Buckeyes Knock Off No. 25 Northwestern, 3-1
April 25, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Behind the pitching of Olivia O'Reilly, a two-run home run by Cammi Prantl and some key defensive plays late in the game, the Ohio State softball team defeated No. 25 Northwestern, 3-1, on Friday evening at Buckeye Field. With the win, the Buckeyes are 23-23 and 9-9 in the Big Ten while the Wildcats fall to 29-12, 11-7.
In the circle, O'Reilly gave up just one run over seven innings to earn her 11th win of the year and 12th complete game. Prantl blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to give Ohio State the lead for good, and Melaina Saalfeld ended a Northwestern threat in the top of the seventh when she snagged a line drive and doubled Mari Majam at first base to end the game.
Friday's win was the Buckeyes' first over a ranked team since 14th-ranked Arizona last year, 6-0.
The Wildcats struck first for a run in the top of the second Andrea Filler doubled to right center, scoring Brianna LeBeau. It was one of three doubles that Filler had on the game.
The Buckeyes quickly scored the equalizer in the bottom of the second. Evelyn Carrillo led off the inning with a double to center field and following a Jayla Saibene walk Ohio State had two on and no outs. Saalfeld reached on an error by the second basemen, loading the bases. The next two batters struck out, but Keelia Nester hit a dribbler back to the pitcher and was safe at first, allowing Carrillo to score.
The game remained knotted at 1-1 into the fifth inning when Prantl took a 2-0 pitch and belted it over the right field fence, scoring Nester, who had reached after being hit by a pitch.
In the sixth inning, Northwestern got its leadoff hitter on base via a walk, but Rennie gunned her out as she tried to steal second for the first out of the inning. Anna Edwards struck out for the second out of the inning, but a single by LeBeau kept the Wildcats alive in the frame. The next batter, Paige Tonz, doubled to right field, but LeBeau was thrown out at the plate on a relay from Taylor Watkins to Saalfeld to Rennie that ended the inning.
Northwestern led off the seventh with a double to center by Filler, and a groundout advanced her to third. The next two batters reached on an error and single, loading the bases with just one out for Marisa Bast. She lined a 1-0 pitch to Saalfeld, who alertly threw to first base to double off Majam and end the game.
In addition to Prantl heroics at the plate, Nester went 1-for-1 with a RBI and run scored. Northwestern's Kristen Wood took the loss, pitching six innings and giving up four hits and two earned runs.
The Buckeyes and Wildcats continue their series tomorrow at Buckeye Field. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. and admission, as always, is free.