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March 7, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Despite a career-high two hits from Keelia Nester, the Ohio State softball team opened up the Red & Black Classic with a 7-3 loss to Ohio on Friday afternoon at Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 6-10 on the season.

The Bobcats got on the scoreboard in the top of the first thanks to a two-out, two-run home run by Alexandria Basquez. Starting pitcher Melanie Nichols retired the first two batters via strikeout and then walked Casie Hutchinson. Following the Basquez home run, Adrienne Gebele singled up the middle. The inning ended when Nichols struck out Madison Claytor.

In the second, Ohio once again capitalized with the long ball, this time thanks to a two-run home run by Alyssa Wolfe. She drove home Dakota Pyles, who doubled down the left field line.

The Ohio State bats woke up in the third inning, as the Buckeyes were able to score three runs on four hits. Nester started it out with a single up the middle, and she as sacrificed over to second base by Melaina Saalfeld. Taylor Watkins walked and Cammi Prantl delivered the biggest blow of the inning, a three-run home run to right field, scoring Watkins and Nester. Evelyn Carrillo followed with a single, but the inning ended on a strike out a fly out.

Ohio got a run back in the fourth following a solo home run by Madison Claytor to make the score 5-3. The Bobcats tacked on another run to make it 6-3 when pinch runner Taylor Saxton scored on a throwing error by the catcher. In the fifth, Basquez notched her second home run of the game, this one a solo shot, to give OU a 7-3 lead.

A walk by Watkins led off the bottom of the fifth, but the Buckeyes were not able to advance her as Prantl and Carrillo flew out and Leonard struck out. Olivia O’Reilly came in to relieve Shelby Hursh in the sixth inning and got the Buckeyes out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Amanda Dalton and getting Hutchinson to line out to shortstop.

Nester got the bottom of the seventh started with a leadoff double to left field. She advanced to third on a fly out by Saalfeld, but a strikeout by Watkins and a groundout by Prantl ended the game.

Nichols took the loss for Ohio State, going two innings and giving up four hits and four earned runs. Hursh tossed three innings in relief, surrendering three hits and two earned runs. O’Reilly scattered two hits and did not allow a run in two innings. At the plate, Nester was the only Buckeye with multiple hits.

Ohio State is back in action tomorrow at the Red & Black Classic when it takes on Massachusetts (noon) and Illinois State (2:30 p.m.)