May 6, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – With the bat of freshman catcher Shelby Pickett, the Ohio State softball team defeated Iowa, 2-1, Sunday at Buckeye Field on Senior Day. The Buckeyes (29-22, 8-12 Big Ten) conclude the home schedule with a victory and recognized seniors Mikayla Endicott, Katie Simonton, Vanessa Spears and Alicia Herron following the conference win.
With the score tied, 1-1, freshman Taylor Watkins began the rally with an infield single followed by walk by Spears, a fielder’s choice by Herron and a walk by sophomore Evelyn Carrillo. With two outs and the bases loaded, the scene was set for the OSU freshman catcher. Pickett, a native of Temecula, Calif., connected on a 2-2 pitch for an RBI single up the middle to score Watkins from third base and claim the big win.
“It was obviously big by Taylor to start the rally on a base hit and I thought Spears, Herron and Evelyn all had great at-bats for us,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “Pickett has been our hottest hitter the last couple of weeks and right now she’s being the hitter we thought she would be this year. I thought Mikayla showed great toughness after they tied it up and I’m proud of the way our seniors finished out their careers at Buckeye Field today.”
Endicott improves to 17-13 overall, throwing seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits with four strikeouts. The complete game performance was the 15th complete game for Endicott this season.
After the first four innings went scoreless, the Buckeyes plated the first run of the game on a first and third situation with one down. Freshman Taylor Watkins began the OSU rally on a bunt single vs. Iowa starter Kayla Massey. Spears then put down a beautiful sacrifice bunt, allowing Watkins to advance all the way to third base. After Herron claimed her second walk of the afternoon on a 10-pitch at-bat, the OSU captain stole second base, allowing Watkins to score on the throw down to make it 1-0. The stolen base was Herron’s 12th of the season.
With the score 1-0, Endicott battled in the circle in the following inning when she stranded two Iowa runners after the Hawkeyes had a first and third situation with one out. The native of Roseburg, Oregon, Endicott got back-to-back Iowa batters to pop up to end the potential Hawkeye rally.
But in the top of the seventh, Iowa tied it up, 1-1, when designated player Michelle Zoeller posted her first career home run on a lead-off solo shot just over the left field wall. Spears gave all the effort she could as she just missed robbing the Hawkeyes of a home run in front of the wall.
The Buckeyes had the first opportunity to strike on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first with runners on first and second. With two down, Pickett singled up the middle, but Iowa center fielder Johnnie Dowling recorded the final out of the inning when she threw out Spears at the plate, who began the bottom half with an infield single.
In the second, Iowa threatened to take the lead with the bases loaded and one down. However, after Endicott recorded her second strikeout, the senior Buckeye tagged out an Iowa runner at the plate following a wild pitch for the third out of the inning to maintain the scoreless contest.
After Endicott went 1-2-3 in the top of the third, Ohio State stranded two runners in the bottom half when Iowa claimed an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. In the fourth, the Buckeyes left two runners on base for the third time as Iowa was able to get out of the jam with a groundout. Pickett collected her second single of the day to begin the inning.
In the top of the fifth, junior captain Megan Coletta made a heads up play on a bunt by Iowa when she threw out the runner rounding third base off the bag with Herron putting down the tag for the second out.
The Buckeyes conclude the 2012 campaign on the road next weekend in a three-game series at Penn State in State College, Pa. Ohio State will play a doubleheader vs. the Nittany Lions at 4 p.m. Friday before playing a single game at 1 p.m. Saturday. The first game of the series will be aired live on BTN.
Lilli Piper: Make You Proud