Softball: Northwestern swept by Ohio State over disappointing weekend in Columbus

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Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior Andrea DiPrima and the Wildcats had a rough weekend, dropping three straight games at Ohio State. “We certainly didn’t bring our 'A' game to Columbus,” coach Kate Drohan said.

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

The final Big Ten road trip of the season didn’t go as well as No. 25 Northwestern had intended.

The Wildcats (29-14, 11-9 Big Ten) dropped three in a row to Ohio State (25-23, 11-9), leaving them in sixth place in the conference with one series against Michigan State left in the regular season.

Ohio State outplayed NU all weekend, leaving the Cats scratching their heads.

“They played very well,” coach Kate Drohan said. “They played with a lot of energy. They had the clutch pitches and clutch hits. They were the better team.”

In the first matchup, the Cats took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI double from sophomore Andrea Filler.

But the Buckeyes answered quickly, knocking a run in the same inning to even the score.

Sophomore starter Kristen Wood did an impressive job of holding off the Buckeyes, until the fifth inning, when Ohio State knocked in the go-ahead run and another insurance run for the 3-1 win. Ohio State held off NU over the final two innings to seal the win.

Wood finished with eight strikeouts to only one walk and allowed just four hits through six innings. Filler led the Cats at the plate, going 3-for-3 in the loss.

The Buckeyes’ defense was a huge reason for the victory, including an impressive double play turned for the final outs of the game to thwart the Cats’ last-ditch rally.

NU fell short again in the next matchup. This time, the Cats were unable to capitalize on promising offensive opportunities. Both senior Marisa Bast and Drohan listed runners left on base as a key explanation for the Cats’ inability to get a win in Columbus.

The game was back and forth throughout the first few innings, as the two teams took turns taking the lead. Ohio State pulled away in the fourth inning for a 6-3 lead, its largest of the game to that point.

This time the Cats were able to answer with a rally of their own in the fifth, taking a 7-6 lead. Seniors Emily Allard and Mari Majam kickstarted the inning with a pair of singles. Bast added a double to knock in one run and put runners in scoring position. The rally threatened the Buckeyes, who pulled starting pitcher Shelby Hursh in favor of the starter from the first matchup, Olivia O’Reilly.

Junior Andrea DiPrima knocked in another run before another impressive Ohio State double play. Sophomore Brianna LeBeau hit a triple to left-center and Filler added a single to put the Cats ahead.

NU threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases, but Ohio State was able to get out of the jam with no damage done.

The Buckeyes carried the momentum in the bottom of the sixth to knock in two runs and eventually hold off the Cats for the 8-7 victory.

“There were lots of opportunities to build on our lead when we had it,” Drohan said. “We certainly didn’t bring our ‘A’ game to Columbus.”

The third game featured five home runs, including three by the Cats. It was the two by the Buckeyes, though, which ended up being the difference in the game.

Ohio State took an early 2-0 lead in the first. The Cats were able to fight back to tie thanks to back-to-back leadoff home runs from Edwards and LeBeau.

However, the Buckeyes regained the lead in the bottom of the inning and never gave it up. The Cats pulled within one run but were unable to tie it. Ohio State ran away with the game in the sixth, a three-run home run giving the Buckeyes a 7-3 lead and holding NU to only one more run for the 7-4 victory.

“They got all the clutch hits we didn’t get,” Bast said. “We lost a lot of runners on base. There were a lot of adjustments we didn’t make. It was just a bad three days, we came up short.”

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