LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Ohio State softball team opened the 2009 season with wins over Cleveland State, 10-2, and UMKC, 12-1, Friday afternoon at the Hotel Encanto Invitational at New Mexico State. The Buckeyes are now 2-0 on the season with three more games scheduled for this weekend.
In game one vs. the Vikings, the Buckeyes came away with the win in five innings after securing the eight-run advantage. They tallied 13 hits in the win, led by freshman Alicia Herron with three, including a solo homerun in the third. All-American Sam Marder also homered in the bottom of the third to give Ohio State a 6-0 lead.
Courtney Pruner, playing in her first game since the 2007 season, led the charge in the first by doubling in Karisa Medrano and then scoring on a double by Herron to lead the Buckeyes to a 4-0 lead after one. The homeruns by Herron and Marder stretched the lead to six until the fourth when Marder, Pruner and Herron each sent runs home. Leah Ledford scored the eighth and final run in the bottom of the seventh off a single by Cortney Cannon.
Senior pitcher Kim Reeder gave up struck out seven in the win, giving up five hits and no earned runs.
Against UMKC, the Buckeyes used a five-run output in the fourth to secure the advantage. Whitney Cooper doubled in a pair of runs and then scored the third when Rachael Shepherd reached first on a fielding error. Shepherd would make the rounds, scoring behind Becca Schultz off a single by Brittany Goodchild, who finished the day 2-4 from the plate.
After two scoreless innings, a seven-run onslaught in the seventh gave Ohio State a 12-0 lead. Dee Dee Hillman and Katie Simonton each touched home before Shepherd belted a three-run shot, scoring Cooper and Cannon.
Megan Miller pitched six scoreless innings, giving up four hits. She held UMKC hitless until the bottom of the fifth when Betsy Hanley singled for the Kangaroos. Carli Slagle would score the lone run off a solo homer to leftfield in the bottom of the seventh.
Ohio State takes on Ohio University at 7 p.m. (MT) Saturday before concluding tournament action Sunday against Colorado State and New Mexico State at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively.