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Tory Haddad drives home all three runs for Ohio State in third game of Cardinal Tournament

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Tory Haddad hit two RBI singles to drive home all three of the No. 22/17 Ohio State softball team’s runs in its 3-2 win over No.17/18 Louisville Saturday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium during the Courtyard by Marriott Airport Cardinal Tournament. The Buckeyes extend their winning streak to six games and improve their overall record to 18-3 and 6-1 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25. Louisville is now 20-3 on the season after absorbing its first loss in nine games.

“I thought that this was perhaps our toughest win of the season,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “Louisville is probably the strongest offensive team that we have faced and I am impressed with the way everyone came together for the win. I think one of the biggest differences from last year is the amount of depth that we have and our ability to move people around – things that were definitely shown today. Our relief pitching was certainly one of the deciding factors in the win.”

The Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead in their half of the first inning for the third time this weekend after putting runners are first and second off consecutive walks by Cardinal pitcher Kristen Wadwell. Haddad plated Dee Dee Hillman with a single down the right field line to tally her first RBI of the weekend. The junior from Valparaiso, Fla., added two more in the top of the third, moving herself into second on the team with 14 this season.

With two outs in the third, Sam Marder walked to start the scoring drive for the Buckeyes. She advanced to third on a double by Courtney Pruner, the team leader in two-base hits, and returned home off Haddad’s hit to left field. Ohio State has outscored opponents 30-4 in the third inning this season, accounting for Buckeye runs than any other single inning.

Louisville cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-out rally that scored Melissa Roth and Kristin Austin. The runs were the first earned by Kim Reeder in the circle since she gave up a grand slam against Hawai’i Feb. 21 six games ago. Reeder held on to pick up the win vs. Louisville, however, improving to 9-2 on the season in 13 appearances.

With the narrow 3-2 lead, the Buckeyes stepped up their defensive game to keep the Cardinals at bay. Lindsay Bodeker relieved Reeder in the fifth inning and pitched 2.1 innings of shutout softball, striking out three. Buckeye outfielders – Hillman, Pruner and Leah Ledford – combined for five put-outs, highlighted by a Ledford grab in the sixth inning. With two Louisville runners in scoring position, the junior from West Chester, Ohio, made a remarkable catch in left field in the bottom of the sixth to end the inning and preserve the Buckeye lead. Pruner snagged back-to-back line drives to right field and Hillman added a game-ending catch in foul territory.

Because of extended morning games, the Buckeyes will take the field at approximately 5:15 p.m. for their 4 p.m. game Saturday against Eastern Michigan.