Feb. 23, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ga.-The No. 21 Ohio State softball team (5-4) wrapped up play at the 2003 NFCA Leadoff Classic with a 4-3 win over Villanova Sunday. Senior quad-captain Amy Ellis (Erie, Pa.) led the way offensively for Ohio State, going 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and one RBI. Junior pitcher Kristi Devries (Corona, Calif.) picked up her fourth win of the season, pitching six innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits. Freshman Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio) pitched the seventh inning to pick up her third save of the year. The Buckeyes have now won four of their last five.

After a scoreless first inning, Stacy Hibma (Fr., Buena Park, Calif.) led off the top of the second with a walk. Pinch runner Nicole Lancaster (Fr., Magnolia, Ohio) then advanced to second on a passed ball and then to third on a wild pitch by Villanova hurler Theresa Hornick. Billie Jo Carder (Fr., Celina, Ohio) next reached on a fielder’s choice to score Lancaster from third to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead. Carder then advanced to second on an errant throw by Villanova catcher Kriste Romano and then to third courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by Rogeanna Hottinger (Sr., Newark, Ohio). Ellis then drove a double to the gap in left-center to score Carder and give Ohio State a 2-0 lead after two innings.

The Buckeyes would add two more to their lead two innings later in the fourth. Beth McAbier (Jr., Carrollton, Ohio) led off the inning with a double to left-center and advanced to third two batters later on an Ellis infield single. McAbier then scored the very next batter on an error by Villanova shortstop Ricci Lugo who bobbled the ball at second as the Wildcats attempted to pick off Ellis who stole second on the play. Jennifer Link (Sr., Yorba Linda, Calif.) then doubled through the right side, scoring Ellis from second and giving Ohio State a 4-0 advantage after four.

The Wildcats then made things a little more interesting in their next at bat, scoring all three of their runs in the bottom of the fourth. With runners at first and second with no outs, Sara Carlson singled to center field to score Robin Flier from second. A Hottinger throwing error from center field then allowed Krueger a free pass to home plate and Carlson to advance to third. Allison Wisniewski then singled through the middle to score Carlson for Villanova’s third run of the inning.

Both pitchers dominated both halves of the fifth and sixth innings as the two teams went down in order going into the seventh and final inning.

Baker came on in relief for DeVries in the seventh and retired the Wildcats in order for her third save of the season. The save helped DeVries secure her fourth win of the young season.

The Buckeyes will fly west next weekend to compete in the Cal State Fullerton/Worth Invitational Feb. 22-March 1. The Buckeyes are scheduled to face No. 18 Oregon State, No. 5 Washington, No. 4 and defending WCWS champion California and Portland State.