April 26, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For the second-straight day, Ohio State survived a seventh-inning, bases-loaded rally to escape with a narrow win over No. 25 Northwestern Saturday at Buckeye Field, 8-7.
Northwestern falls to 29-13 overall on the season, 11-8 in the Big Ten with its loss. Ohio State improves to 24-23 with its win, 10-9 in the conference. OSU thwarted a bases-loaded, seventh-inning rally Friday with a line-out double play to win game one of this series, 3-1.
NU and OSU meet again for the final game of this series at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT tomorrow, Sunday, April 27.
Ohio State put the game's first run on the board in the bottom of the first. The leadoff batter was hit by a pitch from Northwestern starter Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) and moved around to third on a passed ball/wild pitch sequence that also resulted in a strikeout. After another Bond K, OSU got a two-out single to take a 1-0 edge.
The Wildcats tied the score immediately in the top of the second, beginning a rally with Andrea DiPrima's (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) third walk of the series. She moved to third when Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) smoked a single into the right-centerfield gap, then came home on a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill.//H.L. Richards) sacrifice fly to nearly the same location.
Ohio State regained the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the second with a two-out double steal that worked to perfection when NU's return throw to the plate was a beat too late.
Northwestern rallied hard in the top of the third for a pair of runs to take a 3-2 lead in the game. Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) drew a full-count, leadoff walk to start things before Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) used her speed to beat out a one-hop slap back to the pitcher (!!) for a single and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) also singled on the infield to load the bases.
Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) drove in NU's first run of the frame with the Wildcats' second sacrifice fly of the contest, then DiPrima brought Allard home with a single to left.
The seesaw battle continued when OSU led off its half of the third with a home run to again knot the game, 3-3. The Buckeyes got another base runner to second with one out before LeBeau ranged from her second base position out to shallow center to glove a flare and fire back in to second base to double off a dancing runner to end the inning.
Ohio State continued to score in the bottom of the fourth, going back ahead with a two-out, three-run home run just over the centerfield wall to make the score 6-3.
Northwestern jumped on its end of the seesaw in the top of the fifth and ejected Ohio State's starting pitcher Shelby Hursh from the game with a four-run inning. Allard and Majam led off with back-to-back singles before Bast drove a ball back up the middle to plate Allard and leave runners at second and third with no outs. Ohio State lifted Hursh from the game at that point in favor of Game One winner Olivia O'Reilly, and NU continued to hit.
DiPrima immediately ripped a single back through the middle to make the score 6-5 before Ohio State turned a crazy double play on the infield that concluded with a super close play at the plate. Not deterred and with a runner still at first base, LeBeau tripled off the very top of the left-centerfield wall to tie the score before Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) rifled a single into center to put NU back on top, 7-6.
With the lead back, Northwestern made a pitching change, inserting senior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) into the circle in relief of Bond. Albanese successfully kept Ohio State off the board with an assertive frame, working around only a two-out single to maintain NU's 7-6 edge to the sixth.
Northwestern loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth on a Kuhn single, an Allard single and a DiPrima two-out walk, but OSU escaped the frame with its deficit against NU still at just a single run.
Albanese worked through much of the meat of the Ohio State lineup in the bottom of the sixth and face a two-on, two-out situation after an NU error. The batter was able to foul off a couple of pitches and then doubled to left-center to put OSU back top, 8-7, going to the seventh.
LeBeau was hit by the first pitch from O'Reilly to begin the seventh, then, with one out,Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) found a hole in the left side of the infield for a single. With Kuhn at the plate, a pitch bounced in and away to allow both runners to move up on a wild pitch, and Ohio State elected to re-enter the starter Hursh into the circle. Hursh eventually hit Kuhn with a pitch to load the bases before OSU made the escape act final with two outs.
Bond threw 4.0 innings in her start, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a no-decision. Albanese (5-6) was tagged with the loss, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and a strikeout in 2.0 innings.
Allard finished 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored, Majam and DiPrima both had two hits, and Majam, DiPrima and LeBeau each drove in a pair.
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