A late-inning rally was not enough for the Ohio State softball team (10-27, 2-8 Big Ten) to bounce back from an eight-run deficit, as Purdue (27-12-1, 5-3) swept OSU in this weekend’s two-game series.
The second game mirrored the first. A seven-run inning for Purdue was the difference in OSU’s 10-8 loss Sunday at Buckeye Field.
OSU gave up seven runs in the third inning in Saturday’s game when the Boilermakers defeated the Buckeyes, 7-0.
Purdue pitcher Suzie Rzegocki was brilliant again in the circle, earning consecutive wins on back-to-back complete games (her 25th and 26th) in the series. Rzegocki gave up eight runs, but only two earned runs on 11 hits, and struck out a batter.
With the run rule in effect in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Buckeyes rallied for six runs on six hits to make the score 10-8. With runners on first and third and one out, consecutive errors by Purdue’s second and third basemen accounted for OSU’s first run and loaded the bases. Two more runs were scored as the top of the lineup came up to bat for the Buckeyes with the score at 10-5.
“We came out with a better fight and desire,” junior shortstop Alicia Herron said. “I think that we’re growing as a team. We’re maturing and it’s a really good sign for this year into next.”
Herron (3-for-4, two runs, two RBIs) roped a line-drive double down the third base line to score Leesa Gresham from second base. Dee Dee Hillman followed with a double to plate Herron, and freshman Evelyn Carrillo (2-for-4, RBI) scored Hillman on her second single of the inning just over the head of third baseman Tori Chiodo.
“I felt like I was a little bit under pressure, but I knew from preparing myself I would pull through for the team,” Carrillo said. “Once we get our momentum going towards our way and how we want it, everybody starts improving and starts noticing where they have to fix their mechanics.”
The Buckeyes put a runner on first base with two outs on an error by shortstop Molly Garst, but were unable to do anything past that.
Freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly (3-6) took the loss as she gave up six runs on six hits and walked two batters in 4 1/3 innings pitched. She returned in the sixth inning and gave up an unearned run on one hit and struck out a batter. Kelly pitched a perfect seventh inning to keep the Buckeyes in the game.
Buckeye bullpen struggles again
Just as it did Saturday, Purdue posted a seven-run inning to break the game open. The Boilermakers batted around the order in the top of the fifth inning, scoring seven runs on as many hits.
With one out, Tori Chiodo walked on four pitches and was plated one batter later when shortstop Molly Garst doubled to left center field. Purdue then took a 4-2 lead after Andie Varsho singled to centerfield to score Garst.
Kelly walked Lindsey Rains and was taken out of the game for Saturday’s starting pitcher, Karisa Medrano.
The senior struggled in her relief appearance just as Kelly did when she relieved Medrano on Saturday. Medrano gave up five runs (two charged to Kelly) on five hits in two-thirds of an inning pitched, highlighted by a three-run home run crushed to left field by Shelby Krammer to make the score 9-2.
“We showed some fight today, and obviously it has been a little bit of a frustrating year,” coach Linda Kalafatis said. “We’re pretty young in the circle so we have been giving up more runs than what we would like.”
Swirling winds produce home runs
The wind was swirling and blowing strongly Sunday. Hits that elevated high enough were carried a great deal by the 39 mph gusts.
A pair of first pitch hits sparked the Purdue offense in the top of the second inning. First baseman Kim McMillan doubled to right-center field and scored on Erika Petruzzi’s two-run home run. Petruzzi took Kelly’s first pitch and smacked it off the center field scoreboard to give the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead.
Herron cut Purdue’s lead in half when she blasted a 1-2 pitch well over the left-field wall to put the score at 2-1. It was Herron’s sixth home run of the year, which is tied with Carrillo for the team lead. Krammer hit a three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning for the Boilermakers.
Infield conditions benefit buckeyes in 4th
All day, infield dirt slowed ground balls, and it really came into play as the Buckeyes tied the game, 2-2.
Carrillo singled on a slow roller up the middle to start the bottom of the fourth inning. Brittany Goodchild followed with an infield single to Garst. With runners on second and third and one out after Megan Coletta’s sacrifice bunt, freshman catcher Melissa Rennie hit the ball out in front of Rzegocki. She charged toward the ball but bobbled it, allowing Carrillo’s pinch runner, Alyson Mott, to score. Rennie was thrown out at first.
The Buckeyes travel to Athens, Ohio, for a midweek doubleheader at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday against Ohio.