Feb. 19, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev.- The Ohio State softball team claimed two victories at the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic Saturday at Eller Media Stadium. The Buckeyes (5-4, 0-0 Big Ten) defeated host UNLV, 4-3, in game one and Long Beach State, 10-5, in the nightcap in game two in Las Vegas, Nev.
"I told the team we are starting to come together and we are sustaining rallies," head coach Linda Kalafatis. "Everyone is taking advantage of their opportunities and we are starting to play like I thought we were capable this weekend."
Game One: Ohio State 4, UNLV 3
Ohio State posted three runs in the second inning and retook the lead, 4-3, in the top of the seventh to claim the fourth win of the season with the victory against host-UNLV in game one.
In the top of the seventh, senior left fielder Vanessa Spears drew her second walk of the afternoon against UNLV starter Amanda Oliveto. After a wild pitch and groundout, Spears advanced to third base with two outs and sophomore clean-up hitter Evelyn Carrillo up at the plate. However, Spears' speed was all the Scarlet and Gray would need when she slid home for the eventual game winning run following a second wild pitch. Spears leads the Buckeyes this season with seven runs scored through eight games.
Senior pitcher Mikayla Endicott threw her first complete game of the season to improve 2-3 overall, striking out six UNLV batters on three earned runs and six hits.
Offensively, the Buckeyes found good contact with the bat with runners on base early in the game vs. the Rebels, posting three runs on four hits in the top of the second.
Junior third baseman Megan Coletta got the squad on the board first when she sent a single up the middle, scoring pinch runner Brittany Mills. Freshman center fielder Taylor Watkins followed with a two-run single up the middle to plate sophomore catcher Melissa Rennie and Coletta. Designated player Danielle LeBeau started off the inning with a shot to left field for a single, while sophomore second baseman Melaina Saalfeld and senior right fielder Katie Simonton each squared around for sacrifice bunts.
The Rebels cut their deficit to 3-2 with two solo home runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, against Endicott. However, the native of Roseburg, Oregon, worked her way out of both innings with a fly out and a strikeout to help maintain the OSU lead.
But the UNLV momentum continued in the bottom of the sixth when the Rebels tied the game, 3-3, after Korin Cuico sent an RBI single up the middle after Pauline Monreal notched a double to short center field.
With two outs and Rebels on first and third, Endicott got out of the jam when she got Elena Fata to strike out looking for her sixth strikeout of the afternoon.
Game Two: Ohio State 10, Long Beach State 5
The Buckeye bats were alive and well in game two vs. Long Beach State, posting 10 runs on 13 hits, including eight extra base hits with four home runs. With the victory over the 49ers, the Buckeyes have now won three-consecutive games to improve to 5-4 overall.
Long Beach State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first after a solo home run by lead-off hitter Hannah De Gaetano and a two-out, RBI double by Dana Garcia. However, the Buckeye bats came alive with power in the following inning when the team posted four runs on four hits - all extra base hits - to take a 4-2 lead.
It was an inning of "firsts" to say the least. Junior designated player Danielle LeBeau lead off the bottom of the second with a solo home run over the left field wall - her first as a Buckeye. After junior co-captain Megan Coletta doubled down the left field line, freshman second baseman Maddy McIntyre blasted a double to left center, scoring Coletta. The RBI double was the first two-bagger in McIntyre's young career.
The OSU momentum continued when freshman center fielder Caitlin Conrad had a moment to remember when she claimed her first career collegiate hit after launching a moon shot into the night of Vegas for a two-run home run to give Ohio State its first lead.
The 49ers made it 4-3 in the top of the third after Ashlynn Booker posted a two-out, RBI double down the left field line.
The home run party for the Scarlet and Gray continued after two Buckeye captains claimed two long balls in the bottom of the fifth. Senior tri-captain Alicia Herron gave the Buckeyes a 5-3 lead when she lasered a ball over the left center field wall for a solo home run to begin the bottom of the fifth inning. The home run was her fourth of the season and third of the tournament. Coletta then followed later in the inning with a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left field - her second of the weekend - to make it 7-3.
Ohio State picked up an eighth run after a throwing error by the LBSU third baseman allowed pinch runner Brittany Mills to score from second base. McIntyre posted her second double of the night for her first career multi-hit game.
Long Beach State continued to battle at the plate, however, scoring two runs in the top of the sixth to cut the OSU lead to 8-5. Booker led off the inning with a solo home run, while De Gaetano claimed an RBI on a fielder's choice.
Nichols was relieved by Endicott in the fifth in the circle. The sophomore pitcher improves to 3-1 on the season, throwing 5.0 IP, allowing five runs on six hits with one strikeout.
Ohio State added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth for the eventual 10-5 final.
Ohio State is back in action at 9 a.m. PT Sunday against Idaho State to conclude the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park on field No. 1.
Humphrey Highlights | Taylor White