Sophomore Sam Marder hits 21st career homer, but Spartans score once in seventh for win

COLUMBUS, Ohio Junior Kim Reeder struck out her 400th career batter and sophomore Sam Marder hit her 11th home run of the season, but the 24th-ranked Ohio State softball team dropped a 4-3 decision to Michigan State Friday night at Buckeye Field.

Ohio State (23-11, 2-3 Big Ten) committed three errors, which led to two of the Spartans’ runs being unearned, including one in the seventh inning that broke a 3-3 tie after Marder led off the bottom of the sixth with an opposite-field solo shot over the right-field wall.

Outhitting Ohio State, 6-5, Michigan State (18-15, 3-2 Big Ten) has now won four straight.

“We wanted to come out and attack and I thought our kids did a good job, but we made mistakes that were costly,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “You either do enough to win or you don’t. We gave ourselves a chance and our at bats got better as the game went on, but we just gave them too many base runners.”

The Buckeyes, who have seen all five of their Big Ten games this season decided by one run, never led. Michigan State led 3-0 after three and a half innings, but Ohio State scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and Marder’s homer in the sixth tied it. The Buckeyes got a runner to third base in the bottom of the seventh, but pinch-runner Rebecca Schultz was stranded there after replacing sophomore Tory Haddad, who hit a one-out single.

“At this point everyone has scouting reports on everyone,” Kalafatis said. “We hit some balls right at them and our lefties just missed getting on, which is a big part of our offense. If we can get those guys producing and causing some havoc and producing at the right time we’ll get some more runs up there.”

With nine strikeouts in the game, Reeder (12-7) tied her season-high for the fourth time and becomes the fourth pitcher in Ohio State to reach 400 punch outs.

“We hit four batters, which puts a lot of base runners on, but we also got out of some jams and Reeder made some good pitches,” Kalafatis said. “I was proud of her effort. Kim works really hard. I don’t know if we have a more competitive player.”

Ohio State’s two runs in the fourth inning both came with two outs when freshman Karisa Medrano hit an RBI single to score senior Brittany Vanderink, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and freshman Rachael Shepherd hit her first career double to drive in Medrano.

Michigan State’s first run came in the top of the third inning when Lindsey Hansen led of the inning by reaching first base on an error. After a Reeder strikeout, Nikki Nicosia lined a double to the left-center gap to score Hansen. In the following inning, the Spartans added two more on a one-out passed ball and a Nicosia RBI sacrifice fly that scored Hansen, who again reached following an error earlier in the fourth inning.

The Buckeyes and Spartans will conclude the two-game series at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Postgame Notes Michigan State 4, No. 24 Ohio State 3 … April 4, 2008
– Not in the Box Score: The game was delayed 54 minutes because of rain.
– Ohio State is now 9-4 in one-run games this season. All five of the Buckeyes’ Big Ten games have been decided by one run and eight of their last 10 games overall.
– Buckeyes in the circle: Kim Reeder threw her 13th complete game in 17 starts this season. In reaching her total of 400 career strikeouts, Reeder has struck out at least one batter in all 72 of her collegiate starts and in 85 of 90 appearances overall.
– Reeder is now 17-5 all-time at Buckeye Field with 138 of her career strikeouts.
– Buckeyes at the plate: Freshman Rachael Shepherd hit her first career double, which marked Ohio State first extra-base hit in the last 10 games that was not a Sam Marder home run.
– Senior Brittany Vanderink’s stolen base in the fourth inning was her 14th this season in 15 attempts. She is 60-for-64 in her career (fourth-most all-time at Ohio State).
– Freshman Karisa Medrano extended her career-best hitting streak to five games with an RBI single in the fourth inning.
– Sophomore Sam Marder’s 21st home run of the season tied the game at 3-3 to lead off the sixth inning. That gives her sole possession of third on the Ohio State career homers list. She had been tied with Sarah West (1999-02).
– The RBI for Marder is her 44th of the season, which leads the Big Ten and is already the fourth-most in a season at Ohio State. Stacy Roth owns the record with 66 RBI in 2002.
– Marder went 1-for-2 in the game and is now 4-for-6 officially in five Big Ten games this season with 11 walks.
– On the night of her 20th birthday, sophomore Tory Haddad went 1-for-3 at the plate, with her hit coming in the seventh inning on a one-out single to left-center.
– The Buckeyes are now 25-8 all-time at home when ranked in the Top 25.
– Weather: Cloudy and 44 degrees at first pitch, win 10 MPH left to right. Some rain during game.
– Ohio State is now 49-39 all-time against Michigan State, including 24-11 at Buckeye Field.

### ###

Contact: Tim Stried,