Abby Sweet / Lantern Photographer
Sporting its road red uniforms, the Ohio State softball team dug itself into an early hole against Purdue and never recovered, losing 4-2 Friday at Buckeye Field in the first of a three-game series.
Purdue (12-18, 1-3) was designated the home team after weather conditions in West Lafayette, Ind., rendered its home field unplayable and forced the teams to reschedule the weekend series eastward to Columbus.
Sophomore pitcher Alex DiDomenico struggled from the start, walking the bases loaded and giving up two runs in the first inning before being pulled in the second. She finished the day with five walks and three earned runs. She suffered her fourth loss of the season.
DiDomenico said she had trouble adapting to the game.
“I had trouble adjusting to (home plate umpire Greg Paul’s) strike zone,” she said. “That’s on my part, I couldn’t adjust, and they took advantage of it.”
Redshirt junior pitcher Melanie Nichols pitched the remainder of the game.
Purdue struck first with a run off of a walk with the bases loaded and added another after a throwing error by sophomore outfielder Caitlin Conrad.
The second inning saw the Boilermakers score two more, aided by junior outfielder Lindsey Rains’ RBI double.
The Buckeyes (20-10, 2-2) added one back in the third inning off of freshman utility player Cammi Prantl’s sacrifice fly RBI and another in the fourth off sophomore second baseman Shelby Pickett’s RBI single to chip away at the lead, 4-2.
In the end, though, the early deficit proved too large to overcome.
Sophomore outfielder Taylor Watkins said the Buckeyes still have hope for the rest of the weekend.
“We need to come out more focused tomorrow,” Watkins said. “We didn’t hit like we normally do, but we have to come out and play hard and forget about this game and worry about the next two.”
The Buckeyes’ offense was grounded by Purdue sophomore pitcher Lexy Moore, who earned her fourth victory of the season with a three-hit, one-earned run, four-strike out game.
Watkins said that the Buckeyes simply didn’t play their best.
“We should have came out hard no matter what,” Watkins said.
“Whether we were home or the visitors, and we didn’t. It was just a normal game.”
Purdue snapped a nine-game losing streak with the victory and earned its first Big Ten win of the season.
DiDomenico said she expects Saturday’s game against the Boilermakers to go better.
“We have to come out tomorrow and do our best,” DiDomenico said. “And things will fall into place.”
OSU is scheduled to take on Purdue for game two of the weekend series Saturday at 2 p.m. at Buckeye Field. The teams will also meet Sunday at 1 p.m.