April 7, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a two hour rain delay, Illinois jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Ohio State softball team came back to defeat the Illini, 8-7, Friday night at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes got a bases-loaded double by freshman Courtney Pruner in the fourth inning for the go-ahead runs to improve to 21-12 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten, while Illinois falls to 14-21 and 1-4 in the Big Ten.
Ohio State committed three errors in the first inning, leading to four of the Illini’s five runs being unearned. With the comeback, however, OSU wins its Big Ten home opener and improves to 6-0 at Buckeye Field this season.
“I’m really proud of our team to come back from that first inning,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “It was quite a challenge, but Billie Carder made some great plays for us tonight (at shortstop), Courtney Pruner had a huge double and (pitcher) Kim Reeder showed a lot of guts to keep it together at the beginning and then come back in at the end in a tough situation.”
The fourth inning double by Pruner (Akron, Ohio/Ellet) gave her a career-high three RBI in the game.
Freshman pitcher Kim Reeder (Salinas, Calif./Notre Dame H.S.), coming off back-to-back three hit shutouts, improved to 11-6 on the season and to 7-1 in her last eight decisions. She pitched through the fifth inning before being relieved by Pruner, who pitched into the seventh before Reeder came back into to get the final two outs of the game. She finished with five strikeouts.
In the second inning, OSU junior Lauren Daykin (Melbourne, Australia/Manatee C.C., Fla.) hit a two-RBI triple and senior Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio/DeSales) added an RBI single to pull the Buckeyes within two runs at 5-3. Junior Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) hit an RBI double in the third inning to close the gap to one run, but the Illini went back up by two with a run in the top of the fourth.
With the bases loaded in the fourth inning, junior Megan Schwab (Glendale, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain) hit an RBI infield single to shortstop to bring Pruner to the plate for her bases clearing double.
OSU senior Billie Carder (Celina, Ohio/Celina) went 2-for-4 to extend her hitting streak to a career-best six games.
Illinois entered the weekend with one of the Big Ten’s best offenses with a .285 team batting average (third), 182 runs (first) and 33 home runs (first) but also owned the league’s No. 11 pitching staff (5.74 ERA). Illini sophomore pitcher Claire DeVreese, who has pitched in 34 of the Illini’s 35 games this season, suffered the loss to fall to 10-11.
Ohio State improves to 18-0 when leading after four innings this season and 17-3 when scoring three or more runs.
Ohio State and Illinois will meet again at noon Saturday.
### GO BUCKS! ###