Haddad, Shepherd and Cooper smash three-consecutive home runs in win

By Matt Gottfried, Ohio State Athletics Communications 

COLUMBUS, Ohio In its final game at the original Buckeye Field, the Ohio State softball team launched its own set of fireworks with back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat Ohio 3-0 in game two of a doubleheader.

With the sweep, Ohio State improves to 33-22 this season, but it must now wait until the Big Ten tournament is finalized this weekend to see if another game will be added to its slate. The Bobcats, meanwhile, fell below .500 at 22-23 this season.

“Our pitching was very good tonight and we executed well for the most part,” said Ohio State coach Linda Kalafatis. “We played with an energy we haven’t always had with the kind of youth we have on this club. Obviously Sam Marder had a great day and it was great to see Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink go out with wins and good games.”

Ohio starting pitcher Emily Wethington kept the Buckeye bats in check through the early part of the game, surrendering just four hits in the first five innings. But in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ohio State exploded for three consecutive home runs to lead off the inning. Sophomore Tory Haddad started the offensive barrage with a solo blast to left center, her third of the season. Freshman Rachael Shepherd then followed with a solo shot, her first of the season, and not to be outdone, sophomore Whitney Cooper responded with an encore performance of her own, sending Wethington’s offering deep into the night over the centerfield fence.

It was the first recorded time in the history of the program the Buckeyes hit back-to-back-to-back home runs.

“These could have been meaningless games,” Kalafatis said. “But tonight we showed that it meant something to us.”

But it wasn’t just Ohio State’s bats making noise in the victory, as junior Kim Reeder picked up her 18th win of the season in the circle, holding the Bobcats to just two hits in her 10th career shutout. Reeder gave up only one hit through the first six innings en route to her 20th career at win at Buckeye Field. She also faced 22 batters, just one more than the minimum.

Beginning in June, the home of the Buckeyes will undergo a $5.9 million renovation. Though the location will remain the same, nothing else will. 1,500 seats will be in the facility, as well as indoor and outdoor batting cages. An improved press box, player lounge and concession stands are just a few of the many changes Buckeye Field will undergo this summer.

Postgame Notes Ohio State 3, Ohio University 0 GAME TWO … April 30, 2008
– In the 21 seasons that Ohio State has played at Buckeye Field, the Buckeyes are 325-135.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Senior Brittany Vanderink went 2-for-3 for her team-leading 23rd-multiple hit game of the season. That is second-most most multi-hit games in a season since 1998. Anna Smith’s 34 in 2002 stand as the most.
– Vanderink has nine hits in her last five games. She has at least two hits in four of her last five games.
– Buckeyes in the circle: Kim Reeder’s two-hit shutout marks the fewest number of hits allowed in a start since March 15 against California in Sacramento, Calif.
– Buckeyes in the field: Ohio State did not commit an error in the game. The Buckeyes are 8-4 this season when they do not commit an error.
– Weather: Clear and 57 degrees at first pitch. Little wind.

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