March 7, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -
Battling the No. 20 team in the land tooth and nail through five and a half innings, Ohio softball fell victim to a big Tennessee sixth inning that proved to be the deciding factor for the `Cats in a 5-1 setback to wrap up the Tennessee Classic Sunday.
As had been the case in every game prior in the tournament, the Green and White (4-13) battled strong against top-notch competition, only to see one inning get away. Ultimately, this doomed Ohio again as the Lady Volunteers broke open a tight 1-0 game in the bottom of the sixth with four costly runs. The `Cats responded with a late charge to get a run in the seventh, but it was not enough to overcome Tennessee.
Sara Clark (Ontario, Calif.) paced Ohio offensively, going 2-for-3 on the day. Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio) drove in the Green and White's only run of the day, going 1-for-3. Jordan Paden (Walla Walla, Wash.), Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.), Shalene Petrich (Chehalis, Wash.) and Alexis Zambrana (Alvin, Texas) also had hits for the Green and White, which outhit the Lady Vols 7-5 on the day. Caitlin Colvin (Bonney Lake, Wash.) took the loss in the circle to fall to 0-3 on the season.
After a quiet first inning, the Lady Vols scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second on an RBI single from Nicole Kajitani. That would be all Tennessee would get, however, as the `Cats put a halt to anything more. Ohio came close to evening the score in the fourth when Clark singled and stole second. The Lady Vols forced the final out of the inning to put a damper on the `Cats' hopes of tying the score.
The next inning and a half went quiet, before Tennessee's offense came alive in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of a costly Ohio error and two hits to plate four big runs and take the 5-1 lead. The `Cats would not go down without a fight, however. Melissa Bonner (Kings Mills, Ohio) reached on an error with one out and advanced on a Paden single up the middle. Van Wagnen then laced one through the left side, allowing Bonner to motor in from second. Zambrana followed suit with a single of her own, but Paden was thrown out at the plate to put a stop to the Green and White rally and end the game.
Ohio will return to play Saturday when it welcomes Morehead State for a doubleheader in its home opener. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.