Leesa Gresham posted a two-run home run in the fourth inning
March 22, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio Guided for the first time at Buckeye Field under first-year head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly, the Ohio State softball team defeated Indiana, 9-5, in game one of a three game conference series at Buckeye Field. With the victory, the Buckeyes (19-8, 1-0 Big Ten) earn their first conference victory of 2013.
"After being down 3-0, I was proud of the way our team battled back throughout the game and we were able to keep the momentum against Indiana and get the win," Schoenly said.
Offensively, Ohio State was led by junior Evelyn Carrillo, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while classmate Leesa Gresham was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Caitlin Conrad was 2-for-2 with two RBI, while senior Megan Coletta posted a pair of hits, including a double and two runs scored. Overall, Ohio State outhit the Hoosiers, 14-8.
In the circle, redshirt junior Melanie Nichols improved to 3-1 overall, throwing two innings, allowing two runs on one hit with a walk, while sophomore Olivia O'Reilly posted her first career save, working the final two innings, allowing no runs or hits with one strikeout.
After the first two innings went scoreless, the Hoosiers scored three runs with two outs against starting pitcher Alex DiDomenico. After junior catcher Melissa Rennie picked off a runner at first for the second out, IU lead-off hitter Bianna Meyer reached third base after a triple to left center just out of the reach of Taylor Watkins. Indiana then made it 1-0 when Amanda Wagner notched an RBI double to right center. The Hoosiers pushed its lead to 3-0 in the following at bat when Shannon Cawley sent a two-run home run over the right center field wall.
But the Buckeyes rebounded quickly with three runs in the bottom half to tie the game, 3-3. Coletta led off the at bat with a double to deep right center. Sophomore Caitlin Conrad then placed a sacrifice bunt in front of home plate and reached safely after the IU second baseman dropped the ball at first, allowing pinch runner Jesse Machovina to cross the plate for the first run. Following a single and fielder's choice, the bases were loaded when junior Leesa Gresham sent a rocket to third base for an infield single. Carrillo then tied the game, 3-3, when she connected on a two-run double off the left field wall, scoring Watkins and freshman Cammi Prantl.
With the game tied, the Hoosiers made a pitching change as Lora Olson relieved Murphy in the circle. Olson kept the score tied up when she induced a fly out to left field to end the third.
Indiana threatened to take its second lead of the afternoon with runners on the corners and one down. Redshirt sophomore Melanie Nichols was then placed in for DiDomenico in the circle and got out of the jam when she got Lexi Reese to ground into a double play that included a runner's interference.
Ohio State then took a 6-3 lead in the bottom half highlighted by a two-run bomb by Gresham over the left field wall for her team-best seventh home run of the season. Prantl plated the first run of the inning on a single up the middle to push Coletta around third base to home plate.
In the top of the fifth, Indiana made it a one-run contest following an RBI triple by Wagner and a sacrifice fly by Cawley. The Buckeyes had a chance to extend their advantage in the bottom half but left three on base to keep it a one-run game. Ohio State relief pitcher Olivia O'Reilly then came into the game and went 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth.
The Scarlet and Gray then notched three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Conrad singled through the left side with the bases loaded on a 1-1 count. Watkins then made it a 9-5 contest when she sent a single down the right field line to plate pinch runner Brittany Mills.
Due to predicted weather Sunday, the Ohio State softball team will play a doubleheader vs. Indiana beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday to conclude the three-game series. Both games will be streamed on BTN.com.