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Buckeyes pull away in third inning

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scoring six runs off of five hits and three errors in the third inning, including home runs from senior captain Sam Marder and sophomore Alicia Herron, the No. 14 Ohio State softball team proved too much for Hatter Invitational host Stetson, winning, 10-4, in its second game of the day. The Buckeyes improve to 5-2 on the year while the Hatters fall to 3-3.

“We wanted to focus on getting base hits with runners in scoring position and we did that today,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “Marder, Herron and Courtney Pruner had terrific games and Vanessa Spears got her first hit of the season with a clutch double.”

Although Stetson scored a run in the first inning, Ohio State was not discouraged. In the bottom of the second, Pruner, a senior captain, got things started with a double to centerfield. She did not stay there for long because in the next at-bat, classmate Whitney Cooper singled through the left infield, bringing Pruner in to tie things up.

Stetson scored another run in the top of the third but its lead was short-lived.

In a huge third inning, the Buckeyes built themselves a five-run lead which proved to be too much for the Hatters to challenge. With runners in scoring position, Spears, a sophomore outfielder, doubled to left field, bringing home juniors Brittany Goodchild and Dee Dee Hillman and giving OSU a 3-2 lead. A threat at the plate against all opponents, Marder homered in her sixth-consecutive game to tack on another run (4-2). Pruner extended the inning with a single and Cooper reached base on an error bringing up Herron. The sophomore continued to prove the middle of Ohio State’s lineup is strong as she hit a three-run shot, her first in 2010 and 15th in her short career.

“Alicia hit that ball as hard and as far as a woman can,” Kalafatis said about Herron’s homer. “In a day where we hit six home runs, hers was quite impressive.”

Moving into the bottom of the fourth with two outs and a runner on first, Pruner sailed a ball down the leftfield line to give the Buckeyes a 9-2 lead. For the Akron, Ohio, native, the homer was her second of the season and 28th career. Pruner is just one shy of tying for third on the program’s all-time home run record list.

After neither team scored in the fifth, Stetson scored two runs in the top of the sixth before Ohio State added a run, a solo home run from Marder, in the bottom of the inning for the 10-4 final. The squad’s 10 runs in a single game marked a season-high. It also was the first contest in which three Buckeyes homered.

On the mound, senior Megan Miller earned her second win, going six innings, allowing fun runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. Freshman Melanie Nichols made her second appearance of the day, finishing out the game with two strikeouts and no hits.

Ohio State had 16 players enter the game as the Buckeyes improved to 4-1 against the Hatters.

“Anytime we can get some of the younger kids some looks and at-bats it is a good thing,” Kalafatis said. “We need everyone competing to make us a strong team that is hard to beat.”

Game Notes:
– Sam Marder hit another milestone, recording her 50th career home run as she went 3-4 at the plate. The senior has gone long in six-consecutive games, including a two-home run outing vs. Stetson. Marder has scored 116 runs as a Buckeye to improve to seventh on the program’s all-time list. With 156 RBI, she is just 10 shy from tying for first in the record book.
– Courtney Pruner hit her 18th career home run and is one shy of tying for third in the program’s all-time record book. She went 4-4 at the plate vs. the Hatters.
– Freshman Megan Coletta recorded the first hit of her career in her fourth game. She has started three games at third.