COLUMBUS, Ohio – In its opening game at the 2011 Cathedral City Classic, the Ohio State softball team fell, 10-1, against No. 21 Texas A&M in Cathedral City, Calif. The Aggies (11-4) scored four runs in the third and five runs in the fourth to claim the victory over the Buckeyes (4-7, 0-0 Big Ten) in five innings of play.
“We’re continuing to give our opponents too many base runners and too many opportunities,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “As we get better on the mound, we’ll get better as a team.”
Ohio State and Texas A&M played at replica Yankee Stadium at the Big League Dreams Sports Park with a gorgeous backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains, which towers over the city of Palm Springs.
Dee Dee Hillman began the morning with a lead-off triple to right center field – her second three-bagger of the season. However, the Buckeyes could not capitalize on the opportunity as Aggies’ pitcher Lindsey Sisk struck out two OSU batters to end the threat.
Texas A&M struck first in the bottom of the second with a lead-off home run by third baseman Amber Garza to right center field to take an early 1-0 lead.
Alicia Herron hit a deep fly ball to right center field in the top of the third, but the winds knocked it down with the Aggie center fielder making the play in front of the wall for the third out.
Texas A&M extended its lead in the bottom of the third after loading the bases with two outs. Melissa Dumezich stepped up to the plate for the Aggies and hit a grand slam over the left field to make it 5-0.
OSU center fielder Vanessa Spears ended the inning with one of the best defensive plays of the early part of the tournament. Nicole Morgan, the Texas A&M designated player, connected on a ball that went to deep left center. But, Spears was there to make a running catch, while crashing through the outfield wall and still securing on to the ball to end the inning.
Down by five, Ohio State answered to begin the top half of the fourth after freshman Evelyn Carrillo lead off the inning with a solo shot over the right field wall to cut the deficit to 5-1.
In the top of the fifth, the Aggies continued their momentum from the previous inning with five final runs. Senior Brittany Goodchild relieved freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly in the bottom of the fourth as the Aggies had runners on first and second with nobody out. Rhi Kliesing placed a single in front of right fielder Brittany Mills, scoring two runners to make it 7-1 in favor of the Aggies. Texas A&M plated another following a sacrifice fly to left field by Meagan May. The next two Aggie batters walked to load the bases before Dumezich was hit by a pitch to claim her fifth RBI of the game for the 9-1 lead.
Senior pitcher Karisa Medrano came into the game for Goodchild, allowing a sacrifice fly to Nichole Morgan, but ended the Aggie momentum on a strikeout.
Sisk (5-2) had a solid performance against the Buckeyes allowing just four hits with one earned run and four strike outs to claim the complete game win. Kelly receives the lost for Ohio State and falls to 2-2 on the year, allowing seven runs on five hits. Texas A&M had a 6-4 advantage on hits against the Scarlet and Gray.
Ohio State is back in action tomorrow at the elite national tournament, facing No. 25 BYU at 10 a.m. (PT) and UC Santa Barbara at 12:30 p.m. (PT) at the Big League Dreams Sports Park.