COLUMBUS, Ohio –The Ohio State softball team lost two games at the South Alabama Invitational Friday in the squad’s second tournament of 2011 in Mobile, Ala. The Buckeyes (2-5, 0-0 Big Ten) were defeated, 11-7, against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in game one and lost, 8-4, against tournament host South Alabama in game two at Jaguar Field.
In game one, the Buckeyes were led at the plate by sophomore third baseman Megan Coletta, senior co-captain Dee Dee Hillman and junior co-captain Alicia Herron with each claiming two hits against Chattanooga. Coletta had a team-high three RBI, while Hillman and Herron each posted a pair of RBI.
Ohio State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first after Coletta hit a double to left center off the first pitch she faced against Chattanooga pitcher Michelle Fuzzard. Hillman and junior outfielder Vanessa Spears both scored on the play.
However, the Lady Mocs then began an 11-run rally against the Scarlet and Gray, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, five runs in the second and four runs in the fourth.
In the circle making her first start of the 2011 campaign was sophomore pitcher Melanie Nichols. In the bottom of the first with two outs, Fuzzard began the offensive momentum for Chattanooga with a double to right center followed by a single by Tiffany Baker to left center. The next batter, Kasey Tydingco, singled up the middle, which scored Fuzzard. The Lady Mocs then tied the score, 2-2, when Della Harrison reached on a fielding error allowing Baker to score safely from third.
Hits were hard to come by in the next three innings for the Buckeyes as Fuzzard limited the team to one single during the stretch – retiring nine of 10 OSU batters.
In the bottom of the second, Chattanooga claimed its first lead of the afternoon and extended the score, 7-2, after Tydingco hit a grand slam with one out off Nichols, causing the Buckeyes to make an early pitching change vs. the Lady Mocs. Freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly came into the game and sat down the next two batters to end the big inning for Chattanooga. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Lady Mocs continued to put the pressure on the Buckeyes at the plate with four runs on three hits. Lauren Flores singled down the right field line, which scored two runners.
Down 11-2, the Buckeyes would not give in as the squad rebounded with four runs in the top half of the fifth inning led by their two captains. Sophomore second baseman Julia Pecina began the fifth with a single down the left field line followed by senior outfielder Brittany Goodchild, who doubled to center field. With runners on second and third and no outs, Hillman hit a two-RBI triple along the right field line – her first triple of 2011.
Herron, a 2010 First-Team All-Big Ten honoree, then stepped up to the plate and slugged a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for her first home run of the season to make the score, 11-6, after five.
The Scarlet and Gray were able to post one final run in the top half of the seventh inning following an RBI single by Coletta, but the Buckeyes ran out of outs and the Lady Mocs claimed the 11-7 victory.
Nichols falls to 0-1 on the season, allowing six earned runs in 1.1 innings of work.
In game two, senior Karisa Medrano started vs. the Jaguars. After a solid first inning, control became an issue in the second for the Buckeye pitcher. Following an RBI single by Meghan Collins, Medrano hit two USA batters and allowed a walk to give South Alabama an early 3-0 lead.
But the Buckeyes came right back in the top of the third. Ohio State’s road to recovery began after Hillman was hit by a pitch and sophomore Brittany Mills drew a walk. The opportunity was then set for Herron at the plate. The native of Cypress, Calif., connected on a pitch that soared over the outfield wall to tie the game, 3-3.
South Alabama claimed its second lead of the night to make it 5-3, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single by Brittany Fowler and RBI triple by Britany Campbell.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Jaguars had a chance to extend their lead with the bases loaded, but Kelly came into the game and got the Buckeyes out of the inning with a fly out to Spears in center field.
In the following inning, South Alabama added three runs off Goodchild, who made her first appearance in the circle in 2011.
Offensively, the Buckeyes only managed four more hits, including an RBI double by Herron, and just five base runners after the third inning as South Alabama pitcher Hannah Campbell threw a complete game, striking out five OSU batters.
Medrano falls to 1-3 overall on the season, allowing five earned runs in 4.2 innings with three strikeouts and seven walks.
Up next, Ohio State will face Southeast Louisiana at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday followed by a game that evening vs. Tennessee-Martin at 7 p.m. ET at Jaguar Field.