RALEIGH, N.C. – The Ohio State softball team (3-4) struggled on Saturday afternoon at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Buckeyes opened the day at Dail Stadium with a 7-1 loss to Notre Dame (5-2) before they fell 5-3 in a rematch with NC State (4-3).
GAME 1: Notre Dame 7, Ohio State 1
HOW IT HAPPENED
Ohio State’s defense had to step up quickly in the opening frame as it worked its way out of a bases-loaded jam.
The Fighting Irish struck first for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a solo home run by Alexis Holloway. Notre Dame went ahead 3-0 in the sixth on Joley Mitchell’s two-run homer.
The Buckeyes joined the scoring in the bottom of the sixth. Andi Farrah got on behind a fielding error by the third baseman before Meg Otte and Avery Clark followed up with a pair of singles to stack the bases. A fielder’s choice kept the bases loaded and an error by the pitcher gave Otte time to slide across home plate.
A pair of two-RBI singles in the seventh stretched the gap to 7-1 in Notre Dame’s favor.
IN THE CIRCLE
RHP Payton Buresch (2-3) was charged with the loss after five innings of six-hit, three-run ball. Skylar Hayward tossed 1.1 innings and allowed three runs and one hit while Jessica Ross pitched the final 0.2 innings and gave up two hits and one run.
GAME 2: NC State 5, Ohio State 3
WHAT WENT DOWN
While the offense tried to find its groove, the Buckeye defense stranded five members of the Wolfpack over three innings.
Claire Nicholson was the difference maker in the bottom of the third on a solo dinger over right field, her first home run of the year and fifth of her career.
NC State tied things up at 1-1 on a RBI single in the top of the fifth.
Ohio State broke the stalemate in the bottom of the sixth for a 2-1 edge. Carley Gaskill went deep on a solo homer over left field, the first of her career.
The lead did not last long for the Buckeyes as the Wolfpack bounced back in the seventh on a RBI single, RBI triple and two-run homer to take a 5-2 advantage.
The Buckeyes attempted a comeback in the home half of the seventh. Kaitlyn Coffman and Andi Farrah both singled to get on base, which set up Nicholson, who stepped up and looped an RBI double to left center but it was not enough.
Right-handed pitcher Jessica Ross (1-1) tossed the first complete game of her Buckeye career. She let in eight hits and five runs but struck out a career-high eight batters, six of which were swinging strikeouts.
Ohio State closes the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at 10 a.m. Sunday with its second game against Notre Dame.