May 2, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Evelyn Carrillo, Keelia Nester and Caitlin Conrad all delivered key hits in a four-run sixth inning as the Ohio State softball team ran its winning streak to seven games with a 6-3 victory over Iowa on Friday evening at Pearl Field. With the win, the Buckeyes are 27-23 overall and 12-9 in the Big Ten.
In the circle, junior Olivia O’Reilly picked up her 14th win of the year by going five innings and giving up just two earned runs. Offensively, Conrad was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Leesa Gresham was 2-for-3 and Nester went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Overall, Ohio State pounded out 12 hits against the Hawkeyes’ Kayla Massey.
Iowa was able to push across the game’s first run in the bottom of the first thanks to an error, but the damage was minimal thanks to a run down at third base that resulted in the innings second out and a ground out back to O’Reilly. The Buckeye offense got going in the next inning as Kirk reached on a two-out single and Melissa Rennie followed with an RBI single to right field. The next batter, Keelia Nester, reached on an infield single and advanced to second on an error, but Conrad stuck out to end the rally.
The Buckeyes’ next scoring opportunity came in the top of the fourth. Leesa Gresham led off the inning with a single to left field and Jesse Machovina came in to pinch run for her. The next batter, Melaina Saalfeld, lined into a double play and Kirk lined to out to second to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, Iowa’s Massey led things off with a double down the left field line and her pinch runner eventually came around to score on a squeeze play that resulted in the batter, Erin Erickson, being tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double. The next batter, Michelle Zoeller, was thrown out attempting to reach on a bunt.
Conrad started a two-out rally in the top of the fifth when she reached on an infield single. Taylor Watkins then followed with a walk, but Prantl grounded out to second for the third out.
The Ohio State offense awoke for four runs on five hits in the top of the sixth highlighted by leadoff home run for Evelyn Carrillo and a two-out, two RBI double from Keelia Nester. Conrad also added a RBI single in the frame.
The Hawkeyes would not go quietly, however, and got back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the sixth. The second single, by Whitney Repole, scored a run, cutting the Ohio State lead to 5-3. Shelby Hursh then came on to relieve O’Reilly and after getting a strikeout and fly out, walked the next batter to give the Hawkeyes a two-out base runner. Hursh struck out Michelle Zoeller to end the threat, however, without any further damage.
In the Buckeye half of the seventh, Kirk delivered a key two-out hit to score Prantl, who had reached on a lead-off single. Hursh shut the door on Iowa in the seventh despite giving up a lead-off base runner. She got a fielder’s choice and two strikeouts to end the game.
Ohio State and Iowa play the second game of their three-game series in Iowa City tomorrow beginning at 3 p.m. EST (2 p.m. CST).