 2 p.m. ET at Pearl Field in Iowa City, Iowa. The game will be aired live on BigTenNetwork.com with standard rates applying.