COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15-ranked Ohio State softball team rallied for three runs in the sixth inning and defeated Big Ten foe Iowa, 3-0, Saturday afternoon at New Buckeye Field in front of 435 fans. The Buckeyes are now 24-5 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten, while the Hawkeyes drop their second-consecutive contest and fall to 26-7 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
After a 5.5-inning defensive battle, the Buckeye bats lit up in the bottom of the sixth. Whitney Cooper started off the rally by hitting a single down the left field line and was sent home on a Vanessa Spears double to the left field warning track. Spears, a freshman from Brea, Calif., then finished her trip around the bases, beating the play at the plate, with a double by Leah Ledford, who advanced to third on the throw.
With the runner on third, Rachael Shepherd knocked down a bunt along the third base line and Ledford was able to evade the throw and extend the Buckeye lead to 3-0. Ohio State retired the Iowa side in three batters in the top of the seventh, a feat they matched in four previous innings, to secure the win.
In the circle, Kim Reeder struck out out six and threw her first complete one-hit game of the season. The senior from Salinas, Calif., also made two crucial outs in the field to limit the Iowa offense. The lone Hawkeye hit was produced by Katie Brown with a single up the middle in the fourth. The Buckeyes out-hit their opponent 6-1 on the day.
Iowa and Ohio State are scheduled to take the field in the second game of the series at 2 p.m,. Sunday in New Buckeye Field. Admission is free and the first 250 fans will receive a free rally towel courtesy of Nationwide Insurance. Kids are invited to run the bases at the conclusion of the game and to participate in a postgame autograph session with the Buckeye players.