Sam Marder’s two-run homer in top of seventh wins it for No. 21 Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio For the second time Friday and the 10th time this season, Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder drove in the game-winning runs as the 21st-ranked Buckeyes came from behind in the top of the seventh inning to beat Bowling Green, 3-2, at Buckeye Field.

The Buckeyes are now 21-6 overall this season and 8-1 when the game is decided in their last at bat. The remaining games of the Buckeye Invitational originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday were cancelled Thursday, sending Ohio State into its Big Ten season at home next weekend with its best record since 2002.

Earlier Friday, Marder delivered a walk-off single to send Ohio State past Eastern Michigan, 2-1. In the nightcap against Bowling Green, the Buckeyes were down to their final strike, trailing BGSU 2-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh.

But unfortunately for Bowling Green, Ohio State had its best hitter at the plate and BGSU pitcher Hayley Wiemer chose to pitch to the Big Ten’s RBI leader and member of the USA Softball Preseason Player of the Year Watch List. On a 2-2 pitch, Marder sent Wiemer’s offering deep over the left-centerfield wall for her ninth home run of the season and the Buckeyes were on top, 3-2.

Ohio State reliever Lindsay Bodeker, who had missed the last two weeks because of injury, allowed a lead-off double in the bottom of the seventh but set down the next three Falcons in order to give the Buckeyes their second win of the day.

“Those two teams came out ready to play us today and played us very tough,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “We seemed to leave a lot of runners on base and couldn’t sustain any rallies today. I don’t know if the weather was a part of that but obviously Sam Marder came up huge and we were able to do just enough to win. And our kids were resilient to the fact that we were playing at home and weren’t going to let any games slip by.”

Overall, Ohio State scored five runs on the day and Marder drove in all five of them to up her season RBI total to 40. That already ranks fifth in a single-season at Ohio State and is 22 away from the school record.

After Bowing Green scored in the bottom of the first inning two take a 1-0 lead, the Buckeyes got on the board in the third when senior Brittany Vanderink drew a one-out walk, went to second on a groundout by freshman Brittany Goodchild and scored when Marder laced a single to right field.

Ohio State got singles from sophomore Tory Haddad, senior Liz Caputo and sophomore Whitney Cooper over the next three innings but could not come up with that one more hit to send them home. That changed in the seventh, however, when Marder changed all the momentum with one swing of the bat.

Sophomore pitcher Megan Miller was effective in 4.0 inning of work, allowing three hits and one earned run with a strikeout and a walk. Bodeker relieved her to begin the fifth inning and threw three innings of shutout ball to earn her fifth win of the season in six decisions.

“It was great to have Lindsay Bodeker back and Megan Miller threw well, too,” Kalafatis said. “Bodeker looked right on form I didn’t know if she would come back that sharp but she did. We’ll get in a good week of practice next week because there are still some things we’re trying to work out. I’m pleased with how committed our kids are to continuing to work hard and get better and work on the things we know we need to work on.”

Ohio State has the rest of the weekend off and a full week to prepare for two Big Ten opponents next weekend. The Buckeyes will host Iowa at 6 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday before taking on Illinois in a doubleheader Sunday that will be televised nationally by the Big Ten Network.

Postgame Notes No. 21 Ohio State 3, Bowling Green 2 … March 21, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: The next time Ohio State takes the field it will be in a Big Ten game as Iowa visits Buckeye Field next Friday at 6 p.m. The Buckeyes’ 21-6 record heading into Big Ten play is their best since 2002 when they were 27-6.
– The win over Bowling Green was Ohio State’s fourth come-from-behind win this season. The Buckeyes entered the game 0-6 when trailing after six innings this season (trailed 2-1 after sixth inning against BGSU).
– Buckeyes at the plate: Sophomore Sam Marder’s 2-for-3 day at the plate extended her current hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. During that 11-game stretch she is batting .460 (17-37).
– Of Ohio State’s 21 wins this season, Marder has the game-winning RBI in 10 of them.
– Marder hit her ninth homer of the season in the win over BGSU and now has 19 homers in her career, which gives her sole possession of fourth place on the Ohio State career homers list. Marder had been tied at No. 4 with Megan Schwab (2004-07).
– In her last three games, Marder is 7-for-9 with two home runs, a double and eight RBI. Her 40 RBI this season put her only two shy of fourth place on the OSU single-season RBI list, currently held by Jen Fredrickson (42 in 1994).
– Buckeyes in the circle: Sophomore Lindsay Bodeker’s three innings of shutout relief work were her first pitches thrown since Feb. 24 against Fordham in Palm Springs. She left the game with a leg injury after one batter.
– Buckeyes in the field: Freshman third-baseman Rachael Shepherd saw the two extremes in line drives but made the play on both of them. In the second inning she charged in and dove to snag a soft liner off a bunt, but in the third inning she got her glove up just in time to catch a laser hit to her even with the bag.
– Shepherd has no errors in her last 11 games and only one error in her last 18 games (60 chances).
– The Buckeyes are now 7-1 this season in one-run games.
– Ohio State is now 183-26 all-time in non-conference games at Buckeye Field.
– When ranked in the Top 25, Ohio Sate is now 23-3 at Buckeye Field.
– Weather: Mostly cloudy and 43 degrees at first pitch, falling. Wind 5-10 MPH out to right-centerfield.
– Ohio State is now 22-10-1 all-time against Bowling Green.

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