Feb. 24, 2013
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - The Ohio State softball team battled back from a five-run deficit but fell short, 5-4, against Utah in the final game at the 2013 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Sunday morning in Palm Springs, Calif. The Buckeyes (9-6, 0-0 Big Ten) will now have a week off before traveling to their fourth tournament of 2013 at University of Maryland March 9-10.
Offensively, Ohio State was led by junior Leesa Gresham and sophomore Shelby Pickett, who both went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while sophomore Taylor Watkins had a home run with two RBI and a run scored.
The Utes capitalized on an OSU error in the top of the first to score two runs - both unearned. Utah scored its first run on a wild pitch with runners on second and third and took a 2-0 lead following a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Junior pitcher Kasie Kelly began the game for the Buckeyes and was relieved by redshirt junior Melanie Nichols in the second inning.
After Utah made it 3-0 in the top of the second, the Scarlet and Gray had a chance to get on the board in the bottom half with the bases loaded and two down. However, Utah starting pitcher Naomi Amu induced a groundout to the circle to leave three Buckeyes stranded.
The Utes continued their momentum in the top of the third with two runs following back-to-back RBI singles. Nichols ended left two runners on base when she claimed her second strikeout of morning.
The Buckeyes cut their deficit to three runs in the bottom of the third to make it, 5-2. Gresham began the rally when she blasted a one-out double to the gap in right center to plate sophomore Maddy McIntyre, who walked. Pickett then scored junior Evelyn Carrillo from third base when she slapped an infield single between third base and shortstop.
Ohio State made its third pitching change of the contest in the top of the fourth as sophomore Olivia O'Reilly got the nod in the circle. She put down the Utah bats in order, including a strikeout to end the at bat.
In the bottom half, the Buckeyes continue to battle at the plate to make it one-run deficit vs. Utah. The OSU bats made it 5-4 after Watkins sent a ball off the top of the fence down the right field line for a one-out, two-run home run - her second long ball of the weekend. Sophomore Caitlin Conrad scored on the play after reaching base following a nicely-placed bunt single in front of home.
Pickett doubled off the wall in the fifth but the Buckeyes couldn't push her around to home plate to keep it a one-run game in favor of the Utes. O'Reilly stranded two Utah runners in both the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, both on fly outs to keep it a 5-4 contest.
In the final inning, the Buckeyes got the tying run on third base, but failed to score against relief pitcher Kaye Nieto, who improved to 2-1, while Kelly received the loss to fall to 3-1 overall. O'Reilly received a no decision and limited the Utah bats to no runs on just two hits with three strikeouts in four innings of work.
Overall, Ohio State outhit the Utes, 11-5.