COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sam Marder belted a pair of homeruns, one in each game, as the No. 17 Ohio State softball team swept Ball State Wednesday, 9-1 and 4-0, in a doubleheader at New Buckeye Field. With the wins, the Buckeyes improve to 26-6, while the Cardinals drop to 13-16.
Leah Ledford knocked the ball out of the park, while Alicia Herron tallied three hits and pitchers Kim Reeder and Lindsay Bodeker combined for 11 strikeouts on the day.
GAME 1: Marder, batting in in the leadoff spot, promptly sent a hard shot over the left center field wall to give the Buckeyes the early lead. Ball State tied the game in the second, but Ohio State capitalized on the Cardinals pitching woes to build a 4-1 lead after two. Back-to-back walks to Courtney Pruner and Tory Haddad by Ball State pitcher Elizabeth Milian loaded the bases and the scored Ledford, who had reached on yet another walk to open the Buckeyes’ half of the inning. Whitney Cooper then hit a two-RBI double to left field that plated Pruner and Rachael Shepherd.
It was the five-run scoring barrage in the fifth, however, that put the game out of reach and gave the Buckeyes their 11th run-rule victory of the season. A pair of walks put runners on first and second for Herron, who hit a long single to left, advancing to second on the throw and sending Katie Simonton (as a pinch runner for Marder) back across the plate. An RBI double from Vanessa Spears, who made her first field start of the season in left field, plated Herron and Cooper to stretch the lead to 7-1 before Ledford’s two-run shot to left center gave the Buckeyes the eight-run advantage.
Led by Reeder in the circle, Ohio State shut down the side in the top of the fifth to seal the deal on the run-rule win.
GAME 2: Bodeker struck out eight and gave up just four hits as she improved to 9-3 on the season and pitched her fourth complete game shutout this year. Four Buckeyes had multi-hit games, including Marder who hit her 14th homer of the season in the second to make the score 3-0. The USA Softball player of the year finalist now has 38 career round-trippers – just three shy of the all-time Ohio State record 41 set by Kristine Himes (2000-03).
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first off a RBI single by Pruner and then stretched to three with Marder’s two-run blast an inning later that also scored Ledford. Another RBI single for Herron in the third scored Simonton as a pinch runner for Haddad, who singled up the middle to open the inning.
With the 4-0 lead, Ohio State buckled down and did not allow a hit for the remainder of the contest, instead retiring 12-consecutive batters in the last four innings. Bodeker struck out the side in the top of the seventh to effectively end the contest.
The Buckeyes return to action this weekend with a pair of Big Ten contests in Minnesota at 1 p.m. CT (Noon ET) Saturday and Sunday.