Marder delivers ninth game-winning RBI of 2008; Kim Reeder throws third one-hitter

COLUMBUS, Ohio Sophomore Sam Marder’s two-out single to right-centerfield in the bottom of the seventh inning scored senior Brittany Vanderink from second base to give the No. 21 Ohio State softball team a 2-1 win over Eastern Michigan Friday in the Buckeyes’ home opener.

Ohio State (20-6) has won its last six home openers at Buckeye Field and Friday marked the second time the Buckeyes have done so in walk-off fashion. Defending Mid-American Conference champion Eastern Michigan falls to 6-12.

Marder drove in Ohio State’s first run of the game with an RBI single in the third inning and it appeared that might be all it would take to get the win as Ohio State junior Kim Reeder was working on a shutout in the circle and a wind-chill of 31 degrees further keep both offenses in check. But EMU’s Jenny Scherer slammed a two-out solo home run over the wall in left-centerfield to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning and suddenly the Buckeyes had more work to do. 

Ohio State got a one-out single from sophomore Tory Haddad in the bottom of the sixth but the Eagles turned a double play to get out of the inning. Reeder hit the first EMU batter in the top of the seventh but retired the next three batters to set up a possible walk-off win situation for the Buckeyes.

And that is exactly what they did. Senior Liz Caputo slapped a perfectly-placed ground ball between the pitcher and second-baseman to lead off the inning with an infield single. Freshman Dee Dee Hillman’s sacrifice bunt got Caputo to second and senior Brittany Vanderink’s groundout to first allowed Caputo to go to third. Freshman Brittany Goodchild then drew a full-count walk, bringing Marder to the plate. She calmly lined a single to right-centerfield and the Buckeyes celebrated as Caputo trotted home.

Improving to 11-4 this season, Reeder went the distance for her seventh-consecutive complete game. She struck out seven, walked four and allowed only one hit the sixth inning homer by Scherer. It marks her third one-hitter of the season.

Marder’s third-inning single extended her current hitting streak to 10 games, which ties her career long. She and Goodchild both went 2-for-3 to lead Ohio State, while the Buckeyes’ two runs came from their No. 8 hitter Caputo (1-for-3) and No. 9 hitter Dee Dee Hillman (1-for-1).

Ohio State will take on Bowling Green at approximately 2:15 p.m. Friday in the Buckeyes’ final game of the weekend.

Postgame Notes No. 21 Ohio State 2, Eastern Michigan 1 … March 21, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: The last time Ohio State won its home-opener on a walk-off hit was 2006 when then-junior Lauren Daykin, in her first game at Buckeye Field, knocked a two-run double to send the Buckeyes past Kent State, 2-1, in eight innings.
– The Buckeyes have not lost a home-opener since 2002 when they lost to Kentucky, 4-3.
– The Buckeyes are now 6-1 this season in one-run games.
– Buckeyes at the plate: The win over Eastern Michigan marked the ninth time this season sophomore Sam Marder has driven in the game-winning run. 
– Marder drove in both OSU runs and has at least one RBI in all but six games this season.
– In addition to Marder extending her hitting streak to 10 games, which ties her career best, freshman Dee Dee Hillman extended her current streak to a career-best seven games.
– Senior Liz Caputo, who went 1-for-3 against EMU and scored the game-winning run, had one hit in her first 13 games this season, but now has eight hits in her last 10 games.
– Buckeyes in the circle: Junior Kim Reeder continues to move toward becoming the fourth OSU pitcher to record 400 career strikeouts. With seven more Friday against EMU, she now has 374. Reeder has struck out at least one batter in all 68 of her collegiate starts.
– Buckeyes in the field: From her catcher’s position, Marder threw out two would-be EMU base stealers in the game and picked off another at first base.
– Ohio State is now 182-26 all-time in non-conference games at Buckeye Field.
– When ranked in the Top 25, Ohio Sate is now 22-3 at Buckeye Field.
– Weather: Cloudy and 35 degrees at first pitch, warming slightly. Wind 5-10 MPH right to left.
– Ohio State is now 11-4 all-time against Eastern Michigan.

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