ANN ARBOR, Mich. Sam Marder tied the Ohio State softball team’s all-time career homerun record with a solo shot in the first game of a doubleheader sweep at the hands of eighth-ranked Michigan Wednesday at Alumni Field. The Buckeyes fell 6-3, 5-2, snapping a seven-game winning streak and dropping their record to 42-9 on the season, 14-4 in the Big Ten, while the Wolverines improve to 40-9 overall and 16-2 in the conference.
With the wins, Michigan clinches at least a share of the Big Ten title. If the Wolverines should lose both of their games this weekend and Ohio State picks up two more wins Saturday, the teams would share the honor, with Michigan holding the NCAA Tournament automatic bid advantage in the head-to-head tiebreaker.
GAME ONE: Marder, as the second batter of the game, took the 3-2 pitch and belted her 17th homerun of the season over the left field wall to give the Buckeyes the early lead. The round-trip also gave the junior captain her 41st career homer, tying the all-time Ohio State record previously set by Kristine Himes during the 2000-03 seasons.
Michigan came back with three runs in the bottom of the second and doubled that in the fifth to pull ahead 6-1. Wolverine Nikki Nemetz capped off the scoring spree with a two-run homer to right to give Michigan the five-run lead heading into the sixth inning.
The Buckeyes came back in the sixth, cutting the margin to three, with a two-run homerun from rookie Alicia Herron, who took over the lead among all-time Ohio State freshman after hitting two out-of-the-park blasts vs. Northwestern Sunday. She extended her record total to 12 with the shot to center field that also scored Whitney Cooper after she reached on a single to left. The comeback attempt ended there, however, with back-to-back outs to close out the inning.
Kim Reeder pitched the first five innings of game one, striking out six and walking one, while taking her fifth loss of the year (22-5). Megan Miller entered in the bottom of the sixth and promptly retired the side in her 12th appearance in the circle this season.
GAME TWO: Tory Haddad gave Ohio State a 2-0 lead early with her first homerun since March 14 against Eastern Michigan. It was the third homer of the day for Ohio State, increasing the team’s program-record total to 59 this season. The blast plated Alicia Herron after she reached on a walk and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Courtney Pruner. The runs would stand as the only scores for the Buckeyes, who put a base runner on in the fourth after Marder was walked, but fell victim to 13-consecutive outs the rest of the way.
Michigan took over the lead in the bottom of the third with a pair of RBI singles before cementing the win with two more in the fifth. Angela Findlay led the Wolverine charge, going 3-for-4 from the plate with two runs and a RBI. Jordan Taylor earned the win for Michigan with 12 strikeouts and one hit, Haddad’s homer in the second.
Lindsay Bodeker picked up the loss for Ohio State, dropping her record to 15-4 on the season. She struck out two and walked four in 4.2 innings of work before giving Reeder her ninth relief appearance. The senior captain pitched 1.1 innings and retired all five batters faced.
NEXT UP: After the conclusion of the doubleheader, the Buckeyes wrap up the 2009 regular season against Penn State Saturday at New Buckeye Field with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Following the games, seniors Kim Reeder and Cortney Cannon will be honored for their four years of dedication to the Ohio State softball team as part of the Senior Day festivities.
Also join the Buckeyes Saturday for:
>>FREE rally towels to first 250 fans courtesy of Nationwide
>>Buckeye Kids Club Day FREE Cracker Jacks to the first 100 club members
>>FREE t-shirts to the first 200 fans
>>Student Day Register to win a $100 Target gift card
>>Meet the Buckeyes postgame autograph session