April 25, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State went ahead of No. 25 Northwestern with a pair of runs in the fifth inning and held NU at bay all game long with outstanding defense before completing a snowcone, bases-loaded, game-ending double play in the seventh to survive the Wildcats, 3-1.
Northwestern's current six-game winning streak is snapped with the loss, dropping the Wildcats to 29-12 overall and 11-7 in the Big Ten. Ohio State improves to 23-23 on the season, 9-9 in the conference with its win.
NU and OSU meet again for game two of this series at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT tomorrow, Saturday, April 26.
After NU starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) struck out the Ohio State side in the bottom of the first, Northwestern began the scoring in the top of the second. With one out, Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) was hit by a pitch and stole second. Then, one out later, Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) found the right-field gap with an RBI double to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Ohio State bounced back immediately in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases with no outs on a double, a walk and an error. Wood recovered to strike out the next two batters before the third was jammed so badly that she hit a little pop up in front of the circle that was too short for Wood to grab and too far for catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) to get to, resulting in a run and a 1-1 tie as the game entered the third inning.
Northwestern threatened to score again in the third when Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) reached on a two-out single and Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights,Ill./Buffalo Grove) followed with a walk. Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) made a bid to drive them in with a frozen rope toward third, but the fielder reached up out of self-defense to make the catch just above her own head.
While NU searched for the go-ahead run, Wood kept Ohio State at bay until the fifth. She needed just four pitches to retire the OSU side in order in the third, then worked around a one-out single in the fourth with two strikeouts to reach seven total Ks in the game. In the fifth, Ohio State was able to get to Wood for a pair of runs after a leadoff hit by pitch and a two-out home run made it 3-1 in favor of the home team.
Disaster struck Northwestern in the bottom of the sixth with the Wildcats running into a pair of outs on spectacular OSU throws. DiPrima led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana). On a wild pitch, Strub took off for second but the OSU catcher magically recovered and fired a strike to the bag to retire Strub. After an appealed third strike call went for out No. 2, the Wildcats got a LeBeau two-out single followed by a Tonz double off the wall in right field. Ohio State fielded it well and fired home quickly to get LeBeau trying to score to end the inning.
Wood got a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth to keep NU's deficit at two runs to set up the exciting and not so fun conclusion. It began well when Filler roped her third double of the game to right-center to tie the NU single-game record previously achieved by Jamie Dotson on March 24, 2005, and Carri Leto on April 12, 2002. Pinch runner Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) replaced Filler at second. A groundout from pinch hitter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) moved Williams to third.
Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) then smashed a liner into left that was dropped for OSU's one defensive miscue in the game, putting runners on the corners with one out. Allard quickly swiped second, then Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) reached on an infield single that loaded the bases with one down.
Bast stepped to the plate with momentum fully on the Northwestern side and tattooed a line drive destined for the right-center field gap with smoke pouring from the ball. Ohio State's second baseman, however, leapt and made a snowcone grab of the comet as it blazed by before doubling off a runner to end the game in stunning fashion.
Wood (16-6) took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.
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