Feb. 8, 2003
Miami, Fla.-The No. 16 Ohio State softball team fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 6-4, Saturday in its third game at the Golden Panther Invitational in Miami, Fla. The loss drops Ohio State to 1-2 while Alabama improves to 6-2 on the year. Jennifer Link (Sr., Yorba Linda, Calif.) led the way for the Buckeyes offensively, going 3-for-4 with two RBI’s and a triple. Karisa Evans (So., Franklin, Ohio) also went 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Down 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, the Buckeyes saw their best chance to tie and take the lead slip away when pinch runner Amy Ellis (Sr., Erie, Pa.) was called out at home after tagging from third on a Kristi DeVries (Jr., Corona, Calif.) fly ball to left field. Stacy Hibma (Fr., Buena Park, Calif.) led off the inning with a single to center field before Ellis entered the game as a pinch runner. Consecutive singles by Link and Evans then moved Ellis to third. DeVries then flied out to left field and Ellis was thrown out by Alabama left fielder Angela Johnson at home to end the Buckeye scoring threat.
The Buckeyes were never able to recover from the three-run fourth inning by the Crimson Tide. After Leah White doubled to left field, Jennifer Reach followed with an RBI single to score White and cut the Ohio State lead to 4-3. Starting pitcher Katie Chain (Sr., North Canton, Ohio), who had previously been replaced by Chelsea Baker (Fr., Gahanna, Ohio) in the second inning, then reentered the game for Baker. A Jaclyn Wilkins single to center then moved White to third. Two batters later, Lacy Prejean singled up the middle just over the reaching arms of Chain to score two more runs and help Alabama take the lead for good. Alabama first got on the board in the top of the second when Wilkins hit a 2 RBI double, scoring White and Dominique Accetturo to give Alabama a 2-0 lead.
Ohio State battled back in the bottom half of the second highlighted by a two out, two RBI triple by Link to score Jennifer Johnson (So., La Mirada, Calif.) and Rogeanna Hottinger (Sr., Newark, Ohio) and even the score at 2-2. Evans then followed with a single through the right side, scoring Link from third and giving Ohio State a 3-2 lead after two innings of play.
Ohio State added another run in the bottom of the third. Kristine Himes (Sr., Bolivar, Ohio) led off the inning with a double to center field. One batter later, Hottinger singled to advance Himes to third and then scored as Accetturo muffed the ground ball in front of second base.
Pitcher Erin Wright picked up the win for Alabama while Chain (0-2) received the loss. Chain went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs on five hits while striking out four.
The Buckeyes will now meet Florida Atlantic as either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the tournament pairings at 6:30 p.m. Depending on the outcome, Ohio State will either play in the championship game at 1:30 p.m. Sunday or in the consolation game at 10:30 a.m.