Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
The Ohio State softball team was unable to swing its momentum from a Wednesday win against Ball State into Madison, Wis., as Wisconsin swept the Buckeyes in a three-game weekend series.
The Badgers used solid pitching and defense to limit the Buckeyes (27-17, 6-9), winning, 7-6, in 10 innings and again, 3-1, on Saturday, before taking Sunday’s capper, 4-2.
The teams played a doubleheader on Saturday after Friday’s tilt was postponed due to inclement weather.
Despite the sweep, first-year coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly was able to find positives in her team’s performance.
“I thought Mel (Nichols, a redshirt junior pitcher) threw well when we called on her. We will need her down the stretch,” Schoenly said. “(Junior catcher Melissa) Rennie is really seeing the ball well. And over the last several weeks, (sophomore) Maddy McIntyre has really grown as a shortstop. She has worked really hard to increase her range and has done so.”
Nichols pitched 4 1/3 innings on the weekend in her two relief appearances, yielding two hits and giving up no runs while striking out five Badger batters. Rennie went 1-7 on the weekend, with two starts at catcher, and McIntyre went 3-9 with two walks and a run scored for the series.
During practice before heading to Madison, Wis., McIntyre said her goals for the series were to focus on her job and “being there for the team.” Schoenly said she thought McIntyre accomplished her personal goals, both defensively and offensively.
Despite OSU’s team struggles offensively against Wisconsin, freshman left fielder Cammi Prantl was able to have a solid individual series at the plate, highlighted by her extension of a 10-game-long hitting streak. Prantl went 4-10 with two RBIs on the weekend and pushed her season average to a team-leading .365.
“I couldn’t be happier for Cammi,” Schoenly said. “She is the complete offensive package, with speed and power. She is a confident kid and that helps tremendously in the box.”
Wisconsin came into the weekend second in the Big Ten in stolen bases, and during practice, senior third baseman Megan Coletta said stopping Wisconsin’s speed would be a point of contention for winning the series. Schoenly said that OSU handled Wisconsin’s speed well for the most part, even if it didn’t translate to wins.
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, OSU sits in eighth place in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to face Michigan State, which sits at fifth in the conference, at Buckeye Field Wednesday at 4 p.m. for a doubleheader. Both games will be televised on Big Ten Network.