May 12, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Ohio State softball team finished out the 2012 campaign on a strong note, claiming a series victory at Penn State Saturday with a 4-1 victory vs. the Nittany Lions. With two wins at Penn State, the Buckeyes become the first team this season to claim a series win at Beard Field. Ohio State concludes the season with a 31-23 overall record and a 10-13 mark in Big Ten play.
Offensively, Ohio State was led by sophomore Evelyn Carrillo, who posted her second grand slam of the season in the top of the third. Carrillo, a native of Corona, Calif., wraps up the year with a season-high 47 RBI and six home runs. In their final games as Buckeyes, senior captain Alicia Herron walked four times, while classmate Vanessa Spears notched a single in game three of the series.
In the circle, starting pitcher Melanie Nichols capped off her redshirt sophomore year with a strong outing in the circle, throwing a complete game, while allowing just one run on six hits with four strikeouts. She concludes the season with a 12-9 mark.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third with one swing of the bat by Carrillo, who connected on a 1-1 pitch that sailed over the right center wall for a grand slam – the second OSU bases-clearing home run in the last two days. The long ball was Carrillo’s second grand slam of 2012. The OSU rally started after a fielder’s choice by freshman Taylor Watkins, a single by senior Vanessa Spears and a walk to senior captain Alicia Herron. Sophomore Melaina Saalfeld also singled to begin the inning.
Ohio State had a chance to open up the game in the fifth, but left three runners on base after PSU starting pitcher Lisa Akamine got out of the jam on a fly out.
The Nittany Lions plated its only run in the bottom half on an RBI double by Danee Collett, but Nichols limited the damage when she threw a runner out at the plate on a ground ball back to the circle with a nice block and tag by freshman catcher Shelby Pickett and got two PSU batters to pop up in the infield to end the threat.
The Scarlet and Gray had a great chance for some insurance in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded, but failed to push any runs around vs. Akamine. Pickett knocked an infield single to end her first season with a nine-game hit streak.
Herron, a three-time All-Big Ten selection, concludes her career at the top of multiple OSU career batting record lists, including first in runs scored (168), second in home runs (49) and RBI (176), third in hits (226), fourth in triples (11) and doubles (40) and fifth in walks (113) and batting average (.367). She finishes her final year with a .378 batting average, 51 hits, 48 runs scored (season-high), 14 home runs (ties season-high), 14 stolen bases (season-high) and 52 walks (season-high).
Spears, a native of Brea, Calif., finished out strong for the Buckeyes in her final season with season-highs in batting average (.303), runs scored (44) and hits (47).
Buckeye Spotlight - Anna Kirk