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Feb. 22, 2003

Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ga.-Katie Chain (Sr., North Canton, Ohio) mowed down 16 Liberty batters over six innings and Kristine Himes (Sr., Bolivar, Ohio) hit a two-run home run as the No. 21 Ohio State softball team (4-3) won its third-consecutive game, defeating the Liberty Flames (1-2), 3-1, Saturday in Ohio State’s second game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.

Chain retired 18 of the 22 batters she faced including the final 13 in a row. At one point, Chain struck out eight-consecutive batters between the second and fifth innings. She allowed no walks and just one hit, which was the first batter of the game, Leanne Long, who scored on consecutive fielder’s choice plays by Liberty’s Cassie Campbell and Amanda Maska to give Liberty a 1-0 lead.

It was all Chain and the Buckeyes from that point on.

“I felt good warming up and got into a rhythm when I got on the dirt,” Chain said. “My rise ball was really taking off. It really helped that Liberty was aggressive at the plate and swinging at a lot of pitches.”

The Buckeyes answered the call quickly. In the bottom half of the first, after a Karisa Evans (So., Franklin, Ohio) walk, Himes blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence to give Ohio State a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.

“Our two home runs by McAbier and Himes were big for us today,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “I thought our pitchers performed excellent and we now need to keep the momentum going heading into Sunday.”

Ohio State added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth. Stacy Hibma (Fr., Buena Park, Calif.) led off the inning with a double to right center. Pinch running for Hibma, Nicole Lancaster (Fr., Magnolia, Ohio) then scored from second on a double down the left field line by freshman Billie Jo Carder (Celina, Ohio).

Himes and Carder led the Buckeyes offensively with two hits apiece. Freshman Andrea Tribuzi (Plano, Texas) pitched the seventh inning to earn her first save of the season.

The Buckeyes are now 2-0 in pool play at this year’s Leadoff Classic. They will face No. 14 Arizona State at 11 a.m. Sunday and Villanova at 3 p.m. Heavy rain in the Columbus, Ga. area has forced tournament officials to cancel all bracket play for the tournament.