Alicia Herron ties school record for single-game RBI with seven off grand slam, three-run homer
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Alicia Herron belted a grand slam and a three-run homerun for a program record-tying seven RBI to lead the No. 16 Ohio State softball team in the first game of a doubleheader sweep of Indiana Wednesday afternoon at the IU Softball Field. The Buckeyes came away with a 14-4 win in five innings and followed up with a 1-0 victory in the second contest.
The Scarlet and Gray is now 30-6 on the season and 7-1 in the Big Ten, while the Hoosiers fall to 5-27 overall and 1-7 in the conference. Ohio State has now won at least 30 games in each of the last six seasons, the longest 30-win streak in program history. The record for wins in a season is 55, set in 2002 (55-14).
Herron’s grand slam stands as the first for Ohio State since Courtney Pruner knocked one out at Long Beach State March 20, 2007.
GAME ONE: Ohio State jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first as the top of the order pounced early and the Buckeyes maintained momentum by sending 12 batters to the plate in the inning. Dee Dee Hillman started things off by doubling down the left field line, marking her third-consecutive game with at least one hit, before being sent to third on a single by Vanessa Spears. Sam Marder walked to load the bases and Pruner knocked a single up the middle, scoring the lead two runners.
With Pruner and Marder on second and third base, respectively, Whitney Cooper reached on a fielder’s choice to once again load the bases, giving Herron the opportunity to belt a grand slam over the right field wall to go up 6-0. The rally continued with Rachael Shepherd hitting a single to third, allowing the top of the order to come back into the box, and Spears eventually sending her home to earn the seventh run.
Indiana cut the lead to five in the bottom half of the inning, but the Buckeyes put up three runs in the next two innings to stretch the lead back to 9-2. The Hoosiers put another on the board in the bottom of the fourth, but Ohio State exploded for four runs in the top of the fifth to gain an 11-run lead. Katie Simonton scored as a pinch runner for Marder on a RBI single from Cooper and then Herron launched a three-run blast to straight center, plating Cooper and Tory Haddad.
The Hoosiers scored again in the bottom of the fifth, but the Buckeyes came away with the 14-4 win and their 11th run-rule victory this season. Kim Reeder earned her 15th win of the season, while striking out six.
GAME TWO: The Buckeyes loaded the bases in the third inning with walks to Rebecca Schultz and Marder and a botched fielder’s choice for Hillman. An illegal pitch by Indiana’s Sara Olson sent Schultz home and advanced the remaining runners to second and third with two outs. The Hoosiers closed out the inning by striking out Pruner, but Ohio State earned the 1-0 lead that it would hold on to through the remainder of the contest.
In the circle, Lindsay Bodeker struck out eight and gave up three hits to earn her third-consecutive shutout win and sixth complete game shutout this season.
The Buckeyes return to action at 2 p.m. Saturday against Illinois at New Buckeye Field. The game marks Dedication Day as the Buckeyes officially commemorate the opening of the new park and recognize the numerous people that made it possible. Ohio State and Illinois also square off at 2 p.m. Sunday to close out the series.