Feb. 20, 2016
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ATLANTA, Ga. — A dramatic extra-innings win over host Georgia Tech highlighted Ohio State’s efforts on Saturday at the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Buckeyes dropped their first contest, a 1-0 decision to Syracuse, but rebounded to top the Yellow Jackets for the second time in less than 24 hours.
Game One: Syracuse 1, Ohio State 0
The Orange’s AnnaMarie Gatti limited Ohio State to just two hits and Syracuse pushed across the only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth to earn a 1-0 victory.
Gatti struck out four over seven innings, but Ohio State had several scoring opportunities and couldn’t ultimately cash in, leaving six on base over the course of game.
Ohio State’s first chance came in the top of the second, as a walk by Cammi Prantl walked and Ashley Goodwin blooped a single into left field. Syracuse’s AnnaMarie Gatti was able to get out of the jam, however, with a strikeout and groundout. The Buckeyes also had a runner at third in the next inning but couldn’t push Bri Betschel across, who had reached on a walk.
In the next frame, Betschel got on via a one-out walk and eventually advanced to third, but was stranded there on a Maddy McIntyre groundout. Syracuse finally mounted enough offense to score the game’s only run in the fourth, starting when Rachel Burkhardt was hit by a pitch. The next batter, Sydney O’Hara, reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a passed ball and eventually scored on a RBI single from Hannah Dossett.
The Buckeyes stranded runners at second or third in both the fifth and sixth innings and then eventually went down in order in the seventh. McCombs finished her outing with two strikeouts in 3.1 innings, allowing just three hits and one run.
Game Two: Ohio State 4, Georgia Tech 3
A walk-off home run by pitcher Shelby McCombs lifted Ohio State to a dramatic 4-3 victory over Georgia Tech in Saturday’s game.
McCombs’ blast was to left center field and was a no-doubter as soon as it left her bat. The sophomore from Newark, Ohio entered the game a half inning earlier and recorded the final two outs of the top of the eighth inning on a pair of fielder’s choice groundouts. On the third pitch of the next half inning, she took matters into her own hands to end the game and earn her first victory in Scarlet and Gray.
The first three batters in the bottom of the first inning got on base for the Buckeyes, starting when Alex Bayne legged out an infield single. Bailee Sturgeon then worked a walk and McIntyre singled up the middle. Ohio State wasn’t able to push across any runs, however, as a fielder’s choice, strikeout and groundout ended the threat.
A two-out RBI single by Kaylee Ellebracht gave Georgia Tech a early 1-0 lead in the top of the second, prompting a pitching change to Shelby Hursh, who was coming off a one-hit shutout vs. the Yellow Jackets yesterday evening, struck out the final batter of the inning as Georgia Tech stranded runners and second and third.
Another two-out run, this one a solo home run off the bat of Jessica Kowalewicz to left field, gave the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 advantage in the top of the fourth, although that half inning ended with Prantl throwing out a base runner attempting to steal third, the third runner she’s gunned down this year.
Ohio State’s equalizer came in the form of an Alex Bayne two-run home run to left center in the bottom of the fourth, a towering shot that cleared the scoreboard. It was Bayne’s third home run in the last four games and RBIs number four and five on the season. In the fifth, two Georgia Tech throwing errors allowed Ohio State’s go-ahead run to come around and score in the form of Goodwin, who had reached on a walk.
Georgia Tech tied the game and sent it into extra innings via a two-out triple in the bottom of the seventh, but pitcher Morgan Ray quickly rebounded to strand her at third by recording the final out of the half inning on a weak grounder back to the pitcher.
The Buckeyes used four pitchers in the contest, with Ray tallying the most work with 3.1 innings, three hits, one earned run and two strikeouts. As a group, the quartet fanned six batters. At the plate, Bayne and Goodwin each collected two hits.
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge concludes tomorrow for Ohio State with a 10 a.m. contest against Syracuse.