April 28, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Ohio State 6, Northwestern 2
Records: NU (19-26, 6-10 Big Ten), Ohio State (28-18, 7-8 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: April 29, 2012 -- vs. Ohio State (Sharon J. Drysdale Field), Noon CT Doubleheader
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Ohio State pulled away from a close game Saturday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, using a four-run seventh inning to defeat Northwestern, 6-2, in the first game of a three-game Big Ten series.
Northwestern now is 19-26 on the season with the loss, 6-10 in the Big Ten. Ohio State improves to 28-18 on the year with its win, 7-8 in the conference. The Wildcats and Buckeyes conclude their series tomorrow, Sunday, April 29, with a noon CT doubleheader at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Come early to cheer on honorary team member Katie Crandol, a softball player and NU fan from northwest Indiana who is battling cancer.
Ohio State loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first against Northwestern starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic). Letourneau got the next batter to infield fly out to herself standing in the circle, then the next batter also hit a weak flare, but this one fell just behind second base for a single that gave the Buckeyes an early 2-0 lead.
Northwestern loaded the bases itself in the bottom of the first on a Mari Majam
(Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) hit by pitch, an Adrienne Monka
(Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) single and a two-out Olivia Duehr
(Antioch, Ill./Antioch) hit by pitch. The next batter battled to a full count before ultimately succumbing in a no-run frame for the Wildcats.
Ohio State again loaded the bases in the top of the second with one out, prompting Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) to enter the circle in relief. Albanese did very well to shut down the rally, gloving a tricky liner back toward her glove side before getting a flyout to center to keep the Buckeyes at two runs.
The game's next threat took place in Northwestern's half of the third when Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off with a bouncer to second so high that she was at first base by the time the fielder caught it. Allard then stole second and moved to third on a Majam groundout, but a high foul out in left field and a grounder in the hole at short ended the inning with Allard still at third.
While Albanese kept Ohio State quiet at the plate, Northwestern again threatened in the fourth. Duehr led off with a grounder into the hole that the third baseman made an incredible dive on, but the throw from her knees was too late resulting in a Duehr single. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) attempted to sacrifice Duehr to second, but was safe herself when the fielder bobbled the ball for an error. Another error with two outs loaded the bases before again a close play at first ended the inning with the Wildcats still not on the scoreboard.
The run-scoring hit continued to elude Northwestern in the bottom of the fifth when Majam reached with a leadoff single before one-out Bast single put runners at first and second. Duehr, however, hit a hard bounder to third that the fielder turned for an inning-ending double play.
Albanese was cruising in the circle, not allowing Ohio State to mount anything near what Northwestern was putting up at the plate. Her work was rewarded with the Wildcats broke through in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out rally. Freshman Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) began the proceedings with a sharp single into center before moving to second when Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) bounced an infield single high in the air. Allard then drove in Edwards with a smash into center to cut NU's deficit in half, 2-1, going to the seventh frame.
Ohio State rallied back in the top of the seventh, getting its first two runners on before Jenny Tyler (Glendale, Ariz./Deer Valley) relieved Albanese in the circle. Tyler recorded a couple of outs among a trio of base hits before exiting in favor of Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) with the score 6-1 and two outs in the frame. Lamberth needed just one pitch to get a groundout to second to end the inning.
Monka led off the bottom of the seventh with her 38th walk of the season then gave way to pinch runner Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial), who moved to second on a Bast groundout and to third on the same from Duehr. DiPrima then drilled a double to the fence in left to knock home Tonz and make it a 6-2 game before the final out was recorded.
Letourneau (9-9) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks with a K in 1.1 innings in her start. Albanese went 4.2 effective innings of relief including shutting down that second-inning bases-loaded situation, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks with four strikeouts overall in the game. Tyler surrendered two runs on three hits and a walk in 0.2 innings while Lamberth was credited with one-third inning of work.
Allard led NU at the plate Saturday with a 2-for-4 day, driving in a run and stealing a base.
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