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Sophomore Alicia Herron posts a 5-for-6 performance to lead Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 22 Ohio State softball team swept Wisconsin in its Big Ten opener, defeating the Badgers, 6-4 in game one and 12-4 (5) in game two, in front of a crowd of 383 Saturday afternoon at Buckeye Field.

Ohio State improves to 18-10 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten while Wisconsin falls to 7-17 overall.  

GAME ONE
Paced by a 2-for-3, three RBI performance by shortstop Alicia Herron, the Buckeyes took a 6-4 victory over Wisconsin in game one of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Buckeye Field.

Buckeye starting pitcher Melanie Nichols moved to 8-1 on the season, pitching a complete game, giving up one earned run while striking out six. With her strong performance, Nichols has lowered her ERA to a team-best 1.87 in 78.2 innings.

“Credit Wisconsin for coming here, playing hard and scoring some early runs in both games,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “We hit the ball hard ourselves. I do not know that we played our best games today but we got the job done to open our home schedule.”

The Badgers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Karla Powell and a two-out RBI double by Maggie Strange. Ohio State answered right back with one in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead to 2-1 on a sacrifice fly as freshman Megan Coletta drove in senior Whitney Cooper but Wisconsin tacked on another on three hits in the top of the third to extend the lead to 3-1.

Then, with one swing of the bat, Herron dropped a two-out, two-run home run to left to tie the game at three in the bottom of the third. The homer was Herron’s fourth of the season while her 5-for-6 combined appearance vs. the Badgers upped her team-leading batting average to .453.

The Buckeyes put up three two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead on an RBI double by Herron and a two-run home run to center by Cooper, her fifth homer of the season. Wisconsin put up one in the top of the sixth but was not able to overcome Ohio State.

GAME TWO
Ohio State pounded out 13 hits to defeat Wisconsin, 12-4, in five innings in game two of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Buckeye Field.

Sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored while senior tri-captains Sam Marder, Courtney Pruner and Whitney Cooper each went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. For Marder, the two RBI give her yet another Ohio State batting record as she takes over sole possession of the No. 1 spot on the all-time career RBI list with 168. The Calabasas, Calif., native also owns the Buckeye all-time career home run (54) and walks (194) records.

Wisconsin got out of the gate early again in game two, scoring three runs on five hits in the first inning but the Buckeyes bounced right back with eight runs on six hits in the bottom of the frame, capped off by a two-out, two-run double by Marder.

Ohio State then tacked on one more in the third to make it 9-3 on an RBI single by Herron driving in junior Dee Dee Hillman. The Buckeyes then added a pair in the fifth on two singles and a double before an illegal pitch scored Hillman to end the game in the fifth.

Megan Miller went the distance for Ohio State, pitching all five innings and fanning out four batters. The senior is now 7-2 on the season.