April 8, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team scored in four innings and led by five runs before Illinois was able to dent the scoreboard in a 5-3 win over the Illini Saturday at Buckeye Field. After posting an 8-7 come-from-behind win Friday night, the Buckeyes notch their first Big Ten sweep of the season and improve to 22-14 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, while Illinois drops to 14-22 and 1-5 in the conference.
The sweep is Ohio State’s first of the Illini since 2002 when the Buckeyes won a school-record 55 games.
Facing an Illinois team ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring and home runs, OSU junior pitcher Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) was in control from start to finish, retiring the first eight Illini batters of the game and 15 of the first 18 en route to her ninth complete game of the season. She struck out five and improves to 11-8, having won seven of her last 10 decisions. A three-run home run by Illinois’ Angelena Mexicano in the sixth inning was the only run-scoring hit allowed by Juarez.
“Jamee threw a great game and for all but one pitch, she was really on,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “We really cleaned it up defensively, which we needed to do. We’re getting our bats back, too. We had a little lull there for a while, but now we think any girl in our line-up can step in there and get a hit. We have to be ready for tomorrow against Northwestern. They are a team that was just one game from the College World Series last year, but we know we can compete with those high-caliber teams.”
OSU is now 7-0 at Buckeye Field this season, where it is in a stretch of games that will include 18 of 19 at home.
Ohio State scored one run in the second inning, two in the third, one in the fifth and one in the sixth. The Buckeyes are now 19-0 when leading after four innings this season and 18-3 when scoring three or more runs.
Juarez went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI single in the third inning, while senior Billie Carder (Celina, Ohio/Celina) went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the third inning to extend her current career-best hitting streak to seven games. In six Big Ten games so far this season, Carder is hitting .421 with a team-high eight hits, six RBI and 14 total bases.
Junior Lauren Daykin (Melbourne, Australia/Manatee C.C., Fla.) drove in Ohio State’s first run in the second inning with a squeeze bunt to score Juarez, who had doubled. Carder and Juarez had back-to-back RBI hits in the third inning and Daykin’s single in the fifth inning scored Carder, who had singled.
The Buckeyes’ final run came in the fifth inning when junior Megan Schwab (Glendale, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain) hit her third-career triple and scored one batter later on an RBI single by freshman Courtney Pruner (Akron, Ohio/Ellet).
Illinois starter Kacey Coonce pitched into the fourth inning and allowed three earned runs before being relieved by Claire DeVreese, who has pitched in 35 of the Illini’s 36 games. She allowed two earned runs in 3.2 innings.
Ohio State takes on No. 15 Northwestern at noon Sunday in a doubleheader.
### GO BUCKS! ###