They could only do so much. After coming back on three separate occasions earlier in the game, No. 25 Northwestern softball (29-14, 11-9) failed to rally in the top of the seventh, and were defeated 8-7 against Ohio State (24-23, 10-9) at Buckeye Field Saturday.
The Buckeyes got on the board first off of ‘Cats starter, freshman Nicole Bond. She didn’t have her best stuff.
After the ‘Cats tied it up in the top of the second, Bond gave it right back to make it 2-1 Buckeyes after two. Their second run came via a perfect double steal in the second inning. With two outs and runners on first and third, shortstop Keelia Nestor got caught in a rundown between first and second, which allowed pinch runner Melanie Iacoangeli to score from third, as the throw home arrived just late. Head coach Kate Drohan argued with the close play at the plate, but to no avail.
In the top of the third, the ‘Cats loaded the bases with no outs, after a walk and two infield singles. Marisa Bast stepped into the box, and hit a fly ball to deep left field, but the wind-held it up allowing the left fielder to settle under it. Nonetheless, it allowed Julia Kuhn to tag up and the score, tying up the score for the ‘Cats.
Andrea DiPrima proceeded to single in Allard, and the ‘Cats had their first lead of the game.
The lead wouldn’t last for long, though, as Buckeye center fielder Taylor Watkins blasted one off Bond to tie it up at three.
In the fourth, things got a bit ugly for the ‘Cats. Bond, who had avoided the big inning thus far, allowed a three run jack to Caitlin Conrad with two outs, which put the Buckeyes up 6-3.
This deficit was nothing the ‘Cats couldn’t handle. In the fifth, they led off with three consecutive singles, to close the Buckeyes lead to just two. They knocked out starter Shelby Hursh in the process.
Olivia O’Reilly, Hursh’s replacement, didn’t fair much better. She allowed three more runs, and after four and half innings, the score was 7-6, in favor of Northwestern.
Sammy Albanese, replaced Bond in the bottom of the fifth, and held the ‘Cats one-run lead for the time being. In the sixth, though, she ran into a bit of trouble. With two outs and two on, Cammi Prantl hit a line shot to left center field, which scored two and gave the Buckeyes their third lead of the game.
In the seventh, the ‘Cats had one last chance, after getting the bases loaded with two outs. Did they have a fourth comeback in them? Not quite, as Mari Majam went down looking to end the game. It was their second consecutive loss to the Buckeyes.
The ‘Cats look to recover from this one tomorrow at Ohio State for the final of their three game series.
- Emily Allard: This senior left fielder is one hell of a talent. On Saturday she went 3-5 at the plate, scored two runs, and made a nice over the shoulder catch in the bottom of the second. She’s now just one of six women in the conference with over 40 runs scored on the season. I almost forgot to mention that she’s batting over .380.
- Northwestern’s offense: Not only are they second in the Big Ten in runs and batting average, this season might go down as their best offensive one in program history. They are currently on pace to shatter school records for runs scored and runs per game, and have now scored at least six runs in six of their last 11 games. On Saturday they had 13 hits, including a home run.
- Nicole Bond: This freshman lasted just four innings, and surrendered six runs, five earned, on seven hits. It was definitely one of her worst outings of the year, especially considering that she allowed two homers. In her prior 51 and 2/3 innings pitched, Bond allowed just four.
- The home plate umpire: On three separate occasions, head coach Kate Drohan had to come out and argue with the home plate umpire over what appeared to be three bad calls. Now the umpire is supposed to be objective, but it seemed like she was making calls for the home crowd. If a few had gone in the ‘Cats favor, there might have been a different outcome.