Buckeyes overcome deficits of 6-3 and 10-7 to salvage split

COLUMBUS, Ohio Sophomore Sam Marder’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning brought home the 21st and final run in the highest-scoring Big Ten game in Buckeye Field history as the No. 22 Ohio State softball team erased two multiple-run deficits to beat Illinois, 11-10, Sunday in game two of a doubleheader.

All 10 Illini runs came on four home runs in the nearly three-hour affair, but Illinois (17-17, 1-1 Big Ten) committed six errors and walked 11 OSU batters. The Buckeyes (23-8, 2-2 Big Ten) capitalized on those walks five of the OSU batters who walked scored and four drew walks with the bases loaded to force home a run.

After falling in game one, 4-3, Ohio State got behind by three runs twice early and trailed 10-7 after the Illini scored once in the top of the fifth, but the Buckeyes scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth and Illinois did not walk Marder in the sixth which the Illini did three previous times in the game.

“Illinois scores fast with one swing of the bat,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “Those 11 walks and six errors obviously helped us, but our kids are pretty disciplined most of the time and we create some of those errors by using our speed and hitting the ball in tough spots. I’m thankful Sam Marder got a chance there at the end and for Kim Reeder to come back in and get the win is a credit to how hard she works.”

Ohio State, which left 11 runners on base, collected seven hits in the game, three of which came from freshman Dee Dee Hillman. Marder had five plate appearances, which resulted in three walks (two intentional), an infield single and the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly.

Illinois hit three-run home runs in the first, second and fourth innings of OSU starter Megan Miller to take a 9-7 lead. Reliever Kim Reeder gave up a solo shot in the fifth, but it was the only run she allowed to earn the win in relief and improve to 12-5.

Freshman Rachael Shepherd knocked a two-run single in the first inning and added an RBI groundout in the fifth.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, OSU freshman Karisa Medrano hit a fly ball to right field that was dropped for an error, but allowed all three OSU base runners to score and Medrano to go to third base.

Ohio State returns to Buckeye Field at 5 p.m. Wednesday to face Marshall in a nonconference doubleheader.

Postgame Notes No. 22 Ohio State 11, Illinois 10 GAME 2 … March 30, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: The win over Illinois in game two Sunday marked Ohio State’s sixth come-from-behind win of the season. The three-run deficit overcome is the largest in an Ohio State win this season.
– Ohio State’s last seven games have all been decided by one run. The Buckeyes are 5-2 in those last seven games and 9-3 in one-run games overall this season.
– The 21 runs scored in the game are the most combined runs scored in a Big Ten game at Buckeye Field, which opened in 1988. The previous record was 18 runs in a 16-2 loss to Purdue in 1999.
– The 11 runs scored by Ohio State are its most in a Big Ten game since a 13-4 win over Michigan State April 23, 2006.
– The 10 runs allowed by Ohio State in the game are the most in a Big Ten game since a 10-2 loss at Northwestern April 5, 2003.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Sam Marder’s second-inning single extended her career-best hitting streak to 14 games. That is the best hitting streak by any current Buckeye and the fourth-best hitting streak by any Buckeye since 1997.
– In nine plate appearances Sunday against Illinois, Marder was walked four times, was hit by a pitch, singled twice, hit a sacrifice fly and struck out. She was 2-for-3 officially and is now 6-for-11 in her career against Illinois.
– Marder is now batting .494 this season. Her 42 RBI lead the nation and are tied for fourth-most in a season in Ohio State history with Jen Fredrickson (1994).
– Buckeyes in the circle: Kim Reeder earned the win in relief to improve to 12-5 this season.
– Ohio State is now 25-5 at Buckeye Field when ranked in the Top 25.
– The total game time of 2 hours and 41 minutes is the longest game that did not involve a rain delay or extra innings among available records (back to 2000).
– Weather: Cloudy and 43 degrees at first pitch. Wind 4-15 MPH left to right. Sprinkles.
– Ohio State now leads the all-time series with Illinois, 11-5, including 7-3 at Buckeye Field.

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