April 17, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State junior Billie Jo Carder hit a two-out, three-run home run in the seventh inning, but visiting Illinois hung on for an 8-7 win over Ohio State Sunday in the second game of a double-header at Buckeye Field. Ohio State, which won game one, 5-3, is now 20-14 overall and 4-6 in the Big Ten, while Illinois improves to 19-23 overall and wins its first Big Ten game in 12 league outings.
Carder’s homer was her second of the season and brought the Buckeyes to within one run of the Illini, but reliever Mary Miller got the third and final out of the game one batter later for her first save of the season. After hitting nine singles in the opener Sunday, Ohio State racked up 15 hits in game two, but once again all were singles until Carder’s bomb. OSU outhit Illinois 15-12 in the contest to suffer just its third defeat when outhitting or having the same number of hits as its opponent in 22 games.
Ohio State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but Illinois answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame and never trailed again despite the Buckeyes collecting 11 hits the rest of the way.
Carder (Celina, Ohio/Celina) finished the game with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and tied her career-high with four RBI, which she first set March 6 when she hit her first homer of the season, a grand slam against Mississippi State. Four other Buckeyes all had two hits in the contest, including senior Natalie Hales (Canton, Ohio/Eastern Michigan), freshman Brittany Vanderink (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood), sophomore Megan Schwab (Glendale, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain) and freshman Liz Caputo (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly). Three Ohio State pitchers combined in the loss, including junior Chelsea Baker (Gahanna, Ohio/DeSales), who suffered the loss to move to 3-2 on the season, and freshman Nicole Gragson (Long Beach, Calif./Wilson) and sophomore Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson).
Caputo and Carder both singled and scored in the second inning – Caputo on an RBI single by Baker and Carder on a double-steal with Baker. The Buckeyes singled three times in the third inning as Vanderink, senior Karisa Evans (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin) and Schwab all hit safely, but Illinois threw out two of them attempting to steal a base and got a pop out to end the scoring threat.
With Illinois up 4-2 after three innings, Ohio State tied the score at 4-4 in the fourth when Caputo, Carder and sophomore Christina Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Dobson) all hit consecutive singles, with Carder knocking in Caputo, who had stolen second base, and Douglas scoring on a wild pitch. The Illini tacked on two more runs of their own in the fourth inning to retake the lead and kept the Buckeyes off the scoreboard until Schwab and senior Ashley Cutcliff (Zionsville, Ind./U. of Florida) singled in the seventh inning and Carder launched her two-out dinger.
Vanderink stole two bases in the game, giving her 11 on the season to move into a tie for third place on the Ohio State freshman stolen bases list. Koyano set the record last season with 16.
Ohio State plays its first midweek games of the season this coming week when it travels to Wright State Tuesday for a double-header. The Buckeyes then travel to No. 16 Northwestern and No. 1 Michigan Friday next weekend.
### GO BUCKS! ###