May 20, 2004
The No. 6-seed Ohio State softball team (35-24) beat No. 7-seed Bethune-Cookman (44-27), 2-0, in 10 innings Thursday night in Region No. 4 of the 2004 NCAA Softball Tournament at Tallahassee, Fla. At the top of the 10th, Chelsea Baker and Natalie Hales scored off an RBI sacrifice by Karisa Evans and an RBI single by Nycole Koyano, respectively. The victory kept the Buckeyes, who lost to No. 3-seed South Florida earlier in the day, alive in the double-elimination postseason event.
Ohio State pitcher Jamee Juarez improved to 13-10 on the season and tallied five strikeouts. Bethune-Cookman’s Viveca Patterson dropped to 9-7 for the year. The Buckeyes, who tallied five hits compared to Bethune-Cookman’s eight hits, forced the Wildcats to leave 12 runners on base.
The Buckeye defense left two Bethune-Cookman runners on base at the bottom of the first and third innings. In the first, Rhoenita Yancey was walked and Amber Jackson singled to left field, but a sacrifice bunt and a ground out ended the inning. With one out in the third inning, Shaterra Davis singled over Ohio State shortstop Jennifer Johnson’s head and moved to second off a sacrifice bunt by Yancey. A fielder’s choice put Jackson on first and Davis on third, but Buckeye pitcher Juarez caught the final Wildcat batter looking to end the third unscathed on the scoreboard.
Ohio State threatened to score in the top of the fifth, but Bethune-Cookman contained the Buckeyes. With one out, Kristi DeVries doubled to left field and centerfielder Megan Rowlands was brought in to pinch run for her at second. Rowlands advanced to second off a wild pitch. Breana Pozzi was walked and she then stole second. The Wildcat defense fielded two consecutive outs to end the inning with two Buckeyes runners on base and the score still knotted at 0-0.
Bethune-Cookman left two more batters on in the bottom of the fifth. Chloe Thomas and Yancey singled to shortstop and left field, respectively, but the Ohio State defense ended the fifth with both runners on base.
In the top of the seventh and with one out, Billie Jo Carder nailed a single right into the starting Bethune-Cookman pitcher Katie Finn and advanced to second on the next play when DeVries reached first on an error by Finn. Both OSU players were left on base.
Bethune-Cookman’s Jamie Tanksley singled to right field to open the bottom of the seventh inning. A sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Megan McGuire put Tanksley on second. A second Wildcat pinch hitter Tiala Tagaloa was intentionally walked. Thomas reentered the game to run at first for Tagaloa. The Buckeye defense turned a double play to end the inning with no scores for either team after regulation.
In the top of the ninth, DeVries singled to the pitcher and Rowlands was brought in to pinch run for her at first base. Rowlands stole second and Pozzi was walked. Patterson relieved Wildcat pitcher Finn on the mound. Rowlands was caught trying to steal third to end the top of the ninth.
Bethune-Cookman’s Tiffany Bowser singled up the middle to open the bottom of the ninth and moved to second as Tanksley reached first on a sacrifice fielder’s choice. A sacrifice bunt by McGuire put Bowser and McGuire on third and second, respectively. Wildcat Jaimie Scott was intentionally walked to load the bases. With a full count for Bethune-Cookman batter Yancey, Ohio State’s third baseman Pozzi got the third out at third base to escape the ninth.
In the top of the 10th, Baker pinch hit for Beth McAbier and was hit by pitch. Hales reached first on a fielder’s choice sacrifice bunt, which moved Baker to second. Baker then rounded to third base on a throwing error by Bethune-Cookman’s third baseman Davis. Hales stole second before Baker scored when Evans grounded out to second base. Evans’ sacrifice RBI put Hales on third. Koyano’s bunt single sent Hales home and gave the Buckeyes a 2-0 advantage and the regional win.
Ohio State will face the loser of the No. 1 Florida State (41-18) vs. No. 5 California State-Northridge (34-17) game at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Seminole Softball Complex in Tallahassee, Fla.