COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Dominican's softball team continued to sizzle on their recent homestand as the Panthers swept visiting Northwood (Mich.) with a 5-4 walk-off win in the opener followed by a 6-0 shutout in game two Saturday afternoon.
The conference sweep not only propelled the Panthers to a 4-0 start in the GLIAC and back to .500 on the year at 10-10, but head coach Marcella Vanlandingham picked up career win No. 500. In her 17th season at the helm of the Black-and-Gold, Vanlandingham, already the program's all-time wins leader, now sits at 500-378, a winning percentage of 56.9.
"Reaching 500 wins is more about the great players we have had come through this program and the success they have had on the field than anything I have done," said Vanlandingham. "I'm so thankful of the opportunity I have had in my coaching career to be surrounded by such outstanding young people and today's wins are about every player that has ever worn the Panther uniform and played in this program."
Northwood bucked the recent trend of early inning success by ODU with a three-run first inning in game one thanks to a leadoff double and back-to-back homeruns. The Timberwolves tacked on a run in the fourth with an RBI single to center for the 4-0 lead.
With the help of a Northwood fielding error, the Panthers trimmed the lead to two in the bottom of the fourth as freshman speedster Alex Cribari (Lyndhurst, OH) chased home sophomore Caitlin Jividen (Wheeling, W.V.) with a triple down the right field line. Sophomore Danyelle Delligatta (Sidney, OH) followed with a two-bagger to right to score Cribari.
The score remained until the home half of the seventh when two of the first three ODU batters reached base. Following a fly out to left, Jividen took first on a hit by pitch to load the bases. Freshman pinch-hitter Kendall Lust (Marion, OH) than smacked a two-out, two RBI base hit through the middle, scoring freshman Kelsey Seeds (Westerville, OH) and junior Brooke McCartney (Salem, OH). After a second hit by pitch put Cribari on first and loaded the bases once again, Delligatta delivered the knockout punch with a bloop single to right, plating Jividen with the game-winning score.
Freshman Rachael Stanzel (Angleton, TX) moved to 7-4 in the circle on the season with her fourth straight decision, allowing the four earned runs, while striking out six and walking one.
It was all ODU in game two as the Panthers sent one run across in both the second and seventh frames and two in the third and sixth innings en route to the 6-0 final and their third shutout in four games.
Seniors Kylee Crislip (Louisville, OH) and Caitlin Chaney (Newark, OH), along with the freshmen Seeds and Cribari, each collected two hits in the game. Seeds led the way with two RBI and a run scored, all coming on her first collegiate homer to left center in the third, while Crislip notched her team-leading third round tripper with a solo blast to straightaway center in the seventh. Cribari finished the day 3-of-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, and with her HBP in game one, she tied the ODU single-season record of nine set back in 2002 by Kelly Simms.
Lust needed only 63 pitches to go the distance on the rubber, scattering eight hits and walking none to move to 3-5 overall with her third consecutive win and second shutout in as many days.
"I'm just really excited for this team and extremely proud of how they played today," said Vanlandingham. "Today wasn't about win 500; it was about turning around a 1-7 record from last week to six wins this week and the 4-0 start in GLIAC play, sweeping two teams that swept us a year ago. The games today were two of the best games I have seen played in awhile on this field."
ODU wraps up its homestand tomorrow as NFCA preseason No. 4 Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) visits for the 12 p.m. conference twinbill.
Contact: Bryan Desch