Buckeyes Drop Two On Opening Day of FAU Kick-Off Classic
Feb. 7, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team dropped both of its games in the season-opening FAU Kick-Off Classic on Friday in Boca Raton, Fla. The Buckeyes (0-2) fell in extra innings to Tulsa, 1-0, before losing to St. John’s, 6-3.
Game One: Tulsa 1, Ohio State 0 (8 inn.)
Ohio State’s best scoring opportunity came in the top of the eighth when it had runners on first and third with just one out. Melissa Rennie struck out looking and Anna Kirk grounded out to second to end the threat, however. In the third inning, Conard led off with a double to right center and advanced to third on a groundout by Jayla Saibene but was unable to cross the plate.
Melanie Nichols relieved DiDomenico after five innings and allowed two hits in 2.2 innings while striking out one. Tulsa’s Aimee Creger went seven innings and gave up just two hits while striking out six and walking six.
Game Two: St. John’s 6, Ohio State 3
The Red Storm answered in the second to tie the game at 1-1 thanks to four walks. Freshman pitcher Shelby Hursh retired the first two batters in order, but walked the next four. She was able to get out of the inning with minimal damage, however, by getting Yzonne Rericha to ground out.
In the second inning, Conrad continued her stellar day with a double to center field. She advanced to third on a groundout by Melaina Saalfeld but was stranded there when Prantl grounded out to the pitcher.
Conrad gave the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth when she hit a two-run home run to left center field, scoring Erika Leonard, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
St. John’s responded with three runs in the top of the fifth, keyed by a two-run single from Kaitlyn Wilkens. Hursh retired the first batter of the inning, and then gave up a walk and two singles to load the bases. Junior Olivia O'Reilly came in to relieve Hursh and surrendered back-to-back RBI singles, the second of which scored two runs. After a fielder’s choice, the Buckeyes were able to get out of the inning when Rennie tagged out Jackie Reed, who was attempting to steal home.
The Red Storm added to its lead with a run in the top of the sixth. SJU led off the inning with a single and followed that with a walk, but Nichols, who came in to relieve O’Reilly, struck out Kelsey Moyer for the first out. A sacrifice bunt advanced Carly Williams to third, and she later scored on a wild pitch. The inning ended with Rericha grounding out to Gresham.
Ohio State threatened in the bottom of the sixth when Leonard singled to right field with two outs. Conrad then walked, advancing Amanda Abbruzzese, who came in to pinch-run for Leonard, to second. St. John’s snuffed out the scoring opportunity, however, when Saibene struck out swinging.
In the seventh, St. John’s plated a run on an RBI double down the left field line by Monique Landini, extending its lead to 6-3. Senior Audrey Plant came in to relive Nichols and retired the next two batters. The Buckeyes went down in order in the seventh to end the game.
Hursh went 4.1 innings in her collegiate debut and gave up four runs on four hits with three strikeouts. Conrad was two-for-two with a home run and double while Prantl, Watkins, Carrillo, Gresham and Leonard each had one hit.
Ohio State continues with action at the FAU Kick-Off Classic tomorrow with games against Northern Illinois (9 a.m.) and No. 19/18 Louisville (1:00 p.m.).