Buckeyes lead 1-0 early, comeback bid comes up short

COLUMBUS, Ohio Illinois hit a pair of two-run home runs and the Buckeyes’ sixth-inning rally came up a run short as the 22nd-ranked Ohio State softball team fell, 4-3, to the Illini Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader at Buckeye Field. The contest marked the first softball game televised by the Big Ten Network.

Ohio State (22-8, 1-2 Big Ten) led 1-0 after two innings, but Illinois (17-16, 1-0 Big Ten) got two-run bombs from Shanna Diller in the third inning and Angelena Mexicano in the fifth.

The Buckeyes scored twice in the sixth, including one on a bases-loaded walk and the other on an Illinois error, but Illinois pitcher Claire DeVreese left the bases loaded three of eight Buckeyes stranded in the game. DeVreese (12-11) struck out seven and scattered five hits in a complete game effort.

Ohio State loaded the bases and scored once in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Three consecutive singles by freshman Karisa Medrano, sophomore Tory Haddad and Whitney Cooper started the inning and freshman Rachael Shepherd was hit by a pitch, but two Illini force-outs prevented any of those runners from scoring. That changed, however, when freshman Brittany Goodchild drew a walk to bring home Cooper.

Diller’s two-run home run to left-centerfield in the third inning staked the Illini to a 2-1 lead. It might have been a three-run advantage but Marder threw out Danielle Zymkowitz attempting to steal second after she led off with a walk one of two throw outs for Marder in the game.

In Ohio State’s two-run sixth, Marder walked and Medrano singled to left and both would eventually come around to score. Marder scored on an RBI single by Shepherd and Medrano scored on an Illinois error.

OSU junior Kim Reeder (11-5) struck out five, walked four and allowed eight hits in the game. Three of Illinois four runs were earned.

Ohio State and Illinois will begin the second game of the doubleheader at approximately 3 p.m.

Postgame Notes Illinois 4, No. 22 Ohio State 3 GAME 1 … March 30, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: Ohio State was the host Sunday for the Big Ten Network’s first softball game.
– Ohio State took a 1-0 lead after two innings, but lost to fall to 17-4 this season when scoring first.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Sophomore Sam Marder’s sixth-inning infield single extended her career-best hitting streak to 13 games.
– Freshman Karisa Medrano’s 2-for-3 effort at the plate marked her second multiple-hit game in three Big Ten contests this weekend.
– Buckeyes in the circle: Kim Reeder threw her eighth complete game in her last nine starts.
– Buckeyes in the field: Catcher Sam Marder threw out her 12th and 13th base runner attempting to steal a base in the game. Potential base stealers are only 9-for-22 this season against Marder.
– Ohio State is now 8-3 this season in one-run games.
– Ohio State is now 24-5 at Buckeye Field when ranked in the Top 25.
– Weather: Cloudy and 45 degrees at first pitch. Wind 5-17 MPH left to right. Drizzle during t he games.
– Ohio State now leads the all-time series with Illinois, 10-5, including 6-3 at Buckeye Field.

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