March 15, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. – Behind the pitching of Olivia O’Reilly and Melanie Nichols and the hitting of Caitlin Conrad and Taylor Watkins, the Ohio State softball team picked up two wins on Saturday in the Fresno State Classic. The Buckeyes defeated Pacific, 4-1, and St. Mary’s, 5-0. With the wins, Ohio State’s record is now 12-13.
Game One: Ohio State 4, Pacific 1
O’Reilly threw her second complete game of the weekend and Ohio State’s offense came alive for four runs in the fifth inning to register a 4-1 victory over Pacific.
The Buckeyes’ first scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the third when Keelia Nester led off the inning with a walk. She was sacrificed over to second and then advanced to third on a single from Watkins. The inning would come to an end, however, on a fly out by Jayla Saibene and pop out by Evelyn Carrillo.
Pacific pushed across the first run of the game thanks to a walk and a double to center field. The inning ended, however, when Cammi Prantl made a diving catch in left field, saving a run.
Nester led off the bottom of the fifth with an infield single, was bunted over to second by Conrad and then reached third when she and Watkins were safe on a fielder’s choice. Nester was caught in a run down after a Saibene grounder, but a throwing error by Pacific allowed her to come home and tie the game at 1-1. Melaina Saalfeld then delivered the biggest blow of the inning, a two-run stand-up double that scored Saibene and Watkins. Erika Leonard then drove Saalfeld home with an infield single.
Pacific did not seriously threaten to score again until the top of the seventh. The leadoff batter reached on an error and the next walked. O’Reilly settled in, however, and retired the next three in order to end the game. In seven innings, she scatted just three hits, did not allow an earned run while striking out five.
Game Two: Ohio State 5, St. Mary’s 0
Melanie Nichols provided the pitching (six innings, no runs, three hits allowed) and Conrad and Watkins provided the hitting (combined 6-for-8 with two home runs and three RBIs) as the Buckeyes picked up their second win of the day.
Ohio State first scoring opportunity came in the top of the second. Carrillo led off the inning with a double to right field and Prantl followed with a bunt single. St. Mary’s was able to get out of the jam, however, thanks to a groundout, a strikeout and a pop out.
Conrad broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third when she sent a 2-1 pitch over the center field fence for her team-leading fourth home run of the season. Watkins followed with a single, but the Buckeyes were not able to get another hit in the inning.
Watkins increased the Buckeye lead to 2-0 in the top of the fifth when she sent the first pitch of her at-bat over the right centerfield fence. It was Watkins’ second home run of the season.
Ohio State put the game away in the top of the seventh when it struck for three runs of four hits. Conrad started it with a double to left field and Watkins followed with a RBI triple to right field. After Watkins scored on a wild pitch, Saibene singled to center field and eventually scored on a double by Prantl.
In the bottom of the seventh, the first two St. Mary’s batters reached base and Nichols was relieved by Shelby Hursh. With the bases loaded and one out, Hursh registered a strikeout and a groundout to third base ended the game.
Ohio State concludes action at the Fresno State Classic tomorrow when it faces Colorado State at noon EST.