Kim Reeder throws 190 pitches in complete-game loss; Sam Marder hits 13th homer

COLUMBUS, Ohio Penn State’s Sam Hovanec connected on a two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning breaking a 1-1 tie and the Nittany Lions held on for a 3-2 win over the Ohio State softball team Sunday in game one of a doubleheader at Buckeye Field.

Ohio State is now 26-20 overall and 4-11 in the Big Ten and will attempt to snap a four-game skid in game two Sunday. The Nittany Lions are now 31-15 overall and 5-6 in the league.

Throwing 190 pitches, Ohio State junior Kim Reeder tossed her 19th complete game and set her career-high with 10 innings pitched. She tied her career-high with 12 strikeouts, but sees her record slip to 14-14 this season.

Ohio State Sophomore Sam Marder hit a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the 11th, but it was not enough to erase the two-run deficit caused by Hovanec’s homer. It capped a four-hit day for Marder, which tied her career best effort.

Penn State senior pitcher Ashley Esparza matched Reeder’s effort with a complete-game outing, striking out seven Buckeyes in improving to 14-9.

The Buckeyes squandered two chances two chances to win it in the bottom of the seventh. Marder led off the inning with a single to left-centerfield, but pinch runner Leah Ledford was called out on the next pitch for leaving the base early. With two outs, senior Brittany Vanderink walked and sophomore Tory Haddad followed with a double to the gap in left-centerfield, giving the speedy Vanderink a good chance to score from first. She tripped and fell between third base and home, though, and had to retreat to third base. Freshman Rachael Shepherd then grounded to second to end the scoring opportunity and send the game to extra innings.

Sophomore Rebecca Schultz singled in the eighth and Marder singled in the ninth, but both were stranded.

Penn State produced two singles in the bottom of the ninth, but Shepherd snagged a hard grounder at third off the bat of Ashley Griffith and fired across the diamond to get her at first.

The two teams combined for only one base runner in the 10th, leading to the two-homer 11th and the win for Penn State.

In addition to Marder’s four hits, every Ohio State starter but one had one base hit.

With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Penn State left-fielder Ashley Griffith went up the wall to snag a fly ball off the bat of OSU freshman Rachael Shepherd. The Buckeyes would get two runners on base in the at bat, but were denied the go-ahead run.

The Nittany Lions got their potential winning run to third base with one out in the top of the seventh, but a line-out to OSU left-fielder Dee Dee Hillman got the second out, bringing Penn State’s Danielle Kinley to the plate. Kinley, who doubled and singled earlier in the game, was called out looking to end the inning and send it to the bottom of the seventh.

The Buckeyes jumped on top with a run in the bottom of the third inning, with Vanderink scorching a two-out single up the middle to score Hillman from second base. Freshman Brittany Goodchild also bounced a single up the middle with two outs to move Hillman, who was hit by a pitch, into scoring position.

In the top of the third inning, Reeder began a string of nine-straight putouts that lasted until the top of the sixth when Kayce Zielinksi knocked an RBI single to left-centerfield to score pinch-runner Carnie Smith from second base and tie the game at 1-1. Smith was running for Esparza, who doubled to right-center.

The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will begin game two of the doubleheader at approximately 2:15 p.m.

Postgame Notes Penn State 3, Ohio State 2 GAME ONE … April 20, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: Ohio State is now 3-1 in extra-inning games this season. The Buckeyes’ previous three extra-inning wins were all walk-off victories. 
– The 11-inning game was Ohio State’s longest at Buckeye Field since April 2, 2004 when Minnesota beat Ohio State, 1-0, in 10 innings.
– Ohio State is now 19-6 this season when scoring first.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Senior Brittany Vanderink’s RBI single in the third inning was her 206th-career hit. With one more base knock, she will tie Megan Schwab (2004-07) for seventh-place all-time at Ohio State in base hits.
– Sophomore Sam Marder’s four-hit game marks her sixth game this season with three or more hits.
– Marder’s 13 home runs this season move her closer to the single-season record of 16, set by Kristine Himes in 2002. Marder’s 23 career homers already rank third all-time at Ohio State.
– Marder’s solo home run marked her 96th career RBI to tie Nicole Paloney for fifth-place all-time at Ohio State.
– Buckeyes in the circle: Kim Reeder has started 11 of Ohio State’s 15 Big Ten games this season.
– Reeder’s 12 strikeouts tied her career high, set last Friday in a 3-2 win at Indiana. 
– Buckeyes in the field: Ohio State did not commit an error in the 11-inning game.
– Weather: Mostly cloudy and 58 degrees at first pitch. No wind.
– The Buckeyes are now 38-25 all-time against Penn State, including 16-4 at Buckeye Field. Ohio State swept the Nittany Lions in Columbus last May to wrap up the Big Ten title, then eliminated Penn State from the Big Ten tournament, also at Buckeye Field.
– In addition to Ohio State earning the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament last season, Penn State was one of three conference teams to receive at-large selections to the postseason. The Nittany Lions have eight field starters and all four pitchers back this season from that team.

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Contact: Tim Stried,