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May 2, 2001%^$

%^$%^$%^$Box Score%^$%^$%^$%^$

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio- The schedule lists the game between the Ohio State softball team (44-16 overall, 12-6 in the Big Ten) and Akron played at Firestone Stadium Wednesday night as an away game for the Buckeyes, but in many ways the 4-1 win over the Zips had the feel of a Buckeye homecoming.%^$

%^$OSU head coach Linda Kalafatis coached the Zips from 1994-96 before taking over the OSU program. Assistant coaches Belinda Cernava and Drema Neal both served on Kalafatis’ staff at Akron before joining Kalafatis in Columbus.%^$

%^$Katie Chain (So., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover), Liz Kacsanek (Uniontown, Ohio/Green) and Holly English (Sr., Akron, Ohio/Springfield) all received a warm welcome when their hometowns were announced. All three gave those who came to see the Akron-area Buckeyes return something to cheer about.%^$

%^$Chain improved her record to 22-5 – two wins away from tying the OSU record for wins in a season – by striking out 10 and allowing just three hits in the complete-game effort.%^$

%^$After holding the Zips scoreless for three innings, Chain gave up a home run to designated player Tiffany McCoy, but rebounded to hold Akron scoreless for the remainder of the game.%^$

%^$”Katie has thrown a lot of games and a lot of innings lately and I was concerned she would be tired,” Kalafatis said. “But I knew she would be excited to play in front of her hometown people. I think she threw well. The changeup was a big part of the evening. It wasn’t always there for strikes, but it worked favorably for her.%^$

%^$”She had one bad pitch that a really good player (McCoy) took care of. Other than that, I thought she threw fantastic.”%^$

%^$Chain said she noticed a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, which brought out her best.%^$

%^$”It felt like high school again,” Chain said. “I think I play better in front of people I know.”%^$

%^$Following the home run she gave up, Chain struck out leftfielder Kerstin Sewell to end the inning. The Zips managed just one hit the rest of the evening.%^$

%^$”My goal this year has been to strike out the next batter after I give up a home run and to move on,” Chain said. “I did that tonight.”%^$

%^$Added Kalafatis, “Katie’s maturing. She learned a lot from two Big Ten seasons.”%^$

%^$Chrissy Fowler (Jr., Utica, Ohio/Utica) and Sarah West (Jr., Galloway, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) provided offensive spark for the Buckeyes, each going 3-for-4 from the plate.%^$

%^$Fowler put OSU up 1-0 in the top of the first with a single to center field that scored Wendy Allen (Fr., Moreno Valley, Calif./ Moreno Valley). Allen had reached first on a throwing error by pitcher Tina McCauley.%^$

%^$OSU added a run in the second inning when Anna Smith (Jr., Walnut, Calif./Diamond Bar), pinch running for West, who singled and reached second on a throwing error by shortstop Angie Hill, scored another error by Hill on a ground ball from Kacsanek.%^$

%^$West opened the third inning with a single to right center field. She moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Rogeanna Hottinger (So., Newark, Ohio/Newark). English, playing in just her second game after returning from surgery in game two of a doubleheader Tuesday, followed with a single to right field to score West.%^$

%^$”That was nice to see,” Kalafatis said of English’s RBI. “We weren’t sure if she was ready to start, just coming back. It was a last minute decision to start her. She made a nice adjustment on the pitch and dumped the ball in to bring in a run. She came through in a really key situation for us.”%^$

%^$After the Akron home run by McCoy narrowed the OSU lead to 3-1, the Buckeyes added a run in the top of the sixth. A single by Kristi DeVries (Fr., Corona, Calif./Corona) scored West from second base. West had singled to center field to open the inning and moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt%^$

%^$Known for her defense at shortstop, Kacsanek did not disappoint the gathering from nearby Uniontown.%^$

%^$”Liz played like she has all season,” Kalafatis said. “There is a reason why she has only three errors on the season: she makes plays with her glove and she did that tonight in front of her hometown friends and family.”%^$

%^$Chain finished strong, striking out the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes conclude the regular season this weekend, playing host to Penn State in single games Saturday and Sunday.