Ohio State softball drops 4 of 5 games in FAU KickOff Classic

Then-sophomore pitcher Alex DiDomenico winds up for a pitch during a game against Michigan State April 24 at Buckeye Field. OSU won, 6-3.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorDespite keeping its games close throughout the tournament, the Ohio State women’s softball team left the FAU Kick-Off Classic with little to show for its efforts.OSU (1-4, 0-0) played five competitive games against Tulsa, St. John’s, Northern Illinois, Louisville and hosts Florida Atlantic spanning Friday to Sunday in the tournament, with its only win coming against NIU.The Buckeyes wrapped up the weekend falling to FAU 3-1.OSU fell behind early, giving up all three of FAU’s runs in the bottom of the first inning. The offense struggled for most of the game, failing to get on the scoreboard until junior outfielder Caitlin Conrad smashed a solo homerun to left field.OSU junior pitcher Olivia O’Reilly pitched five innings, giving up one earned run on three hits and two strikeouts. Redshirt-senior pitcher Melanie Nichols came into the game in relief of O’Reilly, pitching one inning giving up no hits and striking out one.After defeating NIU Saturday, 6-4, for their first win of the season, the Buckeyes took that momentum into their second game of the day against No. 18 Louisville, but ultimately fell 5-4 in eight innings.OSU took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning after redshirt-sophomore catcher Erika Leonard hit a two-run RBI double.The team stretched that lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning when sophomore outfielder Cammi Prantl and senior first baseman Evelyn Carrillo pulled off a double steal that put on Carrillo on second base and allowed Prantl to steal home.Nichols had a no-hit bid going late into the game for OSU until Louisville’s junior outfielder Kelsi Jones hit a two-run homerun in the sixth inning, bringing the score to 4-2 in the Buckeyes’ favor.The game went into extra innings after freshman pitcher Shelby Hursh gave up a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning in relief of Nichols. Louisville scored the game winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning when theCardinals’ senior second baseman Katie Keller hit an RBI single to left field.After finishing day one of the tournament four-for-five with two doubles and a homerun, Conrad continued her prolific weekend against NIU, going two-for-three with a double, a triple and two RBI to help her team to the win.OSU junior pitcher Alex DiDomenico was just one out short of her first complete game of the season, going 6.2 innings with two earned runs and eight strikeouts. Hursh relieved DiDomenico, earning her first-career save.Despite OSU’s bats finally heating up in the Florida sun during its second game of the day Friday, this time against St. John’s, the Buckeyes lost to the Red Storm, 6-3.Junior outfielder Taylor Watkins scored the Buckeyes’ first run of the season after an RBI single to right field by Carrillo in the bottom of the first inning. Conrad then gave the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead with a two-run homerun in the fourth inning.OSU could not hold the lead as St. John’s would score the final five runs of the game for the victory.In her collegiate debut, Hursh went 4.1 innings with four runs on two hits and three strikeouts.The Buckeyes opened their 2014 schedule with an early test against Tulsa, a team that made an appearance in last year’s NCAA tournament. Both teams struggled to produce offensively with the Buckeyes eventually falling to the Golden Hurricane, 1-0, in eight innings.DiDomenico went five innings, with four strikeouts and four hits. Nichols came into the game in relief for DiDomenico, allowing two hits in 2.2 innings and one strikeout.The Buckeyes are set to continue their tournament schedule at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas next weekend, including games against No. 3 Florida and No. 8 Oregon.

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