April 5, 2002%^$
%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team dropped a 2-0 decision to Wisconsin at Buckeye Field Friday in the Buckeyes’ first Big Ten home game of the 2002 campaign. Both teams’ defenses posted strong performances on the field with the Badgers gaining the upper hand by limiting the Buckeyes to three hits while collecting 10 of their own in the victory. OSU slipped to 31-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten following the loss while UW improved to 21-10 overall and 4-1 in conference.%^$
%^$After sitting down the visitors in order to open the game, the Buckeyes picked up a hit when Wendy Allen (So., Moreno Valley, Calif./Moreno Valley) singled with a hard shot off the glove of the shortstop. Allen was stranded after her two-out hit and OSU did not garner another hit until the final inning of the game. The Buckeyes did manage to two other base runners with one in the second and fifth. Sarah West (Sr., Galloway, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) reached on a walk in the second and on an error in the fifth but never advanced past second base.%^$
%^$The Badgers, however, had a better day with the bat than the hosts. Anna Jones led the way with a 3-for-3 day at the plate with three singles and an RBI. UW got things rolling in the second with Jones’ single up the middle. Nicki Starry followed with a walk and Shenna Padovan loaded the bases on a bloop single to left. Katie Chain (Jr., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) and the OSU defense dug in. Chain threw out Jones at home on a Erin Barnharst fielder’s choice before Diana Consolmagno ended the inning with a fielder’s choice to JJ Johnson (Fr., La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) at short. Johnson threw over to Kristine Himes (Jr., Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) at third to close the inning and dodge a bullet.%^$
%^$UW immediately went back on the attack in the third. With two outs, Kristin Zacher doubled to the gap in left center and came around to score on a Meghann Reiss single. Jones then collected her second hit of the game, this time down the line in left, but Chrissy Fowler (Sr., Utica, Ohio/Wright State) came up firing and gunned Reiss down at the plate with her throw to catcher Stacy Roth (Sr. Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon).%^$
%^$After a quite fourth, the Badgers added their final run of the game in the fifth. With two outs and Zacher reaching on a fielder’s choice, Reiss singled up the middle and Jones added her third hit to advance the runners and bring home Zacher. At the end of the inning, the books were closed on Chain (five innings, nine hits, two earned runs, one walk and two strikeouts) and opened for Allen. The lefty reliever struck out the first two batters she faced and three total in the final two innings of play while allowing only one hit to keep the Buckeyes in the game.%^$
%^$In the final frame, Roth ripped a shot towards the gap in left only to have it snared by the shortstop for the first out. Fowler then lined a single to right and advanced two batters later on a Kristi DeVries (So., Corona, Calif./Corona) single to right. With two on and two out, Himes gave the ball a ride but the center fielder made the catch in deep center to end the game. UW starter, Andrea Kirchberg registered four strikeouts in seven innings of work for the win after coaxing nine Buckeyes to fly out in the game.%^$
%^$OSU returns to action at noon Saturday for the final game of the two-game set with the Badgers at Buckeye Field.