COLUMBUS, Ohio — Highlighted by a 5-4 upset in extra innings against No. 9 Georgia, Ohio State posted two victories on Saturday at the Sixth Annual Red and Black Showcase in Athens, Ga. The Buckeyes (3-1) defeated Winthrop 17-5 in game one before claiming their first road win of 2013 against the Bulldogs (2-2) in game two.
Guided by first-year head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly, the win marked the first victory in Ohio State history against Georgia. It is also the first road win against a top-10 non-conference opponent since the Buckeyes defeated then-No. 3 UCLA 7-0 during the 2010 campaign.
“We were just tenacious [Saturday],” Schoenly said. “The game had so many momentum swings and we were able to fight it out. Georgia is a great hitting team and I am proud of our pitchers for gritting it out for us.”
With the bat of senior Megan Coletta, the Buckeyes picked up their biggest road win in recent history. After Georgia tied the game at four in the bottom of the seventh, the Buckeyes rebounded with a run in the top of the eighth when Coletta sent an RBI single through the left side to score freshman Cammi Prantl for the eventual game-winning run. The big play was set up after Prantl began the inning with a lead-off double – her first extra-base hit of her career.
Junior designated player Leesa Gresham gave the Buckeyes a 4-0 lead in the top of the first when she posted a two-run double. In two games Saturday, Gresham batted .500 with a home run, double, four RBIs and three runs scored.
“We are so ecstatic for this win,” Gresham said. “We have worked hard during the offseason and have found motivation through our coaching staff and alumni. This is a great stepping stone for the rest of our season.”
Sophomore pitcher Alex DiDomenico came into the game in the seventh inning and claimed the first victory of her career, throwing 1.2 innings, allowing no runs on two hits with a strikeout. In the bottom of the eighth, the Bulldogs got a runner on following a single, but DiDomenico then claimed back-to-back outs to close the door on Georgia.
Sophomore pitcher Olivia O’Reilly started for the Scarlet and Gray and received a no decision, limiting the UGA bats to two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work with two strikeouts. Offensively, Carrillo was 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Watkins and Pickett each had a pair of hits.
Ohio State got off to a solid start against the Bulldogs, plating four runs in the top of the first. After back-to-back walks to Coletta and McIntyre, Carrillo sent a single to center field to score Coletta, while Pickett followed with an RBI single up the middle to score the second OSU run. Following a Georgia pitching change, Gresham posted an RBI double to right field to score both Pickett and pinch runner Alyson Mott to make the score 4-0.
The Bulldogs cut the OSU lead to two runs in the bottom half following an RBI double and RBI single. O’Reilly stopped the UGA rally when she induced a groundout to second base to end the first.
In the sixth inning, Ohio State got a runner on, but failed to capitalize with any runs. In the bottom half, Georgia’s Niaja Griffin tried to stretch a single into a double with two down, but Prantl came up firing from left field to claim the final out of the sixth at second base to end the UGA offensive threat.
O’Reilly and the OSU defense had to go through the top of the UGA batting order in the seventh to earn the win. She got the first out quickly on a groundout to shortstop. However, the Bulldogs didn’t back down, collecting a one-out double to put the tying run in scoring position.
Ohio State then relieved O’Reilly in the circle. DiDomenico came into the game for the save situation. After a pop-up to center field, the Bulldogs tied the game at four when Glasco sent a two-out RBI single to left field. DiDomenico then concentrated on the batter and got the last out of the seventh with a strikeout to force extra innings.
Overall, Ohio State posted 11 hits, while the Bulldogs had 12 hits.