COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 15 Ohio State softball team split its Big Ten series with Iowa, falling 12-4, in six innings Sunday at a rain-soaked and wind-blown New Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes, who earned a 3-0 win over the Hawkeyes Saturday, fall to 24-6 on the season, 3-1 in the conference, while Iowa improves to 27-7 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
Freshman Vanessa Spears hit her first career homerun and Whitney Cooper went 2-for-3 from the plate, but the Hawkeyes out-hit the home team 16-8 on the day and used a six-run second inning to pull out to an early lead.
With Iowa holding a 6-0 lead after 1.5 innings, Ohio State chipped away at the margin with two runs in the bottom half of the second with a RBI double by Rachael Shepherd that plated Spears and a sac fly to left from Courtney Pruner that gave Leah Ledford enough time to tag up and head home.
Iowa came back with four more runs in the top of the third to gain a 10-2 advantage; however, the Buckeyes staved off the eight-run run rule in the bottom of the fifth with Spears’ two-run homer to centerfield to make the count 10-6.
Two more runs in the top of the sixth from the Hawkeyes a three outs from five batters in the Ohio State half cemented the 12-4 win in six innings.
Junior All-American and USA Softball player of the year candidate Sam Marder was intentionally walked four times Sunday and eight times in the series, bringing her total to 26 on the season. Marder is the all-time leader in walks at Ohio State with 130.
The 12 runs plated by the Hawkeyes are the most allowed by the Buckeyes since April 16, 2007, when Kentucky produced 16.
Ohio State returns to action at 5 p.m. Wednesday in a doubleheader with Ball State at New Buckeye Field. Admission is free.