Sept. 29, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio –   On a sunny Saturday fall afternoon in front of a large crowd at Fred Beekman Park, the Ohio State softball team claimed two wins at the 12th-annual Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic. The Buckeyes defeated Akron, 5-3, in game one before downing Dayton, 2-1, in game two. Ohio State fell, 4-2, in game three against Ohio.  

The Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic is an event that has grown into one of the biggest fundraisers for Breast Cancer Awareness in Central Ohio, raising more than $161,000 in the past 11 years.

“A special thank you to all the high school coaches, officials and teams that donated their time and efforts to make today possible,” said Kelly Kovach Schoenly, who served as the event’s host for the first time as head coach of the Buckeyes. “We could not do it without everyone’s help.”

“I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of Alex DiDomenico,” Schoenly said. “She was a much needed spark and showed solid composure in our second game. Our offensive lineup showed signs of speed and power. Playing three games in one day gave us opportunities to see different combinations. We are not quite where we want to be, but the energy and commitment is there and we will get there.”

Game One: Akron 3, Ohio State 5
Offensively, Ohio State was led by sophomore Shelby Pickett, who went 3-for-3 with a an RBI and a run scored, while senior Brittany Mills notched two RBI and sophomore Taylor Watkins had a double with a pair of RBI. Freshman Cammi Prantl also had a solid first game for the Scarlet and Gray, going 2-for-2 with a triple, run scored and stolen base.

Down 3-0, the Ohio State offense notched a four-run second inning on four unearned runs vs. the Zips. After sophomore Olivia O’Reilly reached base following an Akron fielding error, senior right fielder Brittany Mills posted the team’s first run on a fielder’s choice, allowing pinch runner Amanda Abbruzzese to cross the plate. Picket then blasted a line drive to right field to cut the deficit to, 3-2, scoring sophomore Caitlin Conrad, who reached base on a single down the left field line. Watkins then gave the squad a 4-3 lead after she rocketed a double down the right field line, plating Mills and Pickett.

Ohio State plated its fifth and final run in the bottom of the fourth when Mills sent a sacrifice fly to right field to score Prantl from third base,  who lead off the inning with a triple to deep center field.

O’Reilly, a native of Sylvania, Ohio, struck out nine Akron batters, while stranding 10 base runners in five innings of work.

The Buckeye defense held strong in the late innings of the contest. In the top of the fifth after Akron got their lead-off hitter to third base, sophomore shortstop Maddy McIntyre came up firing to home plate on a groundball to claim the second out of the inning and keep the score 5-3 in favor of the Buckeyes. Junior catcher Melissa Rennie was able to get the tag down before the runner could touch home for the putout.

Redshirt junior pitcher Melanie Nichols claimed the save, throwing the final two innings and allowing no runs and no hits. Overall, the Buckeyes posted nine hits vs. the Zips.

Game Two: Ohio State 2, Dayton 1
Sophomore pitcher Alex DiDomenico highlighted the team’s second exhibition, striking out 11 batters in a one-hit performance vs. Dayton.

The Buckeyes jumped out to a 1-0 lead after junior Evelyn Carrillo crushed a single to right center, scoring Pickett in the top of the first. Watkins put Pickett in scoring position after putting down an infield bunt single.

In the bottom half, the Flyers rebounded to tie it, 1-1, following an RBI single to left field. However, DiDomenico stayed focus in the circle and ended the Dayton rally with back-to-back strikeouts. DiDomenico was strong from the beginning of the exhibition, claiming eight strikeouts against 11 batters faced.

After the next two innings went scoreless, the Buckeyes took a 2-1 lead after some timely hitting by the OSU bats. Junior Leesa Gresham lead-off the inning with a double to deep left field and was then pinch ran for by senior Alyson Mott. After the Flyers claimed back-to-back outs, junior Melaina Saalfeld came through in the clutch with a two-out RBI single up the middle, scoring Mott, to make it 2-1.

DiDomenico continued to keep the Dayton hitters off balance as the game went on, allowing no hits with two strikeouts in the final three innings in the circle. She finished off her great performance with 11 strikeouts, limiting the Flyers to one hit and one run.

Ohio State claimed the victory on a nice 5-4-3 double-play turn by Gresham and Pickett.