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Buckeyes hold off late rally by Bulldogs

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 21 Ohio State softball team improved to 21-10 on the season after downing Butler, 7-5, Friday afternoon at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes scored in each of the first four innings, building a five-run lead before the Bulldogs tied things up at 5-all in top of the sixth. OSU’s Alicia Herron hit a clutch sacrifice fly to bring in the gamewinning run and the Scarlet and Gray tacked on another run for the 7-5 final in the bottom of the sixth.

The Buckeyes drew first blood in the bottom on the first when senior Sam Marder ripped an RBI double to the left-center gap, scoring Dee Dee Hillman all the way from first for the early 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, freshman Megan Coletta blasted her first collegiate home run with a solo shot over the left-center wall, giving the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead. Then, after another Hillman walk, Whitney Cooper extended the lead to 3-0 with her RBI double to right, scoring Hillman from first once again.

The Buckeyes struck again in the third when Leah Ledford lifted a bloop single to right field, scoring Rebecca Schultz from second for a 4-0 lead. Schultz reached on a single to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Butler pitcher Jennifer Chasteen.

Alicia Herron extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning when she ripped a two-out, RBI double off the wall in center field, scoring Hillman for a third time who reached on a line drive double to left two batter prior.

Butler threatened in the top of the fifth, but senior pitcher Megan Miller got out of a jam, first with a nice running catch along the left-field line by the shortstop Herron with two runners on for the second out. Then after Butler loaded the bases, Miller got Annie Dolan to fly out to center to end the inning and preserve the 5-0 lead.

The game turned completely around in the sixth when Butler scored five to tie the game.  With the Buckeyes leading 5-1, Butler’s Meaghan Sullivan hit a two-out grand slam off OSU relief pitcher Melanie Nichols to tie the score and give the Bulldogs new life.

But the Buckeyes answered the call right away in the bottom of the sixth when Herron’s sacrifice fly to right scored Goodchild from third to give Ohio State the lead right back, 6-5. The Buckeyes would add an insurance run when Butler catcher Mallory Winters airmailed a throw to second on a steal attempt, easily allowing Vanessa Spears to score who reached earlier on a single to left.

Ohio State goes on the road for a Big Ten doubleheader vs. Purdue Wednesday in West Lafayette, Ind.