Ohio State fends off No. 16 Louisville in eight innings to get 1-0 upset win
COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a pitcher's dual guided by sophomore Alex DiDomenico in the circle, Ohio State posted a 1-0 upset victory in eight innings vs. No. 16 Louisville Saturday afternoon to split Day 2 at the JU Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. DiDomenico, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, improved to 3-0 overall record in 2013, throwing eight innings, allowing no runs on four hits with three strikeouts for the Buckeyes (6-3) against the Cardinals (6-2).
"That was a big time performance by Alex DiDomenico," first-year head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said. "She was fierce in the circle for us and for Gresham to come off the bench with that clutch hit was huge for our team."
With the win, the Buckeyes have now claimed two victories this season against nationally-ranked opponents. Last weekend, the squad defeated then-No. 8 Georgia 5-4 in eight innings at the Sixth Annual Red and Black Showcase in Athens.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, senior Megan Coletta was placed on second base to begin the eighth vs. the Cardinals after the first seven innings went scoreless. Freshman Cammi Prantl did her job and advanced Coletta to third base when she grounded out to second. Coming off the bench to pinch hit, junior Leesa Gresham then came up with the clutch hit when she pulled a ball down the left field line for the RBI single to make it 1-0 in favor of Ohio State - the eventual gamewinning run.
The first seven innings of the contest went scoreless with a combined five hits between the two teams. The Buckeyes showed off several defensive plays behind DiDomenico vs. the Cardinals. Sophomore Maddy McIntyre made a nice over the shoulder grab to claim the first out in the bottom of the third, while senior Megan Coletta started a solid 5-4-3 double play with a quick turn by junior Melaina Saalfeld in the bottom of the fourth after the Cardinals began the at-bat with a lead-off single. McIntyre made another heads-up play when claimed a double play after snagging a liner up the middle and throwing down the UL runner off the bag at first to end the fifth.
In the top of the fifth, the Buckeyes claimed their first hit of the afternoon when Coletta sent a rocket up the middle off the UL shortstop's glove. She then advanced to third following a sacrifice bunt by Prantl and a groundout, but could not advance to home after UL starter Rachel Le Coq induced a fly out to left field to end the OSU chance.
After Ohio State went in order, the Cardinals had runners on first and second and two down with their clean-up hitter Tanner Fowler at the plate. But DiDomenico stayed focused in the circle and got Folwer to line out to center to keep the scoreboard reading zeros heading to the seventh.
In the seventh, DiDomenico snagged a liner up the middle for the final out of the inning to send it to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinals advanced their runner to third base after a sacrifice bunt. The OSU sophomore then got S-Willet to strikeout looking, while Saalfeld made the final out of the game on a pop-up behind second base.
Overall, Louisville had a 4-3 advantage in hits. Ohio State left five runners on base, while the Cardinals left six on base in the extra-inning contest.