May 11, 2001
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For the second straight day at the Big Ten Tourney, the Ohio State softball team (46-18 overall) took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. For the second time, the Buckeyes could not hold on for a win, falling 5-4 to Penn State at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. The loss elimatates OSU from the conference tournament.
“We scored a run in the first inning in both of our losses, which is kind of unusual, Linda Kalafatis, OSU head coach, said. “We have a lot of young players and our older ones have never been to the postseason either. We made mistakes we haven’t made all season. We weren’t loose the way we have played all season.”
Katie Chain (So., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) took the loss for the Buckeyes. Her record is 23-6 after the loss. Chain allowed eight hits and five runs – four earned – in 4.1 innngs. She finished with three strikeouts.
The loss marked Chain’s second loss to a conference opponent. The other – a 1-0 loss to Purdue in which Chain gave up just two hits and struck out 13 – came on the first day of the season, Feb. 9, at the Jameson Inn – Tiger Invitational in Auburn, Ala. During the Big Ten season, Chain went a perfect 10-0.
Chain stuck around longer than her counterpart, Kelly McCann. Jenn Link (So., Yorba Linda, Calif./Sonora led off the game with an infield single. Wendy Allen (Fr., Moreno Valley, Calif./Moreno Valley) followed with a single to right field and Stacy Roth (Jr., Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon) drew a walk to load the bases, prompting PSU coach Robin Petrini to make a change in the pitching circle after three batters. Marisa Hanson got the nod, and got out of the inning with the Nittany Lions facing just a 1-0 deficit. Chrissy Folwer (Jr., Utica, Ohio/Utica) hit a hard grounder to thrid baseman Jennifer Tripken, who fired home to catcher Colleen Kersey to get the forceout at home. Kersey wheeled around and her throw beat Folwer to first base.
Kristine Himes (So., Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) and Annie Dedic (So., Yorba Linda, Calif./Fullerton J.C.) both walked, with the second free pass scoring Allen from third base.
Hanson settled down after the escaping the tough situation she was brought into with relatively little damage done. She walked just one batter for the remainder of the game and allowed seven hits while going the distance. She is now 11-13 with the win.
Aided by five OSU errors, PSU was able to take a 5-1 lead into the sixth innnig.
After Chain held the Nittany Lions hitless in the first two innings, PSU broke out with two hits and was helped by an OSU error to tie the score in the third innning.
Rightfielder Karen Gulini singled to left field and moved to second on an error by Fowler. Tripken followed with a single to center field to score Gulini.
PSU tacked on three more hits in the fourth to take the lead. First baseman Erin Norton singled down the left field line with one out. Shortstop Adrienne Manzo followed with a single to move Jackie Dabrowski, who was called on to pinch run, to second. Kersey singled to center field to score Dabrowsk from second an put PSU up 2-1.
The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning. Tripken singled and moved to second on a errant throw to first by Link. After being moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, Tripken scored on a wild pitch from Chain that reached the back stop. Second baseman Allison Medellin singled to left field and leftfielder Megan Humphrey doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third and force Kalafatis to bring Allen from right field to the pitching circle. An error by Link on a grounder allowed Medellin to score and moved Humprey to third. Designated hitter Jenny Briz singled to right field to bring home Humphrey and make the score 5-1. In relief, Allen allowed one hit and struck out one the eight batters she faced.
It appeared the three-run inning had taken away any chance for OSU to fight off elimination, but the Buckeyes responded with three runs in the top of the sixth innnig to make it a one-run ball game.
“I thought our team showed a lot of character to come back and put ourselves in a position to win after not playing real well in the middle of the game,” Linda Kalafatis, OSU head coach, said. “I really thought we were going to pull it out there in the end.”
Fowler opened the inning with a single to right field. Himes followed with her sixth home run of the season, a two-run blast to straight-away center field. McCann regrouped to get the next two outs, but the Buckeyes were not done. Rogeanna Hottinger (So., Nowark, Ohio/Newark) was hit by a pitch to rearch base and Breana Pozzi (Fr., Petaluma, Calif./Petaluma) singled through the right side to put runners on first and second. A double down the right field line scored Hottinger and put Pozzi on third. McCann kept PSU in the lead, striking out Allen to end the inning.
OSU managed just one base runner(Himes walked) in the final inning and could not find away to fully execute the comeback.
The Buckeyes will find out if their season will continue Sunday Night when they view the NCAA Regional Selection Show.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a bid to the Regionals,” Kalafatis said.