April 30, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a two hour rain delay, the Ohio State softball team fell behind 5-1 at Wisconsin Sunday, but the Buckeyes scored two runs in the fourth, five in the fifth and two more in the seventh for a 10-6 win at Goodman Softball Complex in Madison, Wis. In what was originally scheduled as a doubleheader, the teams played just one game Sunday because of the weather conditions, with Ohio State winning for the first time in its last six games in Madison.
With the win, Ohio State (35-18, 11-5 Big Ten) moves back into sole possession of third place in the Big Ten, while Wisconsin (21-21, 5-10 Big Ten) remains on the outside looking in at the Big Ten tournament, which begins May 11.
“We were up against some adverse conditions, because of both the weather and from some big hits early by Wisconsin,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “I give our kids credit for staying grounded and battling and coming back for a win we really needed.”
The Buckeyes pounded out 14 hits, their most in a Big Ten games this season, to keep their status as the league’s best offense with a .286 average overall and a .318 average in conference games. Ohio State ends the month with a 19-5 record in April, a month in which it hit .333 as a team compared to .216 in March.
Coming off a rainout at Iowa Saturday, Kalafatis had a fresh pitching staff at her disposal and would need it to get past the Badgers. Junior Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) started and pitched into the second inning, freshman Courtney Pruner (Akron, Ohio/Ellet) then took over and pitched into the fourth and freshman Kim Reeder (Salinas, Calif./Notre Dame H.S.) worked a total of 4.0 innings, allowing just one run, to earn the win and improve to 15-8. At the plate, Reeder collected her first collegiate hit and RBI and her 15 wins are just one shy of the OSU record for wins by a freshman, held by OSU assistant coach Kristi DeVries, who had 16 2001.
In the second inning, Wisconsin’s Alexis Garcia hit a two-run homer off Juarez, then Athena Vasquez hit a three-run homer off Pruner to put the Badgers up 5-1. Wisconsin would have just four hits the rest of the way, however, as Ohio State mounted its comeback effort.
Against Iowa Friday, the Nos. 4 through 9 spots in the OSU order went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, but Sunday the same group accounted for nine RBI, all of which helped the Buckeyes battle back.
Junior Megan Schwab (Glendale, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain) gave Ohio State a 1-0 lead when she hit an RBI single in the first inning to score junior Nycole Koyano (Walnut, Calif./Walnut), who had led off the game with a double. In the fourth inning, RBI singles came from junior Christina Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Dobson) and senior Stacy Hibma (Buena Park, Calif./Valley Christian). Then in their five-run fifth inning, the Buckeyes got RBI from senior Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio/DeSales), Juarez and Douglas and scored two more runs on opportunistic base running, first on a Badger throw and the other on a wild pitch.
Leading 8-6 going into the seventh inning, OSU tacked on two more runs on a RBI ground-out by Juarez and a RBI single by Reeder, the first of her career.
Four Buckeyes had two hits each, including Koyano, sophomore Brittany Vanderink (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood), senior Billie Carder (Celina, Ohio/Celina) and Baker, while Juarez and Douglas both drove in two runs. For Juarez, it was her eighth multiple-RBI game of the season, tying her with Pruner for the team lead.
Ohio State hosts Oakland in a non-conference doubleheader at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Buckeye Field in OSU’s final home games of the season.
### GO BUCKS! ###