COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State and Northwestern wrapped up their three-game series on Sunday with a doubleheader, as the ninth-ranked Wildcats won game one, 9-8, and followed with a 7-1 win in game two.
The Buckeyes are now 23-10 on the season and 4-5 in Big Ten play while Northwestern improves to 27-6 and a league-leading 8-1 in Big Ten games.
A Packed House
Sixty-degree temperatures and plentiful sunshine brought out softball fans in droves on Sunday. The first game of Sunday’s doubleheader saw a capacity crowd of over 1,600 fans, many of whom were members of local travel teams.
Those who could find a seat at Buckeye Field were treated to plenty of offensive fireworks. The two teams combined to hit four home runs. There were two grand slams in the game – one by each team – and six extra base hits.
Buckeye long balls came off the bats of Niki Carver, who blasted a three-run shot in the third inning, and Sam Hackenbracht, whose six-inning grand slam brought Ohio State to within one at 8-7.
In the second game, NU pitcher Danielle Williams limited Ohio State to five hits, and the Wildcats hit two more home runs to earn the 7-1 win. Ohio State was able to score its run in the seventh inning on an RBI double from Meggie Otte.
Power Display in Game One
The Buckeyes and Wildcats combined for 17 runs and 21 hits to open the day. The first big blow of the day came from Carver, who hit a towering three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning that nearly landed on the roof of the adjacent Schumaker Complex.
Leading 4-1, Ohio State saw Northwestern score six times in the top of the fourth inning. Maeve Nelson had the biggest hit in the rally, a grand slam to center field that gave the Wildcats a 5-4 lead.
Northwestern would build a 9-4 lead in the fifth inning on an RBI single from Nikki Cuchran. The Buckeyes, however, wouldn’t go quietly. Melina Wilkison started a two-out rally in the sixth with a single to shortstop, and pinch hitter Kaitlyn Coffman followed with a single through the left side that loaded the bases for Hackenbracht. The junior from Massillon proceeded to blast a grand slam to right center field, making the score 9-8 in favor of Northwestern.
That, unfortunately, is as close as the Buckeyes would get. NU’s Danielle Williams retired Ohio State in order in the seventh to pick up her seventh save of the season.
Wildcats Take Game Two
Williams won her league-leading 16th game of the season in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader. She was supported offensively by home runs from Jordyn Rudd (a three-run shot in the first inning) and Nikki Cuchran (a solo homer in the third inning).
Meggie Otte had two hits in the game off Williams, including a double in the seventh inning to score Niki Carver. Freshman Melina Wilkison also had a double and reached base in two of her three plate appearances.
Buckeye This and That
Fans who enjoyed the warmer weather and sunshine on Sunday have another opportunity to see the Buckeyes on Tuesday – and even warmer temperatures are expected. Ohio State takes on Toledo a 4 p.m. on Tuesday and the early forecast calls to partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 60s.
The game will be streamed live on B1G+. Live stats will also be available on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Follow @OhioStateSB on Twitter for the latest news and schedule updates.