Buckeyes Split On Second Day of FAU Kick-Off Classic
Feb. 8, 2014
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State softball team (1-3) spilt its two contests on the second day of the FAU Kick-Off Classic, topping Northern Illinois, 6-4, before falling in extra innings to No. 18/19 Louisville, 5-4.
Game One: Ohio State 6, Northern Illinois 4
Caitlin Conrad continued her torrid start to the season, going 2-for-3 with a double, a triple and two RBI to pace the Buckeye offense. On the mound, junior Alex DiDomenico went 6.2 innings, giving up just two earned runs while striking out eight. Anna Kirk, Erika Leonard, Leesa Gresham and Evelyn Carrillo also had multiple hits for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes struck first in the bottom of the third when Conrad doubled to center field, scoring Kirk, who had reached on an error by the shortstop. Carrillo followed with a single, and later scored when Gresham doubled to center field. Conrad also scored on a fielder's choice, giving the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead.
Northern Illinois answered with two runs in the top of the fourth keyed by an RBI single from Emily Naegele and a Buckeye error. DiDomenico got Allyson Hecht to ground out to end the threat.
NIU tied the game in the top of the fifth thanks to a pair of Buckeye errors, but Ohio State quickly answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs to take the lead for good. Leonard launched a two-run home run to left field that gave Ohio State a 5-3 lead, and the Buckeyes added an important insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Conrad laced a RBI triple to score Kirk.
After DiDomenico retired the first two batters of the seventh, she gave up three singles and a wild pitch and was relieved by freshman Shelby Hursh, who got Naegele to fly out to center field to end the game and earn her first-career save.
In addition to Conrad's performance on offense, Leonard went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI. Kirk was 2-for-4 with two runs scored Taylor Watkins and Gresham each went 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Game Two: No. 18/19 Louisville 5, Ohio State 4
Senior Melanie Nichols took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning for Ohio State, but Louisville scored twice in the sixth, twice in the seventh and the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth to claim the 5-4 victory.
Ohio State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a two-run RBI double by Leonard. She drove home Kirk and Watkins, who got on base thanks to an error and a walk, respectively.
The Buckeyes went ahead 3-0 in the top of the fourth after Cammi Prantl and Carrillo executed a double steal that resulted in Carrillo ending up on second base and Prantl stealing home. The inning was set up by Prantl getting a single up the middle, followed by a Carrillo single down the right field line.
In the fifth, Ohio State tacked on another run when Kirk drove home Keelia Nester with a RBI single up the middle. After Conrad walked, Ohio State had the bases loaded with nobody out but were unable to push any more runs across the plate thanks a fielder's choice and inning-ending double play.
Nichols' no-hit bid was broken up in the sixth inning when Kelsi Jones hit a two-run home run to left field. Louisville's Kristina Dillard led off the inning by reaching on an error, but Nichols retired the next two batters on a pop out and strike out, respectively. The inning ended when Morgan Meyer lined out to Gresham.
Louisville tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh when Brittany Sims hit a two-run double to right field with two outs off Shelby Hursh, who came in to relieve Nichols. Hursh was able to get out of a bases loaded jam, however, when Hannah Kiyohara flied out to center field.
The Cardinals pushed across the game-winning run when Katie Keller singled to left field, scoring Kiyohara from third. The Buckeye offense was paced by Leonard, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.
Ohio State concludes action at the FAU Kick-Off Classic tomorrow at 11 a.m. against Florida Atlantic.