Megan Miller picks up first career Big Ten with three-hitter

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. A day after being one-hit by Indiana, the Ohio State softball team exploded for 10 hits a season-high in a Big Ten game and the Buckeyes scored six of their seven runs with two outs to beat Purdue, 7-4, Sunday in the first game of a doubleheader at the Purdue Varsity Softball Complex in West Lafayette.

Ohio State (25-15, 4-7 Big Ten) got seven hits, including three doubles, and five runs from the bottom four hitters in its lineup. Purdue (27-10, 4-2 Big Ten) entered the game 15-2 in last 17 games.

The Buckeyes built a 3-0 lead after two and a half innings, but Purdue’s Kelsey Haupert tied the game with a three-run homer off OSU starter Megan Miller in the bottom of the third.

The game would not remain tied for long as senior Brittany Vanderink’s sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning gave the lead back to the Buckeyes, and they would score three more times in the fifth inning to pad their lead.

After allowing the homer to Haupert, however, Miller settled down, allowing only one hit and one run the rest of the way to notch her first career Big Ten victory and improve to 6-3 this season. She allowed only three hits and struck out four, while walking five.

Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder was walked five times on the minimum 20 pitches to tie her career high for free passes in a game.

Ohio State freshman Rachael Shepherd almost single-handedly gave the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. With two outs and none on, she doubled over the head of the left fielder, the bumped into the shortstop on a grounder hit by sophomore Whitney Cooper, causing the throw to sail over the head of the first baseman and allowing Shepherd to run home on the play. Cooper earned a base hit on the play and Shepherd notched the unearned run.

The Buckeyes built their lead up to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the third inning, both coming with two outs. Vanderink reached on a two-base throwing error and scored on a double to the right-centerfield gap by sophomore Tory Haddad, who then scored on an RBI single up the middle by freshman Karisa Medrano.

Miller allowed just one base runner in both the first and second inning and nearly got out of the third inning unscathed, but an OSU error extended the inning and Haupert made the Buckeyes pay with her sixth homer of the season, going over the 220 mark on the centerfield fence.

Ohio State loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth when Cooper singled again, freshman Dee Dee Hillman reached on a fielder’s choice and Marder was walked for the third time to load the bases with no outs. The Boilermakers got a force out at the plate to cut down Cooper, but Hillman scored one batter later on Vanderink’s sacrifice fly to give the lead back to Ohio State.

All nine OSU batters came to the plate in the Buckeyes’ three-run fifth inning. Sophomore Rebecca Schultz doubled and scored on an RBI single up the middle by Shepherd, who scored when freshman Brittany Goodchild was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. That chased Purdue starter Dana Alcocer and reliever Suzie Rzegocki promptly gave up an RBI single through the left side by Vanderink, which would end the scoring for Ohio State in the game.

The Buckeyes and Boilermakers will conclude the doubleheader with game two’s first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.

Postgame Notes Ohio State 7, Purdue 4 GAME ONE … April 13, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: The Buckeyes are now 2-1 on the Big Ten Network this season and 5-1 on television overall the last two seasons.
– The Buckeyes are now 19-4 this season when they score first.
– Ohio State sophomore Rebecca Schultz made her first career start at second base in the game and sophomore Megan Miller made her first Big Ten game-one start in the circle.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Doubles by Rachael Shepherd and Tory Haddad marked the first time this season Ohio State notched two doubles in a Big Ten game. Dee Dee Hillman and Rebecca Schultz also doubled to give the Buckeyes four doubles in the game, tying their season high.
– Sophomores Whitney Cooper and Rebecca Schultz and freshman Rachael Shepherd all notched their first career multiple-hit games in Big Ten play.
– Marder has walked 25 times in Big Ten games so far this season. She has only 12 official Big Ten at bats (7-12, .583).
– Buckeyes in the circle: Sophomore Megan Miller made her first career appearance against Purdue Sunday. She tossed her fourth complete game of the season in earning her first career Big Ten win.
– With only three hits allowed, Miller tied her career best for fewest hits allowed in five or more innings originally set against IUPUI April 18, 2007.
– Buckeyes in the field: Catcher Sam Marder threw out her 17th base stealer of the season in the game. Opponents have been successful only 15 times in 32 attempts this season against Marder (47-percent).
– Weather: Cloudy and 40 degrees at first pitch, wind out to centerfield at 13 MPH. Feels like 31 degrees.
– Ohio State is now 20-6 all-time against Purdue, including 7-2 in West Lafayette.

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