LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Leah Ledford hit a two-run homerun to propel a five-run third inning that gave the No. 17/22 Ohio State softball team to a 10-1 win over UIC Friday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium as part of the Courtyard by Marriott Airport Cardinal Tournament. The Buckeyes are now 17-3 overall, a program-best record through the first 20 games of the season, while the Flames fall to 4-15.
“Right now the team is playing excellent and I think a lot of it has to do with how much depth we have in our line-up and how supportive we are of each other even when we are getting switched around frequently,” Ledford said after the game. “We work so hard in practice and its paying off for us in wins. We are continuing to get better with every game and that is very encouraging going into Big Ten play next weekend.”
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 2-0 lead off RBI doubles from Courtney Pruner and Ledford in the first and second innings, respectively. They then stretched the lead to seven with five runs in the third. Alicia Herron added a third RBI double that scored Pruner before Rachael Shepherd plated both Herron and Tory Haddad with a long single to left field.
With the 5-0 lead and two outs, Ledford sent a long ball over the leftfield fence to bring Shepherd home and earn her first round-tripper of the season. Ohio State has out-scored opponents by a 28-4 margin in the third inning this season, marking the largest total output of any inning. The Buckeyes maintained the seven-run lead until the top of the 10th when they added three more to tally at least 10 runs for the fifth time this season.
With runners on the corners, Rebecca Schultz hit her first triple of the year, scoring Pruner and Kady Caughenbaugh, who singled up the middle as a pinch hitter for Dee Dee Hillman in the No. 2 spot. Schultz then scored a run of her own off a Whitney Cooper single to stretch the lead to 10-0. The Flames came back in the bottom half of the inning and pieced together a pair of singles and a fielder’s choice that sent Carly DeMarco home to break the shutout attempt by the Buckeyes.
Megan Miller earned her third win of the season in her second complete game outing. She struck out four and walked two, while giving up just one earned run. Sarah Clynes pitched three innings for the Flames, earning the loss, before giving way to Whitney Orellana in the fourth.
The Buckeyes return to action at noon Saturday against host Louisville before taking on Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. The game against the Cardinals will be webcast live by Louisville on its Web site, UofLsports.com. Subscription fees do apply.