COLUMBUS, Ohio – On a cool day in Southern California, the Ohio State softball team fell, 5-1, against No. 25 BYU and, 11-3 (five innings), against UC Santa Barbara during the third day at the 2011 Cathedral City Classic at the Big League Dreams Sports Park. The Buckeyes (4-9, 0-0 Big Ten) will conclude play at the Division I elite national tournament against No. 18/22 Nebraska at 8:30 a.m. (PT) before taking on No. 2/3 UCLA at 11:00 a.m. (PT).
In game one, the Buckeyes and Cougars had to wait an hour before the field was ready for play after early morning rain showers scattered over the city of Palm Springs – known for its usual sunny and pleasant days.
After the Cougars drew two walks to begin the game and with runners on second and third, senior pitcher Karisa Medrano was called for an illegal pitch, allowing lead-off hitter J.C. Clayton to put her team ahead, 1-0. Freshman Audrey Plant then came into the game for Medrano and sent down the next two BYU batters to end the top half of the first.
In the second, Brigham Young added its second run following a lead-off double by Katie Manuma. With the BYU first baseman on third, sophomore catcher Cara Longworth miss threw the throw back to Plant, allow Manuma to score, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
The Buckeyes cut their deficit in half after freshman Evelyn Carrillo drove in junior co-captain Alicia Herron in the bottom of the third to make it 2-1. Herron reached second base after the BYU left fielder dropped a fly ball that would have ended the inning.
However, BYU extended the lead back to two runs when right fielder Delaney Willard hit a solo homer to dead center field with one out off Plant for the 3-1 advantage.
The Buckeyes best opportunity of the game came during the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and Herron, senior Brittany Goodchild and Longworth on base, BYU pitcher Pagie Affleck worked herself out of the OSU rally as sophomore Megan Coletta grounded out to second.
Affleck pitched a complete game vs. the Buckeyes, allowing just three hits and one run, striking out five OSU batters. Medrano falls to 1-5 on the year, allowing one run.
In game two against the Gauchos, the first two innings went scoreless until Ohio State ran into trouble in the third.
The Gauchos scored five runs during the inning after two defensive errors by the Buckeyes. With runners on second and third, a wild pitch by Medrano allowed Brooke Putich to score, while Kathryn Pilpil plated another after Longworth’s throw from the backstop sailed over the Buckeye pitcher’s glove to make it 2-0. The Gauchos added another run with an RBI single by Lauren Boser. UC Santa Barbara broke the game open on a two-run home run by Allison Taylor when the ball bounced off Dee Dee Hillman’s glove in left field and over the fence to make it 5-0. The USCB long ball ended Medrano’s day in the circle as freshman Kasie Kelly came into the game to end the Gauchos’ big inning.
Down 5-0, the Buckeyes needed to answer quickly. In the bottom of the inning, Coletta lead off the inning with a single to center field and advanced to second following a sacrifice bunt by junior Vanessa Spears. The next batter, Hillman singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Herron then connected on a pitch and singled to right field to give the Buckeyes their first run of the game, scoring Coletta. After both Hillman and Herron moved up a base following a wild pitch by UCSB pitcher Andriana Collins, Carrillo posted a two-RBI single up the middle to make it 5-3. However, the rally ended after Collins got Goodchild to pop up to the third baseman to end the Buckeye momentum.
The following at bat for the Gauchos, UC Santa Barbara extended their lead to eight runs with a six-run fourth inning that included six hits. The Buckeyes went to sophomore pitcher Melanie Nichols with the bases loaded. After a walk to Kathryn Pilpil to make the score 6-3, Nichols claimed two force outs at home the next two UCSB batters. However, the Gauchos were able to collect four hits with two outs that plated five runs to extend the lead to, 11-3.
Krista Cobb closed out the game for UC Santa Barbara, throwing two innings and allowing just two hits to complete the five-inning victory over the Buckeyes.
Medrano falls to 1-5 overall after pitching 2.2 innings with five hits and one earned run, striking out four UCSB batters.