COLUMBUS, Ohio –With the bat of freshman catcher Melissa Rennie, the Ohio State softball rallied to defeat Evansville, 12-4, in eight innings Sunday morning to conclude play at the South Alabama Invitational at Jaguar Field in Mobile, Ala. Rennie, a native of Wellington, Ohio, hit two home runs with four RBI to help the Buckeyes (4-6, 0-0 Big Ten) claim the come-from-behind win vs. the Purple Aces.
The Scarlet and Gray bats came alive in extra innings as the squad posted nine runs on five hits in top of the eighth. With runners on first and third, Rennie slugged a home run to left center to put Ohio State ahead, 6-3, with sophomores Julia Pecina and Cara Longworth on base. The Buckeyes added six more runs following an RBI single by Dee Dee Hillman, a two-run home run by freshman Evelyn Carrillo and a three-run homer run by Longworth – her first career long ball as a Buckeye.
Down 3-2 heading into the top of the seventh, the Buckeyes needed a run. Ohio State began the inning with back-to-back singles by Hillman and shortstop Alicia Herron. Following a fielder’s choice by Carrillo, Hillman, the tying run, advanced to third. Ohio State tied the game, 3-3, following a throwing error by the UE shortstop, allowing Hillman to score safely to force extra innings.
The Buckeyes got on the board in the top of the first. After a leadoff hit by Hillman,Carrillo laced a one-out single down the left field line to advance Hillman to third. Megan Coletta then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 1-0.
After shutting down the Purple Aces through the first two innings, Kasie Kelly had some trouble in the bottom of the third. Following a leadoff single by UE right fielder Halie Malone, Katie Sears hit a one-out triple to right center to tie it, 1-1. Alicia Betancur followed with another triple, this time through the right side, scoring Sears to make it 2-1.
The Scarlet and Gray then made a pitching change, going with senior Brittany Goodchild. The next batter, the Purple Aces were able to put the ball in play as Jen Stahlhut placed an infield single to give Evansville a 3-1 lead.
The Buckeyes scored their second run of the morning after Rennie lead off the top of the fifth with a home run to left center. In three games at the South Alabama Invitational, Rennie went 7-for-8 at the plate with three home runs and six RBI.
After the three-run inning by the Purple Aces, Goodchild got into a groove and pitched a great game for the Buckeyes, allowing just four hits after the third. The native of West Hills, Calif., picked up her first career win, throwing 5.2 innings, allowing one earned run, five hits and striking out one UE batter.
Up next, Ohio State will head to the 2011 Cathedral City Classic in California Feb. 25-27. The Buckeyes begin the tournament with a game vs. Texas A&M at 1 p.m. ET Feb. 25.