COLUMBUS, Ohio – In its first Big Ten road trip of 2011, the Ohio State softball team collected two wins at Minnesota Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis, Minn. The Buckeyes (9-20, 2-2 Big Ten) won the first game by run-rule, 10-0, in six innings and capped the day off with a 7-5 thrilling victory in game two against the Golden Gophers (19-15, 1-3 Big Ten).
“Our bats came alive today and Karisa Medrano was very good in the circle for us,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “We executed all day at the plate and had great clutch hitting in both games.”
“In addition, Alicia Herron, Megan Coletta and Melaina Saalfeld played excellent defense for us. To rally and score six runs in the seventh inning was a great show of toughness and growth our team is making. We’re playing so many young kids and the experience they gained from the early part of the season is starting to show itself. It’s important that we keep moving forward and play with great energy.”
Offensively, Ohio State claimed 23 hits with eight different players posting at least two hits in the doubleheader. Senior Brittany Goodchild had four hits and three runs, sophomore Megan Coletta knocked in four RBI, and junior co-captain Alicia Herron and freshman Melissa Rennie each plated three runs.
In game one, the combination on of an excellent pitching performance by senior Karisa Medrano and solid production at the plate by the Buckeye bats guided the team to its first conference victory of 2011.
Medrano, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., threw five shutout innings and allowed just one hit, while striking out three batters. The Buckeye pitcher did not allow a hit through 4.2 innings of work in the circle for the Scarlet and Gray.
Ohio State scored two runs in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth, and four runs in the sixth inning as the team collected 11 hits at the plate. All nine OSU batters claimed hits, while seven OSU players scored runs – a solid performance from top to bottom in the lineup.
After two scoreless innings, the Buckeyes got the first runs on the board in the top of the third. Sophomore Julia Pecina led things off with a single up the middle followed by sophomore Brittany Mills, who got on base with an infield hit. With the top of the lineup up, senior co-captain Dee Dee Hillman moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Pecina then made it 1-0 when Minnesota starting pitcher Alissa Koch threw a wild pitch. Ohio State then added to its lead after senior Brittany Goodchild claimed an RBI infield single to plate Mills from third to make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the inning, Minnesota had their first opportunity of the afternoon after advancing runners to second and third when drawing back-to-back walks and a sacrifice. However, Medrano worked her way out of the jam when she got Alex Davis to fly out to third base.
In the top of the fourth, freshman catcher Melissa Rennie sat nicely on an off-speed pitch and knocked a single to left center field to lead off the inning. The Buckeyes continued to do a solid job moving the runners over when sophomore Megan Coletta laid down a sacrifice bunt as Rennie advanced to second. With two outs, Pecina came up big for the Scarlet and Gray when she dropped an RBI single in front of the Gopher center fielder to score Rennie to make it 3-0.
In the fifth, the Buckeye bats continued to stay hot at the plate as the team posted a three-run inning. Hillman slapped a single through the right side to lead things off, while Goodchild connected on pitch up the middle the following at-bat. Koch then loaded the bases after walking Herron. The next batter, freshman Evelyn Carrillo drew a walk to give Ohio State a 4-0 lead as Hillman scored. With no outs, Ohio State plated its fifth run after Rennie grounded into a fielder’s choice allowing Goodchild to tally a run. Coletta then made it 6-0 when she sent an RBI single past third baseman Alex Davis to score Herron from second base.
In the bottom of the inning, Medrano sent down the first two Gopher batters. After a walk to Barnes, Skrove broke up the no-hitter when she singled to left field to keep the inning alive. However, the Buckeye pitcher stayed focused on the Minnesota batters and struck out Davis to end the Gopher offensive threat.
In the top of the sixth, after Goodchild reached base safely on a Minnesota fielding error, Herron stepped into the box and blasted an RBI double off the left field wall to make it 7-0 – the first extra base of the game.
The OSU bats continued to roll when Coletta notched a sacrifice fly to center to plate Herron to post Ohio State to an 8-0 lead. With runners on first and second, Saalfeld then roped a two-RBI double to clear the bases as Rennie and pinch runner Alyson Mott scored runs to push the team’s lead to 10-0.
Goodchild then came into pitch in the bottom of the sixth for the Scarlet and Gray and claimed Ohio State the shutout as she ended the game in six innings.
Ohio State had an 11-1 advantage in hits against Minnesota.
In game two, down to their last three outs with a 5-1 deficit, the Buckeyes showed their determination when they rallied with a six-run seventh inning to claim the come-from-behind victory and the sweep against the Gophers.
Pecina, a native of La Habra, Calif., began the huge OSU rally with a double to center field. The following batter, Mills sent a RBI-triple to center field to make it 5-2.
Following a single by Goodchild and a walk to Herron, Carrillo advanced both runners after a groundout to the pitcher. With two outs, Rennie, a native of Wellington, Ohio, connected on a 1-2 pitch for a two-RBI single to center field to tie the game, 5-5, as Goodchild and Herron both scored runs. The next batter, Coletta homered on a 0-1 pitch to center field to give Ohio State the 7-5 lead and the eventual final score – her second long ball of 2011.
Ohio State opened the scoring in the first inning when Carrillo knocked an RBI single to left center, scoring Hillman from second base.
However, the Gophers tallied two runs in the bottom of the first, one run in the second and two runs in the third to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Freshman pitcher Audrey Plant started for the Buckeyes but was relieved by Medrano in the bottom of the second. Plant threw 1.1 innings with three runs on four hits. After the clutch hitting by the Buckeyes in the seventh inning, Medrano picked up the victory to improve to 4-10 on the season, allowing two runs in 5.2 innings of work with five strikeouts.
The Scarlet and Gray held a 12-8 advantage in hits in game two vs. the Gophers.
Ohio State will now travel home to Columbus to prepare for a mid-week doubleheader vs. Pittsburgh April 6, beginning at 4 p.m. at Buckeye Field.