Feb. 22, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ga.-Beth McAbier (Jr., Carrollton, Ohio) hit a three-run homer in the top of the second and Kristi DeVries (Jr., Corona, Calif.) pitched six solid innings as the No. 21 Ohio State softball team (3-3) topped No. 8 DePaul Saturday, 4-3, in game one at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. The Buckeyes were able to hold off a late charge by the Blue Demons who scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut Ohio State’s lead to 4-3. The Buckeyes closed out the win in the bottom of the seventh when Jennifer Link (Sr., Yorba Linda, Calif.) threw out DePaul’s Laura Visin who was caught attempting to steal third. The Buckeyes also made several key defensive plays throughout the game to help preserve the win.
DeVries (3-1) pitched six innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out four. Freshman Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio) pitched the seventh inning, striking out two batters, to earn her second save of the year.
The Blue Demons drew first blood in the bottom of the first when Sarah Martz hit a solo homer to left field to give DePaul the early 1-0 advantage.
The Buckeyes wasted no time answering in the top half of the second on McAbier’s three-run shot to left. After DeVries walked to start the inning, Rogeanna Hottinger (Sr., Newark, Ohio) reach on a fielder’s choice. Pinch runner Nicole Lancaster advanced to second on the play courtesy of a DePaul throwing error. Jennifer Johnson (So., La Mirada, Calif.) next reached base on a fielder’s choice as Lancaster was forced out at third, leaving runners at first and second with one out. McAbier then took Lindsay Chouinard’s 2-2 pitch over the left field fence to give Ohio State a 3-1 lead. The home run was McAbier’s first of 2003 and the fourth of her career. “I was looking for an inside pitch and I told myself that if she threw me one that I was going to turn on one and I did and hit it out,” McAbier said. “It’s exciting to hit a home run off an All-American pitcher.
Karisa Evans (So., Franklin, Ohio) helped Ohio State score what turned out to be the game-winning run in the top of the third as she scored from third on a DeVries single to right field. Evans led off the inning with a double to left center and advanced to third when Kristine Himes grounded out to first. DeVries next knocked in Evans to give OSU a 4-1 lead.
DePaul would cut into Ohio State’s lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two. With the tying run at second base and two outs, DePaul’s Saskia Roberson drove a fly ball deep to center field. A diving catch by Hottinger in center field ended the inning and the DePaul scoring threat.