LAS VEGAS Junior Kim Reeder came within one strike of her third career no-hitter and collected a season-high nine strikeouts to lead the 20th-ranked Ohio State softball team to a 3-1 win over New Mexico State Saturday at Eller Media Stadium in the UNLV Invitational. The Buckeyes are now 3-0 in Las Vegas and 14-4 overall, while the Aggies slip below .500 at 13-14.
Reeder (7-3) hit a batter in the sixth inning and allowed a one-out walk in the seventh, but got two outs and a 2-2 count with her no-hitter intact in New Mexico State’s final at bat. With winds steady at 30 miles per hour blowing out to right field, NMSU junior Stacey Lien lifted a fly ball over OSU right-fielder Brittany Goodchild, who crashed into the fence trying to make the catch. Lien went all the way to third on the play and it scored Kristy Randall, who had walked, but Reeder forced the next batter to groundout to end the game.
Finishing with her second career one-hitter, Reeder had gone 17.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run before the Aggies scored in the seventh. Lowering her earned run average to 0.91 on the season, she owns 48 strikeouts in 61.2 innings.
Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder led off the top of the fourth inning with a high, arching shot to right-centerfield that dropped over the fence to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead. It was her sixth home run of the season to move into a tie for the Big Ten lead.
Ohio State added two more runs in the top of the seventh to push its lead to 3-0. Senior Liz Caputo, senior Brittany Vanderink and Goodchild all singled, with Caputo and Vanderink scoring on Goodchild’s single and a groundout by Marder, respectively.
The Buckeyes got their first hit in the third inning when freshman Dee Dee Hillman knocked a bunt toward first base. She beat the throw, which skipped past the second baseman covering the bag, and Hillman advanced to second but was stranded their when Dillard was fortunate to get Vanderink to line out to centerfield and Goodchild to ground out to short.
Sophomore Tory Haddad followed Marder with a single to center in the fourth but was left at second.
Vanderink and Goodchild both had two hits to lead the Buckeyes and Marder had two runs batted in.
The Buckeyes return to Eller Media Stadium at 8:15 p.m. PT Saturday against Portland State.
Postgame Notes No. 20 Ohio State 3, New Mexico State 1 … March 8, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: The temperature was 70 degrees at first pitch but dropped quickly during the game and the wind picked up to a steady 30 miles per hour, which helped carry the Aggies’ lone hit to the fence with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
– The Buckeyes are now 13-2 when they score first this season.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Sophomore Sam Marder hit her sixth home run of the season Saturday to put Ohio Sate on top 1-0 Saturday. It marked her 16th career homer, which brings her within two homers of No. 4 on the OSU all-time home runs list. That spot is currently held by Megan Schwab, who hit 18 homers from 2004-07.
– Marder leads the Big Ten with 28 RBI and her six home runs are tied for the league lead.
– Senior Brittany Vanderink stole her ninth base in nine attempts this season in the seventh inning. She has stolen 25-consecutive bases dating back to last season and is 55-for-58 in her career. One more stolen base will tie Vanderink for fourth all-time at Ohio State in stolen bases with Cheryl Palaroan (1996-99).
– Buckeyes in the circle: In two starts this weekend in Las Vegas, Kim Reeder is 2-0, has thrown two complete games and owns 14 strikeouts in 14.0 innings. She owns 339 career strikeouts, which rank fourth all-time at Ohio State.
– Buckeyes vs. Aggies: Liz Caputo went 1-for-3 in the game and is 5-for-7 in two career games against New Mexico State. She went 4-for-4 against the Aggies in the 2006 season opener in Las Cruces, N.M.
– Buckeyes in the field: Ohio State did not commit an error in the game. New Mexico State hit only three balls to the outfield in the game, one of which was the run-scoring triple.
– Ohio State has now gone a school-record 54-consecutive games without being shut out. The previous school record was 28-straight games.
– Ohio State is now 60-30 all-time when ranked.
– Ohio State now leads the all-time series with New Mexico State 4-3.
– New Mexico State has 15 letterwinners back from its 2007 team that went 31-27.
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