April 22, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sophomore Melanie Nichols led the Ohio State softball team to a 4-0 victory vs. Nebraska Sunday after throwing a three-hit, complete-game shutout at Buckeye Field. The native of San Jacinto, Calif., Nichols threw seven innings, allowing no runs on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
"I thought Melanie had the heart of a Buckeye today and she kept their hitters off balanced throughout the entire game," head coach Linda Kalafatis said. "Our hitters came up with some key at-bats for us and it's great to finish off the week with a win on our home field."
Nichols, the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, improves to 10-7 overall this season, throwing her fifth complete game win in 2012.
Offensively, junior Megan Coletta had a home run and two RBI and sophomore Evelyn Carrillo was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Ohio State (27-18, 6-8 Big Ten) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly and a Nebraska throwing error. The Buckeyes put the pressure on Husker starter Tatum Edwards when they loaded the bases with one out. Ohio State got three-consecutive batters on base after freshman Taylor Watkins hit an infield single, senior Vanessa Spears was hit by a pitch and senior captain Alicia Herron walked. Carrillo then plated her 40th RBI when she sent a fly ball to right field to score Watkins to make it 1-0. Spears then crossed the plate for the second run on a first and third situation following a throwing error by the Nebraska catcher.
In the fourth, Nichols allowed the first base runner since the top of the first with a walk with two down, ending a streak of 11-consecutive outs. She ended the half inning after getting Nebraska to fly out for the fifth time of the afternoon.
In the fifth, Nichols allowed her first hit of the game with one down on a bloop single to center but got the Huskers bats to fly out in the following two at-bats.
Nichols allowed a runner in the sixth on an infield hit, but denied the Huskers the scoring chance with a runner on second following a fielder's choice on a heads-up play by Coletta for the force out at second base and a nice sliding catch by Spears for the third out of the inning.
Ohio State extended its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Coletta launched a two-out, two-run home run over the left field wall vs. Ashley Hagemann for her fourth home run of the year. Both runs in the inning were unearned following a second Husker error.
The Buckeyes hit the road for a three-game series at Northwestern April 28-29 in Evanston, Ill.
- With a single in the bottom of the first, Carrillo has claimed a hit in the last four games.
- Watkins notched a hit in the top of the third and has claimed at least one hit in 9 of the last 10 games.
- Carrillo notched her 40th RBI of the year on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third.
- Spears crossed the plate for the 38th time this season.
- Coletta posted her fourth home run of the season. The four long balls is a season-high for the OSU third baseman.
Scenes from the Buckeyes' Home Opener