May 10, 2001
Making its first ever appearance in the seventh-annual Big Ten Tournament, the Ohio State softball team (46-17) took an early lead but couldn’t captialize on late-inning scoring opportunities and fell to Wisconsin, 2-1, in round-one of the double-elimination tournament, hosted by Big Ten regular-season champion Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
OSU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Wendy Allen (Fr., Moreno Valley, Calif./Moreno Valley doubled off the wall in center field. Chrissy Fowler (Jr.,Utica Ohio/Utica) came up big with a line drive-single to center field to score Allen from second base.
OSU had two hits in the opening inning. The Buckeyes managed just two for the remainder of the game.
The Badgers answered with two outs in the top of the third inning. Rightfielder Kerry Hagen smacked a line drive down the third base line. OSU third baseman Kristine Himes (So.,Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) managed to get her glove on the ball, deflecting it to shortstop Liz Kacsanek, but Hagen beat out the throw. With two out, shortstop Diana Consolmagno hit a line drive to left field. Third baseman Meghann Reiss followed with a double to the wall in right center field to score both Hagen and Consomagno.
“You have to give Reiss a lot of credit for coming up throught with such a big hit,” Linda Kalafatis, OSU head coach, said. “It was the difference in the game.”
Kristi DeVries (Fr., Corona, Calif./Corona) took the loss for the Buckeyes. She allowed seven hits and struck out three in 5.2 innings. Her record now stands at 16-8. Allen pitched the final 1.1 innings, striking out three and allowing one hit. Andrea Kirchberg held OSU to four hits and struck out five in the complete-game effort to improve to 21-10 for this season.
Despite only two hits in the final six innings, OSU had runners in scoring position in fourth and fifth and sixth innings.
“What the game came down to is they came through one more time than we did,” Kalafatis said. “We defintely had our opportunities.”
Himes walked to open the fourth inning. Sarah West (Jr.,Galloway, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) popped fouled a sacrifice bunt attempt to catcher Nikki Starry. Starry fired the ball over to second baseman Jade Gosse, who was covering second on the play. The throw was on line but the Gosse mishandled it, allowing Himes to reach third with one out.
Himes never went any further, however. Rogeanna Hottinger (Jr.,Newark, Ohio/Newark) popped up a bunt attmept to Reiss, the third baseman. After Liz Kacsanek (So.,Uniontown, Ohio/Green) walked, Kirchberg struck out Jenn Link (So.,Yorba Linda, Calif./Sonora) to get out of the inning with the Wisconsin lead still intact.
Allen led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a towering double that hit the base of the fence in right field. Kirchberg retired the next three batters on a two ground outs and a foul out to halt any possible rally.
After Himes led off the sixth with a walk, she was moved to second when Link reached first on an error Riess at third base, but Allen grounded out to second to end the inning.
“Our margin for error just got a lot smaller,” Kalafatis said.w