Buckeyes Claim Series Sweep in Walk-Off Fashion
April 14, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team swept Penn State in a three-game series after defeating the Nittany Lions, 4-3, in eight innings Sunday at Buckeye Field. Sophomore Caitlin Conrad posted the gamewinning play on a sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the eighth, allowing senior Megan Coletta to cross the plate.
With the sweep, the Buckeyes improve to 26-14 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play, while Penn State drops to 10-26 overall and 1-10 in league action. After Penn State went 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Coletta, a native of Fullerton, Calif., sent a first pitch to center field for a lead-off double. She was then advanced to third on a sac bunt by Melaina Saalfeld to set up the gamewinning score by Conrad.
Ohio State held a 2-1 lead into the seventh until Penn State was able to take its first lead of the game following a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the seventh. However, the Buckeyes rebounded to tie the game, 3-3, on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. First-year head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said it was the best team win the Buckeyes have had this year.
“We did a lot of small but aggressive things today to help us win as a team,” Schoenly said. “Our pinch runners changed our game because they were able to score on close plays at the plate for us. I also thought Alex really pitched well today for us too.”
Offensively, sophomore Maddy McIntyre went 1-for-2 with one walk, two RBI and a sacrifice fly, while Coletta was 1-for-3 with a double in the top of the eighth and an RBI vs. the Nittany Lions. Junior Leesa Gresham posted a double in the top of the seventh to help the Buckeyes tie the game as pinch runner Jayla Saibene scored the team’s third run of the contest. Pinch runner Brittany Mills scored in the sixth inning to give Ohio State a 2-1 lead. Taylor Watkins was 1-for-3 with a sac fly, while Cammi Prantl was 1-for3- with a run scored and double.
"I just felt that we weren't going to give it to them and stop playing,” Coletta said. “Our last three innings I think we scored once in each inning and we weren't going to give up. We were finally hitting the ball and making our adjustments at the plate and we were able to play as a team."
In the circle, sophomore Alex DiDomenico improved to 11-6 overall, throwing her seventh complete game of the year, while liming the PSU bats to three runs, two earned runs, six hits and five strikeouts.
The Buckeyes left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first after PSU starting pitcher Macy Jones claimed the final out on a strikeout. Watkins singled to right field to begin the at bat, while Carrillo was hit by a pitch and McIntyre walked. Rennie was just inches away from clearing the bases, but a ball pulled down the left field line ricochet off the wall on the left side of the line.
Ohio State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a squeeze play with runners on first and third and one down. On a 1-1 pitch, McIntyre laid down a bunt single down the first base side as Prantl headed to the plate and beat the toss in by Jones to score the first run of the contest. Prantl began the momentum when she sent a 3-0 pitch off the right field wall for a double.
In the top of the fourth with two outs, junior second baseman Melaina Saalfeld got DiDomenico out of a jam with two runners in scoring position when she stole a hit up the middle after diving to her right to field a groundball and threw out the runner at first from her knees to retire the frame.
The Nittany Lions tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to center field. The run was unearned following a single to left and a Buckeye fielding error allowed the runner to advance to third base. But the Scarlet and Gray took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth following a sacrifice fly to left field by Watkins to plate Mills from third base. Mills reached third base after back-to-back sacrifices by Saalfeld and Conrad, respectively.
However, on a 3-2 count with two down in the top of the seventh, Penn State took a 3-2 advantage following a 11-pitch at bat by Jones that ended with a two-run home run over the left center wall.
Overall, Penn State held a 6-5 lead in hits.