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Feb. 14, 2004

Box Score |  Notes

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Ohio State softball team got a two-run homerun in the second inning from junior Natalie Hales and freshman pitcher Jamee Juarez, in her first collegiate start, made it hold for a dramatic 2-1 victory over Cal State-Northridge Friday in the second game of the Arizona State Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe.

For Hales, a Canton, Ohio native, it was her first homerun as a Buckeye and helped Ohio State even its record to 1-1 on the season.

“I had an 0-2 count, so I was just trying to make contact,” Hales said. “It felt amazing, being my first Ohio State homerun. We didn’t want to sit on two runs the rest of the game, but our defense made it hold up.”

Senior Breana Pozzi (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) went 3-for-3 at the plate to mark her first career three-hit performance. Her leadoff single in the second inning set the stage for Hale’s game-winning homer.

“Going 3-for-3 was great in my first start and will set the tone for this season,” Pozzi said. “Being on base for Natalie’s homerun was awesome, and Jamee battled the entire game. This game is how I think we’re going to play the rest of year.”

Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, praised her team’s effort in coming back from a loss to Massachusetts earlier in the day.

“Natalie had a super day for us, and Jamee hung in there so tough,” Kalafatis said. “Northridge was pretty intense all game and I told our girls after the game that was what a Big Ten game will be like. We’re a work in progress and we’ll keep working. It was really important for us to bounce back in that second game.”

Juarez scattered six hits and struck out nine hitters, while allowing just one walk. Her one earned run, which came in a 40+ pitch seventh inning, was unearned.

“I was nervous, but our defense played great behind me,” Juarez said. “It felt great to get a win in my first start, but it was a total team effort.”

Ohio State will face a pair of nationally ranked teams Saturday. The Buckeyes will take on No. 11/11 Texas at 2 p.m., and will face No. 13/16 Oregon at 4 p.m.