Feb. 28, 2016
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Shelby Hursh dueled with USC Upstate’s Holly McKinnon pitch for pitch, but a two-run home run by the Spartans’ Brittany Case proved to be the difference as Ohio State (9-4) dropped a hard-fought 2-0 decision on Sunday afternoon at Cyrill Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.
Hursh tossed six innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven. McKinnon was equal to the task, however, as she gave up five hits and recorded her second complete game of the season. Both pitchers came into the game with a sub-2.00 ERA.
USC Upstate (11-2) starter Lexi Shubert lasted just five pitches, getting pulled after hitting Maddy McIntyre and throwing a wild pitch to the second batter, Alex Bayne. McKinnon then came on and retired the next three batters, two via strikeouts.
The Buckeyes got a two-out rally started in the top of the second thanks to their first hit of the game — a stand-up double to left center by Jayla Saibene. The next batter, Becca Gavin, was hit by a pitch, putting two on for Emily Clark. Clark, however, pop up in foul territory to end the threat.
USC Upstate put two on via a single and walk in the bottom of the second, but Hursh was up to the task in getting out of the inning, striking out Kristen Wright and Abbie Millete to strand the runners in scoring position.
Ohio State returned that favor in the next inning, leaving a pair of runners on the base paths after Erika Leonard and Cammi Prantl hit back to back two-out singles. For Prantl, her single to left field was her 10th hit of the weekend.
A one-out, two-run home run by Brittany Case on a 3-2 pitch gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead, but Hursh came back and got a stellar defensive play from Goodwin to catch a foul ball in front of the USC Upstate dugout and then struck out Amy Szymanowski.
Emily Clark nearly tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, as her blast to center field was caught at the wall by Kendsey Chappelear. Becca Gavin had reached base thanks to a throwing error by Szymanowski, the third baseman.
Down to their final three outs, the Buckeyes get bolstered by a lead-off pinch hit single from Jess Machovina in the seventh inning. The next three batters were retired, however, via two pop outs and a strikeout.
Prantl collected 11 hits in five games, batting .786 with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBI.
The Buckeyes hit .331 as a team, scoring 43 runs (8.6/game) and added 21 extra base hits (seven HRs, 11 doubles, three triples).
Six players that started all five games hit .300 or better on the weekend.
Ohio State’s pitching staff of Springer, Duvall, McCombs, Hursh and Ray had a 1.58 ERA, giving up just seven earned runs over 31 innings with 35 strikeouts and a .152 batting average against.