Softball Splits Twinbill to Conclude Regular Season
May 5, 2013
URBANA, Ill. - The Ohio State softball team split a doubleheader at Illinois Sunday to conclude the 2013 regular season. The Scarlet and Gray claimed a 3-0 shutout in game one before falling in game two, 1-0, vs. the Fighting Illini at Eichelberger Field.
The Buckeyes (33-21, 10-13 Big Ten) will return to action at 3 p.m. ET Thursday at the Big Ten Tournament against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. Ohio State is the No. 8 seed in the event, which is slated to be played in Lincoln, Neb., May 9-12.
GAME ONE: Ohio State 3, Illinois 0 (Final)
Despite posting just one hit vs. Illinois starter Pepper Gay, the Scarlet and Gray improved to 33-20 and 10-12 in Big Ten play. Sophomore Taylor Watkins notched the lone hit for the Buckeyes in the top of the seventh vs. Gay with a single to right field. Sophomore Maddy McIntyre and junior Leesa Gresham each had two walks.
After the first three innings went scoreless, Ohio State boasted a 3-0 advantage in the top of the fourth, capitalizing on two Illini throwing errors. Pinch runner Jesse Machovina scored the first run of the contest following a throwing error by Illinois starting pitcher Pepper Gay in the circle. The Buckeyes then took a three-run lead after pinch hitter Melissa Rennie reached first base when Illinois third baseman Jess Perkins sailed a throw over the glove of Illini first baseman Remeny Perez, allowing junior Leesa Gresham and sophomore Caitlin Conrad to cross the plate.
DiDomenico stranded two Illini runners in the bottom half when she claimed her sixth strikeout on a called strike three over the outside corner of the plate. She stranded a runner in the bottom of the fifth when she induced a soft grounder to first baseman Evelyn Carrillo for the final out out the frame and to keep it a 3-0 contest.
In the following inning, it took an astonishing 24 pitches for Pepper to get Conrad to pop up to shortstop for the second out in one of the longest 1-2-3 innings you will ever see. After six innings, Ohio State lead 3-0 with no hits recorded on the board. DiDomenico stranded two runners in the bottom half after Illinois began its at bat with a double and a single, respectively. However, she induced a pop up before freshman Cammi Prantl tracked down a ball in foul territory to end the frame.
Watkins knocked the team's hit when she connected on a 1-2 pitch vs. Pepper with two down in the top of the seventh.
GAME TWO: Ohio State 0, Illinois 1
In seven innings of work, Nichols allowed just one run on six hits with a season-high seven strikeouts. The native of San Jacinto, Calif., Nichols left seven runners on base, while Ohio State stranded four runners on base. Sophomore catcher Shelby Pickett notched her 10th multi-hit contest of 2013, going 2-for-3, while throwing out two Illini runners.
The first six innings went scoreless. In the fourth, the Buckeyes picked up their first baserunner and claimed their first hit vs. Pepper, but failed to plate any runs after she induced a line out to right field. McIntyre walked to extend her reached-base streak to 16-consecutive games followed by a single to left center by Pickett, respectively.
Prantl notched a one-out double in the top of the sixth, but the Buckeyes couldn't push her around home plate after Pepper got back-to-back fly outs to end the OSU chance. In the seventh, sophomore Shelby Pickett posted a lead-off single, but was stranded at second base after the Illinois right fielder made a diving catch in foul territory to help end the frame.
Illinois claimed the walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh after Katie Repole notched a one-out single to left field, scoring Jessica Davis from third base for the victory.