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Softball splits series with Michigan State behind Medrano’s 100th season strikeout

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Ohio State softball pitcher Karisa Medrano threw a complete game two-hitter in a 1-0 win against Michigan State at Buckeye Field on Sunday, splitting the weekend series after losing the first game, 12-2.

But a change in the win-loss column was just a minor detail for a team that was already out of postseason contention coming in to the weekend.

Medrano, who had played just 12.1 innings coming in to this season, became the team’s ace and recorded her 100th strikeout of the season in the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday.

She was also one of four seniors honored during Senior Day on Sunday. For the first time in her OSU career, two of Medrano’s biggest fans were able to watch her play in scarlet and gray.

“My family got to be here today, their first time at Buckeye Field,” Medrano said. “I just love having them here. You feel that support coming from your family.”

Medrano’s Father and brother flew in from New Mexico, where she’s from. She said it made Sunday her most memorable moment as a Buckeye softball player.

Fellow senior Brittany Goodchild’s most memorable moment was a bit more of what one would expect from a Buckeye.

“Beating Michigan!” Goodchild said.

Goodchild, who first met Medrano freshman year when they were roommates, said the players rely on one another off the field as much as they do on the field.

“Everybody’s been such a strong family. We’ve been through a lot of up and downs,” Goodchild said. “Everybody’s been so strong for each other.”

The players needed to be strong for one another, particularly this week.

On Tuesday, junior shortstop Alicia Herron’s mother died of cancer.

Many of the players wore wristbands with Herron’s mother’s initials on them. In center field, below the painted Block “O,” Herron’s mother’s initials, “JLH,” were also painted as a tribute to Herron’s late mother.

Herron scored the lone run in Sunday’s win.

“Alicia made it easier because she was with us, and I think that was an inspiration. … It’s hard for young people to see a teammate go through that,” coach Linda Kalafatis said. “A lot of these kids knew Mrs. Herron, so they felt loss too.”

Although it may seem trivial compared to death, OSU’s 14-33 record and injuries throughout the season have also plagued the team during the season.

“Being able to push through when things aren’t going our way, you find a way to get it done. We really tried to stress to keep your head up,” senior left fielder Dee Dee Hillman said. “Through the tough times, there are learning experiences.”

Senior infielder Rachael Shepherd agreed.

“I’m truly grateful for all those things that I’ve got to learn from the girls,” she said.

Six underclassmen started in Sunday’s game and consistently have been in the lineup all season. The departing seniors have helped the younger ladies prepare to become the leaders of the future.

“To see them grow from when they first got here to now is just tremendous,” Shepherd said.

Before the torch is officially passed, the Buckeyes have one more home series left. They will play a doubleheader against Penn State on Wednesday before finishing their season this weekend at Wisconsin.

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