HOUSTON, Texas – While the rain had left the Houston area, a chill still hung over Cougar Softball Stadium Friday night as the No. 14/16 Ohio State softball team dropped a 1-0 decision to Houston in its first of five games at the Marriott Houston Hobby Classic.
The Buckeyes did put runners in scoring position during the top of the fifth but were unable to score a tying run.
“This is a tough loss,” Linda Kalafatis, 14th-year Ohio State head coach, said. “We could not get our offense going and when we put runners in scoring position, we already had two outs and couldn’t come through.
“But I loved the energy the girls brought to the field and they played tough defensively. It is early in the season so we need to keep getting better and better each game.”
In the first, senior catcher Sam Marder sent a beamer through the gap between second and third to get on base, however with two outs already, the Buckeyes were unable to build off the hit. On the mound, redshirt junior Lindsay Bodeker went to work, ending the bottom of the first by striking out Houston’s Brooke Lathan swinging with a wicked change-up. In 4.1 innings pitcher, Bodeker would fan six batters.
Finding her groove in second inning, Bodeker struck out two Cougars for the first and third outs. Houston’s Holly Anderson singled to get on base but was caught stealing with Whitney Cooper on the tag and Marder on the throw.
The only run of the game was scored in the top of the third by junior Katy Beth Sherman. With one out on the board, Sherman singled to right field and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice as freshman Megan Coletta, who started her first game for the Buckeyes at third base, paired with sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron to force out Bailey Watts at third. Melissa Gregson singled to center at the third spot in the lineup where junior Dee Dee Hillman grabbed the ball made and a perfect throw to Marder on the third-base line, however obstruction was called and a racing Sherman was awarded the run. With runners on second and third, Bodeker came back with a strikeout and Coletta picked up a grounder and connected with senior Rebecca Schultz at first to end the inning.
Moving into the top of the fifth, Ohio State found itself in scoring position with two outs on the board. Junior right fielder Brittany Goodchild singled and then stole second as Hillman worked the count. On a wild pitch by Houston freshman pitcher Watts, Goodchild advanced to third while Hillman was walked. With runners on the corners and two outs, sophomore left fielder Vanessa Spears stepped to the plate but was unable to knock Goodchild in for the tying run.
Houston again had runners on second and third during the bottom of the fifth when freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols was called in and preceded to fan the first two batters she faced in her collegiate career. Nichols would finish out the game for Ohio State, pitching 1.2 innings and recording four strikes.
Ohio State and Houston are now tied 1-1 in the all-time series history.
The Buckeyes switch from the night game to the morning game, facing Sam Houston State at 9 a.m. Saturday morning before playing No. 17/15 Baylor at 11 a.m. On Sunday, the squad plays No. 22/21 Louisville at 9 a.m. and Kansas at 11 a.m. to conclude the classic.