April 20, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Prior to honoring five members of its team on Senior Day, the No. 22 Ohio State softball team took on Purdue at Buckeye Field Saturday and earned a 6-5 victory in similar fashion to how the five seniors have turned the OSU program around, through hard work and determination. The Boilermakers (31-20, 2-8 Big Ten) had the Buckeyes (42-9, 11-3 Big Ten) right where they wanted them at the top of the sixth inning with a 5-1 lead only to head to the bottom of the stanza trailing for the first time in the game, 6-5. After OSU had brought the score to 5-3, a triple by Anna Smith (Sr., Walnut, Calif./Diamond Bar) plated the final three runs of the game to put the Buckeyes on top for good.
OSU came to bat first with Smith reaching on a walk and Wendy Allen (So., Moreno Valley, Calif./Moreno Valley) reaching on a fielder’s choice. PU mustered just one base runner after starting pitcher Kristi DeVries (So., Corona, Calif./Corona) plunked Andrea Hillsey with a pitch. The Buckeyes picked up a single from Kristine Himes (Jr., Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) after a Sarah West (Sr., Galloway, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) walk but could not get anything going on the base paths. The Boilermakers broke the deadlock with a run in the second for a 1-0 lead. Andrea Roush singled to left and was sacrificed over to second by Jesse Jones. Laura Martin singled in Roush for the lead with a hit to right center.
The Buckeyes could not respond and went down in order in the third to pave the way for a two run inning by PU. With two outs, Heidi Foster singled to left and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Jones did the damage with a triple to right center, just past the glove of a diving Rogeanna Hottinger (Jr., Newark, Ohio//Newark) for the Buckeyes. After the triple, Linda Kalafatis, OSU head coach, opted for the bullpen and brought in Katie Chain (Jr., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) who got the third out. The Buckeyes answered in the fourth with Stacy Roth (Sr., Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon) doubling to right center. Chrissy Fowler (Sr., Utica, Ohio/Wright State) drove her in three pitches later with a single to left for a 3-1 score. PU went down in order to close out the fourth. After OSU got a double from Allen in the fifth, Angi Roembke led off reaching on an errant throw by Chain to West at first. Hillsey moved the runner with a single to center before Heidi Foster’s double brought home Roembke. Hillsey also came in to score on Roush’s sacrifice bunt to make it a 5-1 game. That is when OSU got rolling with its rally. Fowler singled to center on the first pitch of the inning with Breana Pozzi (So., Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) singling to left on the very next pitch. West loaded the bases with a single to third before Himes singled in Fowler for a 5-2 deficit. With four hits in a row, PU pulled its starter, Meagan Dooley, and replaced her with Leighann Burke. She got Hottinger to ground into a fielder’s choice to get Pozzi at home but the bags were full of Buckeyes with one out. Jennifer Link (Jr., Yorba Linda, Calif./Sonora) followed with a single to center that brought in West and setting the table for Smith. The OSU senior ripped a shot off the right field wall to come safely into third and plate three runs including the gamewinner when Link touched home.
The Buckeyes were not out of the woods yet. In the sixth and with one out, Chain hit Angela Knight and surrendered a single to Katie Crabtree, the lead off hitter. Kalafatis again turned to her pen and called upon Allen to close the deal. Allen gave up a bunt single to load the bases before OSU got out of the jam. Allen delivered to the plate with Hillsey sending a slow dribbler to third where Himes picked up the ball, threw to Roth at home for one and Roth threw to West at first for the 5-2-3 double play and to end the threat. After an error, a hit batter and an intentional walk, OSU could not score in the seventh so it went to the home stretch to close the game. In the bottom half of the seventh, Allen got Foster to ground out to third, Roush looking at strike three and Jones swinging on the third strike to pick up her third save of the year.
Following the game, the coaches, players and fans honored Jenn Elwell (Sr., Dearborn Height, Mich./Divine Child), Fowler, Roth, Smith and West for their dedication to the success of the team.
Ohio State closes out its final home conference action of the year with a noon Sunday doubleheader with Illinois.