GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Ohio State bounced back from a 10-2 six-inning loss to Florida to stay alive in the NCAA Tournament by besting South Florida, 3-2, on Saturday night at KSP Stadium to advance to the regional final. The Buckeyes (36-15) will have a rematch with the Gators (52-8) tomorrow at noon live on ESPN.
Ohio State’s 36 wins on the season is the most under head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. It also marks the highest total since 2010 when the Buckeyes notched 39 victories.
GAME ONE: Florida 10, Ohio State 2
- Ashley Goodwin put Ohio State up 1-0 in the top of the fourth when she went yard on her 10thhome run of the season.
- The Buckeyes had a run in the fifth on a RBI single by Lilli Piper. The inning began with a dropped third strike and throwing error by the catcher to allow Becca Gavin to get on base. Andi Farrahentered the game as a pinch hitter and drew a four-pitch walk. A fielder’s choice let Bailee Sturgeon reach first base and Gavin moved over to third. Next up, Piper hit a well-placed single to right field to plate Gavin and extend the lead, 2-0.
- Florida went ahead in the home half of the fifth, 3-2, on a bases loaded RBI single by Jaimie Hoover and two-RBI double by Amanda Lorenz.
- Morgan Ray came in to pitch during the bottom of the sixth. The Gators scored seven runs on two bases loaded walks, a wild pitch, groundout and three RBI singles.
- Florida faced three members of Ohio State’s pitching staff. McCombs (17-7) was charged with the loss after five innings of four-run (two earned), three-hit, three-strikeout ball. Ray gave up six runs and three hits in 0.2 innings while Katya Duvall allowed one hit.
GAME TWO: Ohio State 3, South Florida 2
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Bulls struck first in the opening frame thanks to an RBI single by Brooke Hartman. They added another run in the second on a passed ball.
- After sitting the Bulls down in order, Taylor White and Bailee Sturgeon got the offense going in the bottom of the third on back-to-back singles. On the next play, Lilli Piper reached on a fielding error by the second baseman, which gave White time to come home while Sturgeon went to third. Up next, Piper stole second and Shelby McCombs’ RBI single to right field plated a run. Ashley Goodwin laid down a sacrifice bunt to move McCombs over to second base while Piper successfully converted the squeeze play to score and take a 3-2 lead.
- In the circle, righty ace Morgan Ray went the distance for the 13th time on her way to win No. 18. She fanned five batters, allowed two runs (one earned) and three hits.
- Ohio State’s defense was the catalyst for success. The Buckeyes retired 18 straight batters over the last six innings.
- Bailee Sturgeon, Lilli Piper and Ashley Goodwin each had a hit against Florida.
- The Buckeyes stranded 16 of the Gators’ runners.
- Shelby McCombs had a team-high two hits and a RBI versus USF.
- Taylor White and Emily Clark had their first hits of the regional while Bailee Sturgeon had her second against the Bulls.
- Four Buckeyes are in double figures when it comes to home runs – Ashley Goodwin (10), Emily Clark (12), Shelby McCombs (13) and Lilli Piper (20).
- The Buckeyes improved to 15-19 in the NCAA Tournament.