March 15, 2014


FRESNO, Calif. – The Ohio State softball team split its two games to open the Fresno State Classic on Friday, defeating Cal Poly, 5-0, before dropping a hard-fought 3-1 contest to Fresno State in the nightcap. The Buckeyes are now 10-13 on the season.

Game One: Ohio State 5, Cal Poly 0
Sophomore Jayla Saibene and junior Caitlin Conrad each hit home runs and Olivia O’Reilly tossed a complete game shutout to lift the Buckeyes to a 5-0 win over Cal Poly in Ohio State’s opening game of the Fresno State Classic.

Saibene got the Ohio State on the scoreboard first when she hit a solo home run to left field on the first pitch of her at bat. It was the first home run of Saibene’s career.

The Buckeyes were able to push across four runs in the second thanks in large part to a three-run home run to right field from Caitlin Conrad. Starting pitcher Olivia O’Reilly started the rally with a one-out single to left field, followed by a Taylor Watkins single. Anna Kirk, who was in to pinch run for O’Reilly scored on a throwing error by the Cal Poly pitcher to make the score 2-0. Conrad then delivered her team-leading third home run of the season, a shot over the right field fence. Evelyn Carrillo followed with a walk and Saibene picked up her second hit on the day when she singled up the middle, but the inning came to an end on a ground out by Cammi Prantl and fly out by Melaina Saalfeld.

From there, O’Reilly settled in and Cal Poly never seriously threatened offensively. The junior from Sylvania, Ohio, worked out of a jam in the fourth when she struck out Kim Westlund and retired Ashley Romano to end the threat.

In the sixth, Cal Poly got a base runner thanks to a one-out double, but O’Reilly once again shut the door thanks to a ground out and strikeout. Overall, O’Reilly went seven innings, scattering six hits while striking out three and walking none. It is the third shutout of her career.

Offensively, Saibene went 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored. Conrad went 1-for-3 with three RBIs while Watkins and O’Reilly registered the other Buckeye hits.

Game Two: Fresno State 3, Ohio State 1
Saibene picked up right where she left off in the first game, delivering a two-out single to center field that gave Ohio State a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Conrad started the rally with a walk, followed by a single up the middle by Carrillo and then Saibene’s RBI.

Fresno State tired the game in the bottom of the second thanks to a walk and a single to first base that scored Vonnie Martin. Starting pitcher Alex DiDomenico got out the inning thanks to a ground out to third and a diving catch in foul ground by catcher Melissa Rennie.

Ohio State had a scoring chance in the top of the third when Conrad and Carrillo started out the inning with back to back singles. However, a ground out by Saibene, a lineout by Prantl and a fly out by Saalfeld ended the threat.

Conrad made the defensive play of the game in the bottom of the fourth when she made a diving catch on a ball that would have otherwise been a standup double. That proved to be an important out as Fresno State then got back to back singles, but DiDomenico shut the door on the rally by getting Paige Gumz to fly out on the first pitch of her at bat.

In the bottom of the fifth, Fresno State led off the inning with a standup double, but Shelby Hursh, who came in to relieve DiDomenico, settled in and retired the next two batters. Brooke Ortiz hit a slow roller back to the pitcher and scored the go-ahead run. The Bulldogs added another run on a wild pitch to extend their lead to 3-1.

Erika Leonard drew a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh but Fresno State was able to fend off the rally by getting a strikeout, pop out and fly out to end the game.

Ohio State continues action at the Fresno State Classic on Saturday with games vs. Pacific (noon EST) and St. Mary’s (2:15 EST).