Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
The Ohio State softball team (26-14, 6-6) used small-ball tactics to earn a big win Sunday against Penn State in eight innings, 4-3. The win completed a home series sweep for the Scarlet and Gray.
The Buckeyes used a pair of sacrifice flies, one each in the seventh and eighth innings, to tie and win the game. Sophomore right fielder Caitlin Conrad was responsible for the game-winning sacrifice in extras, using solid contact to plate senior third baseman Megan Coletta and secure the victory.
“We did a lot of small but aggressive things today (Sunday) to help us win as a team,” said OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. “Our pinch runners changed our game because they were able to score on close plays at the plate for us.”
OSU used a series of hits, sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flies to manufacture runs late in the game, a stark contrast to the offensive fireworks displayed in their game two win on Saturday, a 16-7 drubbing that saw them plate nine first-inning runs.
The game was neck-and-neck for much of Sunday afternoon as OSU held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 for most of the game. Penn State took its first lead of the day in the top of the seventh inning off a two-out, two-run home run, but OSU sent the game into extra innings with a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 3-3 in the bottom half of the frame.
“I just felt that we weren’t going to give it to them and stop playing,” Coletta said. “Our last three innings, I think we scored once in each inning, and we weren’t going to give up. We were finally hitting the ball and making our adjustments at the plate and we were able to play as a team.”
Schoenly called the victory the “best team win of the year.”
OSU also saw another solid outing from sophomore pitcher Alex DiDomenico, who improved to 11-6 overall with the win after yielding six hits and three runs with five strikeouts in her seventh complete game of the season. After her masterful complete game shutout in OSU’s 2-0 victory on Friday in the first game of the series, DiDomenico said the team had to keep fighting Penn State if it wanted to finish off the series.
Her pitching effort on Sunday made sure the Buckeyes earned the sweep. Schoenly said DiDomenico pitched “really well” for the Buckeyes, as she continues to solidify her status as an elite pitcher in the Big Ten conference.
The series sweep gives OSU a .500 conference record at the halfway point of Big Ten play.
Their next contest is set for Wednesday against Ball State at 6 p.m. at Buckeye Field.