Feb. 13, 2016
BATON ROUGE, La. – A convincing 7-1 triumph over Connecticut and 2-1 nail-bitter against North Florida gave the Ohio State softball team a pair of wins on its final day at the LSU Tiger Classic on the campus on Louisiana State University Saturday afternoon.
Kelly Kovach Schoenly on pitching: “Lena Springer gave us a great start against North Florida, really keeping them guessing and controlling the game. In the late innings, we wanted to keep them off balance by showing them the different looks that the other pitchers on our staff offer. That’s a great luxury to have.”
On pinch hitters: “Our pinch hitters [Machovina, Saibene] were on fire today! They batted 1.000 and were ready when called upon.”
Game One: Ohio State 7, Connecticut 1
A career game from Ashley Goodwin at the plate combined with a five-hitter from the combination of Shelby Hursh and Shelby McCombs in the circle guided the Buckeyes to a 7-1 victory over UConn in the first game of the day.
Goodwin drove in a career-high four runs while also blasting the first home of her Buckeye career as the Buckeyes broke open a close game by plating four runs in the fifth inning. Hursh, meanwhile, went 3.2 innings and gave up just two hits while striking out four. McCombs was equally as effective, pitching 3.1 innings to earn the win with five strikeouts and just three hits allowed.
Ohio State stranded a runner at third base in the top of the first, as Taylor White led off the game with a double and then took third on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Bayne. A lineout and groundout ended the threat, however.
In the top of the second, however, Ohio State’s came alive to the tune of three runs on two hits, including the first career home run by Ashley Goodwin, a two-run shot to left field that scored Emily Clark, who had reach on a RBI single and two-base error.
Hursh faced her first jam of the game in the top of the third as UConn loaded with one out on a hit and back to back walks. Hursh worked out of it, however, by striking out pinch hitter Heather Fyfe and inducing an inning-ending fly out from Jill Stockley.
The Huskies loaded the bases again in the fourth inning and produced its first run on a bases-loaded walk, but Shelby McCombs came on in relief of Hursh and recorded the final out to limit the damage.
A four-run rally on four hits, keyed by a two-RBI single by pinch hitter Jayla Saibene and a two-run double from Goodwin, gave the Buckeyes needed breathing room, as they opened a 7-1 lead. Also collecting hits in the inning were Cammi Prantl and Maddy McIntyre.
Game Two: Ohio State 2, North Florida 1
Jess Machovina’s pinch hit single in the bottom of the seventh allowed Anna Kirk to score the winning run as Ohio State completed its sweep on Saturday with a 2-1 triumph over North Florida. Machovina’s heroics came after Erika Leonard led off the seventh inning with a double to centerfield, putting the winning run in scoring position.
North Florida mounted the first serious offensive threat of the game, putting runners at first and third with just one out in the third. The Buckeyes’ defense snuffed it out however, getting a double-play ball that Clark snared out of the air and then tossed to Erika Leonard and first base.
Alex Bayne picked up her second extra base hit of the weekend when she sent a 2-1 pitch over the left centerfield fence in the bottom of the third to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, North Florida put two runners on and prompted a pitching change as freshman Morgan Ray came on in relief of Springer. The first batter Ray faced grounded into a fielder’s choice at second and the next one pop up a ball weakly to third where Goodwin was there to make a diving catch.
Another stellar defensive play ended the top of the sixth, as Ray got out of a one-on, one-out jam by catching a hard comebacker off the bat of Katie Mandigo and easily doubling off Ashia Kerr at first base.
North Florida led off the top of the seventh with a double and left center, and that runner eventually scored on a passed ball to knot the score at 1-1. Hursh, however, got the next batter swinging and the next one to weakly pop out to the pitcher.
North Florida pitcher Janet Snipe kept the Ohio State offense in check with just six hits, but the combination of Springer, Ray and Hursh were equal to the task, allowing eight hits and no earned runs over seven innings. McIntyre went two-for-three at the plate with a pair of singles while Bayne, Leonard, Goodwin and Machovina also had hits.
Ohio State’s early-season schedule continues next weekend when it travels to Georgia Tech for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for two contests each against Syracuse and Georgia Tech.