Ohio State’s softball team has taken 15 of 17 meetings with the Morehead State Eagles. That dominance continued Friday night, but not without some drama.
Before a controversial ending, the bats were relatively quiet in game one.
The Buckeyes got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning when first baseman Evelyn Carrillo drove a ball down the third baseline, scoring center fielder Brittany Goodchild from third base.
OSU took an early 1-0 lead.
MSU’s Kayla Ashbrook hit an RBI double in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. It was six more innings until either team had a runner cross home plate.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th, shortstop Alicia Herron tripled to center field, and the Buckeyes just needed to get a ball in the outfield to give the speedy Herron the opportunity to score.
Carrillo stepped up to the plate and hit a handful of foul balls, including a pair that landed on the OSU football practice field, which sits just past foul territory near Buckeye Field.
“It’s normal for me,” Carrillo said about hitting balls into deep right field.
Carrillo eventually lined a ball into left field. MSU’s Kayla Brill bobbled the ball, but still made the catch.
Brill fired the ball to the catcher, but too late, as Herron had tagged up at third and began high-fiving teammates.
Eagles coach Holly Bruder came out to argue the call, but to no avail.
The Buckeyes took game one by a final score of 2-1.
“That’s the only way they can win the game!” one Eagles fan shouted from the crowd.
OSU coach Lisa Kalafatis explained the call.
“Alicia knew to get back and tag, and she did that,” Kalafatis said. “It’s on first touch, so the umpires got it right. We did it right.”
The extra three innings of play didn’t seem to faze starting pitcher Karisa Medrano, who gave up just five hits and one run as she pitched all 10 innings.
Medrano threw 135 pitches in the first contest.
After a 20-minute break, game two got under way.
The Buckeyes’ hot bats from the bottom of the 10th in game one carried over to the second game.
Carrillo drove in another run to get OSU started, giving the Buckeyes an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
It was Carrillo’s team-leading 29th RBI of the season.
“When I realize I have a runner on base, I just know I have to pull through for the team,” Carrillo said.
Two batters later, third baseman Megan Coletta sent a blooper to shallow right field, sending multiple Eagles diving, but failing to catch the ball. Two runs scored and OSU took an early 3-0 lead.
Herron swung on the first pitch of the Buckeyes’ half of the third inning, and drove a solo home run over the right-field fence.
Herron’s team-leading seventh homerun of the season gave OSU a 4-1 lead and prompted an MSU pitching change.
Jamie Whitcomb replaced MSU’s Kelcey McMurray, who gave up four runs in the first two innings.
An inning later, OSU right fielder Julia Pecina hit a ball right to Ashbrook, but it went through her legs and rolled into deep right field.
Catcher Melissa Rennie scored from third, and Pecina sprinted the bases to make it to third. The Buckeyes took a 5-1 lead.
Still in the bottom of the fourth, with the bases loaded, Whitcomb walked Carrillo to give OSU a 6-1 lead.
The Eagles continued to claw back into the game, as right fielder Sam Woodall scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth inning. Later in the inning, Brill knocked in center fielder Elizabeth Wagner, cutting the OSU lead in half, 6-3.
To face the last MSU batter in the fifth inning, Medrano returned to the game after throwing 135 pitches in the first game.
Medrano finished the game, earning her first save of the season, without giving up another run. OSU’s Kasie Kelly got the win, improving to 4-7 on the season.
The 153 pitches Medrano threw in less than five hours didn’t seem to both her.
“I’m a little tired. I’m glad we have the weekend off,” Medrano said. “I was pretty confident in my arm. In between games I got pretty sore, but after I loosened up again I was feeling pretty good.”
The Buckeyes have eight regular season games, all against Big Ten opponents, left before the post-season begins.