daniel Zaas / Lantern photographer
Late-game drama built up in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday afternoon at Buckeye Field, as Ohio State shortstop Alicia Herron came to the plate with two outs, the bases loaded and a run needed to extend the game, which Illinois led, 8-0, in the bottom of the fifth inning.
But it was short-lived as Herron’s pop-up to center field was caught over the shoulder by sprinting Illinois second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz.
The 8-0 score stood and OSU ended the game with three runners left on base.
The run-rule victory gave Illinois the first win of the two-game series over the weekend and dropped the Buckeyes to 10-22 overall, 2-3 in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini improved to 17-14, 4-1 in the Big Ten.
“A lot of their runs came off of walks and home runs,” OSU pitcher Karisa Medrano said. “I wasn’t attacking the batters like I normally do.”
Medrano gave up five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings Saturday afternoon on three hits. All five runs given up by Medrano came off the bat of Illinois left fielder Jessica Davis, who had a two-run home run in the first inning, followed by a three-run home run in her next at bat in the third inning.
Davis was walked on four pitches in her third and final plate appearance.
The Buckeyes couldn’t do any damage offensively either, as Illinois sophomore pitcher Pepper Gay gave up just two hits in the five-inning shutout.
OSU freshman Melissa Rennie accounted for one those two hits, and said moving on is the only thing to do after a tough loss.
“We’ve got to come out attacking like they do,” Rennie said. “Nothing you can do. Just got to get over it and move on.”
Illinois completed the sweep of the Buckeyes with a 13-4 victory Sunday at Buckeye Field.
The Buckeyes return to action for a series against Indiana at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind.