Buckeyes Split With Kentucky to Open Fall Schedule
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State softball team opened its 2014 fall schedule by splitting a doubleheader with Kentucky on Sunday in Lexington, Ky. The Buckeyes dropped the first game, 3-1, but quickly rebounded to take the second, 4-2.
Game One: Kentucky 3, Ohio State 1
Sophomore Shelby Hursh got the start for Ohio State in the first game, pitching six innings and scattering just four hits while striking out nine. On offense, the Buckeyes were aggressive on the base paths, stealing three bases, including two by senior Keelia Nester.
Ohio State struck first in the top of the second, scoring an unearned run when Caitlin Conrad came home after a throwing error by Kentucky catcher Griffin Joyner. Conrad got the rally started with a lead-off single and then got into scoring position by stealing second. After freshman Alex Vargas popped out, sophomore Anna Kirk singled to left field.
Kentucky scored its three runs in the bottom of the fourth, keyed by a two-run double to right center field by Rachael Metzger. Hursh was able to avoid any further damage by striking out Christian Strokes with the bases loaded.
Game Two: Ohio State 4, Kentucky 2
Sophomore Lena Springer tossed a six-inning one-hitter to key the Buckeyes' win in the second game. At the plate, Ohio State scored three runs in the top of the fifth to overcome a 2-1 deficit, keyed by a go-ahead RBI single from Maddy McIntyre.
Springer relieved starter Olivia O'Reilly after the first inning and allowed one unearned run in the bottom of the second, but was able to work out of a bases loaded jam by getting Metzger to ground out to shortstop.
Trailing 2-0, the Buckeyes got a run back in the top of the third via a double steal that scored Conrad. On the way, Conrad swiped four bases of the Buckeyes' eight bases.
Ohio State scored three times on five hits and one Kentucky error in the top of the fifth to take the lead for good. Key hits included RBI singles from Kirk, McIntyre and freshman Taylor White. Watkins got the big inning started by reaching of an error and two batters later, Prantl reached base thanks to another single. Kirk tied the game with her RBI single, McIntyre gave the Buckeyes the lead and White provided an important insurance run.
Springer gave up the only hit of the game with one out in the seventh inning, but quickly recovered to make a key defensive play, a diving catch on a bunt by Sylver Samuel for the second out of the inning. She got a fly ball to center field for the final out of the game.
On the day, Prantl, White, Leonard and Kirk all had multiple hits. Ohio State was 8-for-10 on stolen bases and Buckeye pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.
The Buckeyes continue their fall schedule this weekend when they host the 14th annual Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic at Fred Beekman Park. Ohio State plays Eastern Michigan at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday (Field 1) and Bowling Green at 11:45 on Sunday (Field 1). Admission to the two games is free, while entrance to the OCCC is a $5 donation with all proceeds benefiting the Stefanie Spielman Fund. Fred Beekman Park is located west of State Route 315 at Lane Avenue.