April 28, 2002
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The latest record broken by the No. 20 Ohio State softball team came down to the wire as the Buckeyes allowed two runs in the bottom of the seventh before closing the books on Indiana’s season with a 5-4 win in Bloomington, Ind., Sunday. OSU’s win completed the doubleheader sweep of the Hoosiers in IU’s final game of the year and also set the mark for the longest win streak in program history with its 18th in a row. Breana Pozzi (So., Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) led the offense with two hits and joined Chrissy Fowler (Sr., Utica, Ohio/Wright State) as the team’s leader in RBI with two in the game. The Buckeyes improved to 49-9 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten while IU ended the year at 13-31-1 and 0-17 in the conference.
“Indiana came out and got some big hits to take an early lead,” Linda Kalafatis, OSU head coach, said. “Our kids have had incredible faith in their game when they have been down lately and were able to rally back. Indiana made it close at the end but I think our kids were not going to lose today and showed that on the field.”
IU, the visitors on the scoreboard for game two, opened with two fly outs and a walk by Heather Suca. Stacy Roth (Sr., Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon) gunned Suca down at second in a steal attempt to end the inning. OSU could not get its offense going until the fourth inning while the Hoosiers surged ahead to a 2-0 lead.
Katie Joy led off the third with a double to left center and took third on an errant pick off throw to second by Roth. After a strike out, Kristie Dugan singled to right to bring in Joy for a 1-0 lead. In the fourth and with one out following Abby Stark’s fielder’s choice, Joy doubled to right center to plate Stark for a 2-0 lead. After going three and out in the first three innings, the Buckeye offense got back on track. Jennifer Link (Jr., Yorba Linda, Calif./Sonora) opened the stanza with a single towards the pitcher followed by an Anna Smith (Sr., Walnut, Calif./Diamond Bar) bunt single to third. Wendy Allen (So., Moreno Valley, Calif./Moreno Valley) loaded the bases on a single to short to bring up Roth who grounded into a fielder’s choice with every runner advancing a base including Link to home. Fowler followed with a fielder’s choice to third that scored Smith to tie the game at two. With two outs, Pozzi singled to right to bring in Amy Ellis (So., Erie, Pa./Ball State), a pinch runner for Allen, and Fowler for a 4-2 Buckeye lead. IU would not respond and went down in order in the fifth and had one hit in the sixth with no runs to show.
In the OSU sixth, the Buckeyes added an insurance run that would prove beneficial later. With two out, Kristine Himes (Jr., Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) reached on an error in center and moved to second base. Pozzi, the next batter, drove her in with a single up the middle for a 5-2 lead. Kristi DeVries (So., Corona, Calif./Corona) was brought in in the seventh to close the deal and did so for OSU, but not with out drama.
DeVries allowed a single to Valerie White before White was thrown out on a fielder’s choice to Joy. After Kate Ray struck out for the second out in the inning, DeVries worked a 2-2 count on Dugan before Dugan uncorked a wind-aided home run over the right field fence to cut the lead to 5-4. DeVries settled in a got Brooke Monroe to fly out to left and end the game and earn her second save on the year.
The Buckeyes will play their final home contest of the regular season in a 5 p.m. Thursday game with Akron at Buckeye Field before closing out their 2002 slate with a pair of games at Penn State. OSU battles the Nittany Lions at 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.