May 11, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Ohio State softball team split a doubleheader at Penn State Friday at Beard Field. The Buckeyes (30-23, 9-13 Big Ten) won game one, 5-2, but lost game two, 6-5, in eight innings against the Nittany Lions (17-32, 9-14 Big Ten). The two teams will conclude the 2012 campaign at 1 p.m. Saturday in University Park, Pa.
Game One: Ohio State 5, Penn State 2
Led by senior pitcher Mikayla Endicott, the Scarlet and Gray defeated Penn State, 5-2, in game one at Beard Field. Endicott, a native of Roseburg, Oregon, posted a two-hit performance vs. the Nittany Lions to improve to 18-13 overall. In seven innings of work, Endicott limited the PSU bats to two runs - both unearned - with seven strikeouts. She improves to 6-6 in Big Ten play this season.
Offensively, Ohio State was led by senior captain Alicia Herron, who posted a two-run home run, a double and two runs scored. With her two runs, Herron, a native of Cypress, Calif., passed former Buckeye All-American Anna Smith (1999-02) for first on the OSU all-time career runs scored list with 167 career runs.
Freshman Taylor Watkins, senior Vanessa Spears, sophomore Evelyn Carrillo and junior captain Megan Coletta each had two hits as the OSU bats combined for 13 hits in the opening game of the series vs. the Nittany Lions.
The Buckeyes struck first in the top of the second with one run when freshman Shelby Pickett scored following a single to right by Coletta and a PSU throwing error, respectively. The throw from right field was off-target and was not cut off, allowing Pickett to cross the plate to make it 1-0.
Endicott didn't allow a hit until the bottom of the fourth when Alicia Walker got on with an infield single at shortstop. The Nittany Lions then tied the game, 1-1, when Walker scored from second after an OSU fielding error. The Buckeye pitcher limited the damage when she claimed her fifth strikeout, leaving two PSU runners on base.
In the fifth, the OSU bats tallied three runs on five hits to take a 4-1 lead. Herron began the rally when she broke the even score after blasting her 14th home run of the year over the right field wall following a lead-off single by Spears. With her long ball, Herron crossed the plate for the 166th time in her career to tie the record. LeBeau then made it 4-1 when she knocked her eighth double to center to plate Pickett from first base for her 24th RBI.
In the sixth, Herron made history when she broke Smith's ten-year record, scoring on an RBI single off the left center wall by Carrillo to make it 5-1.
In the bottom half, the Nittany Lions plated one run when Endicott walked Penn State pitcher Lisa Akamine with the bases loaded to make it 5-2. However, Endicott got out of the bases loaded jam the following at-bat after notching her seventh strikeout of the game on a called strike three over the inside corner over the plate.
Overall, Ohio State held a 13-2 advantage in hits. The Buckeyes left nine on base, while the Nittany Lions stranded six runners.
Game Two: Ohio State 5, Penn State 6 (Eight Innings)
In game two, the Buckeyes were ahead 5-2 with three outs to go, but allowed three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings vs. the Nittany Lions. After Ohio State stranded a runner on third in the top of the eight, Penn State claimed a walk-off RBI single by Alicia Walker to earn a 6-5 win against the Scarlet and Gray.
Offensively, Ohio State was led by junior captain Megan Coletta, who gave the Buckeyes a 5-2 lead after launching her first career grand slam in the top of the sixth. Pickett went 2-for-4 with a run scored and classmate Caitlin Conrad, who was 2-for-2 with a run scored and a triple.
In the top of the sixth, the Buckeyes went ahead, 5-2, after Coletta, a native of Fullerton, Calif., blasted her first grand slam off the scoreboard at Beard Field. Coletta now has career-highs of 26 RBI and five home runs in 2012. The OSU rally started after Carrillo reached on a fielder's choice, LeBeau walked and Pickett singled to load the bases for Coletta. On a 1-1 count, Coletta launched a deep fly ball off the bottom of the scoreboard behind the left field wall vs. PSU starting pitcher Jordan Wheatley to give the Buckeyes a three-run cushion late in the game.
But the Nittany Lions continued to fight at the plate and were able to tie the game, 5-5, posting a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh. Following an RBI double by Lauren Yao, Kasie Hatfield tied the game with her second long ball of the evening on a two-run shot to dead center field vs. Endicott.
In the top of the eighth, Conrad knocked her first career triple off the right field wall, but was stranded at third base when PSU reliever Akamine got Watkins to line out to shortstop.
Endicott, who replaced starting pitcher Melanie Nichols in fifth, received the loss to fall to 18-14 overall, allowing four runs on six hits in three innings of work with four strikeouts.
After the first three innings went scoreless, Penn State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth after Hatfield posted a solo home run for the team's second hit vs. Nichols - who struck out the side in the second inning. Ohio State had a great chance to take an early lead in the opening inning with runners on second and third, but failed to cross the plate vs. Wheatley.
The Scarlet and Gray rebounded to tie the game, 1-1, in the top of the fifth after Conrad scored from third base on a wild pitch that went to the backstop behind home plate. Junior Brittany Mills pinched hit to begin the inning and knocked her first triple of the season off the right field wall, but was tagged out at home plate following a fielder's choice by senior Katie Simonton. Conrad replaced Simonton on third base after the OSU starting right fielder had to leave the game due to an injury when she collided with the Penn State center fielder rounding second base.
The Nittany Lions retook the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth. Cassidy Bell began the inning with a lead-off double vs. Nichols, who was then replaced by Endicott in the circle. After Endicott claimed back-to-back strikeouts with runners on first and third, Penn State tallied its second run after Endicott tried to get the third out of the inning at home plate, but Bell beat the throw with a feet first slide. Hatfield earned an RBI on a fielder's choice on the play.
Nichols received a no decision in the game, throwing four innings on four hits, two runs, three walks and four strikeouts.
Overall, Penn State had 10 hits, while the Buckeyes collected six hits.