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Feb. 25, 2005

Box Score

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The Ohio State softball team (4-2) scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-3 lead, but 20th-ranked Pacific (7-1) answered with four runs of its own in the top of the seventh to reclaim the lead and hold on for a 7-5 win over the Buckeyes as the Palm Springs Classic got underway at Big League Dreams Sports Complex in Palm Springs, Calif.

Ohio State freshman Liz Caputo (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly) put the Buckeyes ahead with a bases-loaded, two-out double down the right field foul line to give OSU a 5-3 lead. It marked her first RBI as a Buckeye and sent Ohio State into the seventh inning with the lead, but the Tigers’ first five hitters of their last at bat reached base and four scored to give them the come-from-behind win.

Senior Meghan Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/Bishop Ready) gave Ohio State a 1-0 lead with a solo home run to right field in the third inning. Rowlands, hitting in the No. 9 spot in the lineup, was Ohio State’s first batter to reach base after the first eight batters all were set down by Pacific pitcher Natalie King, who would pitch all seven innings to improve to 5-0 on the season. The home run was Rowlands’ second career round-tripper and marked the Buckeyes’ first home run of the season.

Junior Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio/DeSales) pitched the first five innings for Ohio State, allowing just three runs and notching two strikeouts. Freshman Nicole Gragson (Long Beach, Calif./Wilson) pitched one inning of one-hit shutout relief before sophomore Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) came on to work the seventh inning.

Pacific’s Jennifer Curtier answered Rowlands’ third inning home run with a two-run shot of her own in the fourth inning. Two batters later Crystal Presson hit a solo homer to put the Tigers up, 3-1. Curtier added a three-run homer in the seventh inning that would prove to be the Tigers’ game-winning hit.

Ohio State got two runners on base in the fourth inning with two outs when Juarez was hit by a pitch and junior Stacy Hibma (Buena Park, Calif./Valley Christian) singled to center field, but King was able to work out of the jam. Rowlands reached base again in the fifth inning with a single, then stole second but was thrown out trying to score on a single by sophomore Nycole Koyano (Walnut, Calif./Walnut). Koyano finished the game 2-for-4, while Rowlands was 2-for-3.

Pacific pitcher Natalie King improved to 5-0 with the win, striking out six.

Ohio State will face UNLV Friday afternoon.

### GO BUCKS! ###