RALEIGH, N.C. The No. 15-ranked Ohio State softball team came back from a tough loss in the first game of a doubleheader with N.C. State, defeating the Wolf pack, 4-0, Wednesday afternoon at Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Stadium. The win snaps a brief two-game losing skid for the Buckeyes and gives them a 23-5 overall record, while dropping the Wolf pack to 15-11.
In the first at-bat of the game, Sam Marder belted her second homerun of the day to give Ohio State the early lead. Courtney Pruner added a three-run blast in the top half of the third, while Megan Miller held a no-hitter through five innings before giving up two hits on the day as the Buckeyes earned their 10th shutout of the season.
Marder and Pruner are both making their way up the Buckeye career homerun charts, holding second and fourth place, respectively. Marder, a candidate for the 2009 USA Softball player of the year award, has 12 this season and 36 for her career just five shy of the all-time Ohio State record 41 set by Kristine Himes (2000-03). Pruner increases her total to six on the season and 20 in her career for a fourth-place tie.
Pruner’s shot to left center also plated Dee Dee Hillman and Marder after the pair reached on an HBP and walk, respectively. The three RBI also increased the Buckeyes’ run-scoring margin in the third inning to 35-7 on the year. They have scored more runs in that inning than any other and hold a greater advantage over the opposition.
With the 4-0 lead, the Buckeyes took care of the Wolf pack offense in three batters in each of the ensuing three innings. Miller struck out two in the stretch and finished the day with seven fans, while allowing just the two hits. N.C. State put its first tally in the hit column in the bottom of the sixth with a single by Lauren Peters. The Wolf pack went on to load the bases, but the final batter grounded out to Rebecca Schultz at third to preserve the shutout.
The Buckeyes return to action this weekend at New Buckeye Field with a conference series vs. Iowa. Ohio State faces the Hawkeyes at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission to all games is free.