Sam Marder drives in game-tying and game-winning runs in Ohio State’s last at bat

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. Sophomore Sam Marder’s two-run single in the top of the seventh inning gave the Ohio State softball team its first lead of the day at 5-4 over Minnesota and the Buckeyes would make it stand as the final score to win their final Big Ten game of the season Sunday in game two of a doubleheader at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium in Minneapolis. Marder notched career RBIs No. 100 and 101 on the play and collected her 11th game-winning RBI of the season.

Only a nonconference doubleheader against Ohio University Wednesday remains for Ohio State, which is now 31-22 overall and 7-13 in the Big Ten. With a 2-2 weekend, the Buckeyes remain in the No. 9 spot in the league standings and will be checking scores next weekend to see if the Buckeyes will be among the eight teams to qualify for the Big Ten tournament May 8-10.

“This was the third game this weekend we have scored runs in the seventh inning to overcome a deficit,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “Obviously Sam Marder having an opportunity at end to make a difference was key and she came though as she has done all season. But even before that we had some hitters, especially Rebecca Schultz, Whitney Cooper and Rachael Shepherd, who may not have had great days but hit their hardest balls in that last inning to put us in a position to win.”

Minnesota (24-15, 7-7 Big Ten) scored once in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie, but Ohio State loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Rebecca Schultz singled to center, sophomore Whitney Cooper doubled to the wall in right-center and freshman Rachael Shepherd reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to second that held the runners at second and third.

Senior Liz Caputo then grounded to the pitcher and the force out was made at home, but Marder then stepped to the plate and Minnesota had to pitch to her for the first time in the game after walking her the four previous times. And Marder made them pay, lining a single to centerfield that allowed Cooper and Shepherd to score to give Ohio State is first lead of the day at 5-4.

A ground out and a line out ended Ohio State’s last at bat and then it was up to junior pitcher Kim Reeder and the OSU defense to make the lead stand up. They did just that as Reeder notched her second 1-2-3 inning of the game with two groundouts and a pop out.

Reeder improves to 17-15 with the win, striking out four and walking two. She is now 3-0 in her career against Minnesota.

With one out in the second inning, Cooper hit her first career triple a long fly ball to the warning track down the right-field line and she scored one batter later when Shepherd hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

That tied the game at 1-1, but Minnesota scored twice in the bottom of the second on three hits, a walk and a sacrifice bunt. The Buckeyes brought the deficit back to one at 3-2 with a run in the top of the third when sophomore Sam Marder walked, freshman Dee Dee Hillman had a bunt single and senior Brittany Vanderink moved them both up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Marder then scored when sophomore Tory Haddad flied to right for another sacrifice fly.

Katie Dalen got the start in the circle for Minnesota, but was replaced by the Gophers’ No. 1 pitcher and winner in the first game, Briana Hassett, to begin the fifth inning. Hassett allowed two singles in that inning, those coming from senior Brittany Vanderink and Haddad, but they were left stranded.

Hassett got into control problems in the sixth when she walked four Buckeyes, including Vanderink with the bases loaded to tie the game at 3-3. Hassett falls to 17-7 with the loss.

Cooper ended the game 2-for-3 with a triple and a double, while Hillman went 2-for-2.

Postgame Notes Ohio State 5, Minnesota 4 GAME TWO … April 27, 2008
– Of the Buckeyes’ 11 come-from-behind wins this season, seven have come when they trailed after the fifth inning.
– Ohio State played three one-run games this weekend and went 1-2 in those games. The Buckeyes are 13-7 in one-run games overall this season.
– Ohio State out-hit Minnesota 9-5. The Buckeyes are now 22-3 when they out-hit their opponent.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Sophomore Sam Marder’s four walks bring her school-record total this season to 57. That is 13 more free passes than she had last year when she first set the school single-season walks record with 44. Marder was walked 37 times in 20 Big Ten games this season.
– Buckeyes in the circle: Junior Kim Reeder threw her 50th career complete game.
– Buckeyes in the field: Sophomore second baseman Rebecca Schultz had two assists and a putout in the game and has not committed an error in her last 50 attempts (19 games).
– Weather: Cloudy and 42 degrees at first pitch. Wind 5-10 MPH in from right field. Snow during fifth inning.
– Ohio State is now 30-56 all-time against Minnesota, including 10-26 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

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