Feb. 17, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coming off a 3-1 weekend at the LSU Tiger Classic, Ohio State continues its early-season schedule with a trip to Atlanta, Ga. to take part in the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge with two games apiece against Georgia Tech and Syracuse.

Friday, Feb. 19
Ohio State at Georgia Tech | 6:30 p.m.
Watch Live: ESPN3 | Live Stats | Twitter Update

Saturday, Feb. 20
Ohio State vs. Syracuse | 10:00 a.m.
Live Stats | Twitter Updates

Ohio State at Georgia Tech | 3:00 p.m.
Live Stats | Twitter Updates

Sunday, Feb. 21
Ohio State at Syracuse | 10:00 a.m.
Live Stats | Twitter Updates

Friday’s contest vs. Georgia Tech can be seen live on ESPN3 via the WatchESPN app. All other game updates will be available via Gametracker or Twitter (@OhioState_SB). The game vs. Georgia Tech on Saturday at 3 p.m. can also be seen on Georgia Tech All-Access.

• Wins over Pacific, Connecticut and North Florida highlighted the Buckeyes’ opening weekend in Baton Rouge.
• For the second week in a row, Ohio State is receiving votes in the USA Softball/USA Today Top 25 poll.
• In the circle, four Ohio State pitchers combined to give up just nine earned runs over 25 innings, led by Shelby Hursh, who had a 0.68 ERA with 10 Ks in 10.1 innings. Lena Springer was equally as effective, going 7.2 innings with two earned runs.
• At the plate, Ashley Goodwin enjoyed a career day vs. UConn, going two-for-two with a home run, double and four RBI. Three other players who had at least three at-bats hit over .300 – Maddy McIntyre (.364), Taylor White (.308) and Alex Bayne (.300).
• Goodwin’s second-inning home run vs. Connecticut was the first of her career.
• The Buckeyes outscored their four opponents 13-8 in innings two through seven.
• Four players made their Ohio State debuts last weekend – true freshmen Bri Betschel and Emily Clark started four games while sophomore Shelby McCombs, a transfer from Louisville, pitched four innings and freshman Morgan Ray went three innings in the circle.

Georgia Tech
2016 Record: 0-0
2015 Record: 16-34, 6-18 ACC
Top Returning Hitter: Maddie Lionberger, .288, 22 runs scored, 12 RBI, six doubles, four home runs
Top Returning Pitcher: Emily Anderson, 3-5, 55.1 IP, 46 Ks, 6.45 ERA
Head Coach: Shelly Hoerner, third season

2016 Record: 1-3
2015 Record: 20-26, 4-13 ACC
Top Returning Hitter: Corinne Ozanne, .344, 13 HRs, 32 RBI, 28 runs scored, six doubles, .713 slugging percentage
Top Returning Pitcher: Jocelyn Cater, 14-17, 182.2 IP, 3.79 ERA, 236 Ks
Head Coach: Mike Bosch, first season

Shelby Hursh | 2-0, 0.68 ERA, 10 Ks
Hursh was the winning pitcher vs. Pacific on Friday, going six innings in relief while allowing just three hits and one earned run … she came back on Saturday to start vs. Connecticut and go 3.2 innings while allowing just two hits and striking out four … was the winning pitcher vs. North Florida, getting two outs in the top of the seventh before Ohio State scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame.

Lena Springer | 7.2 IP, 1.83 ERA
Pitched in relief against No. 3 LSU and gave up just two earned runs over 3.1 innings … earned the start the next day against North Florida and responded with 4.1 innings of shutout ball … walked just two batters over 7.2 innings.

Ashley Goodwin | .500, HR, 2B, four RBI
Went four-for-eight with a home run, double and four RBI … was a perfect two-for-two with a home run, double and four RBI vs. Connecticut … was the only players to reach base in all four games … started at third base vs. LSU, Connecticut and North Florida and was the designated player vs. Pacific.

Pinch Hitters | 1.000 in three at-bats
The combination of Jess Machovina and Jayla Saibene were a perfect three-for-three in pinch hit opportunities. Saibene’s hit produced two RBI vs. UConn while Machovina’s single in the bottom of the seventh scored the winning run vs. North Florida.

The four pitchers that saw playing time last weekend combined to toss 25.0 innings with 17 strikeouts and nine earned runs (2.52 ERA). All four started games and saw action as relievers.

Over the course of four games last weekend, Ohio State pitchers inherited 10 runners while entering in relief – and they were able to prevent them from scoring at a 90% rate (one out of 10). The Individual breakdown:

McCombs: vs. Connecticut – 3 inherited/0 scored
Hursh: vs. Pacific – 2 inherited/0 scored; vs. N. Florida – 1 inherited/1 scored
Ray: vs. North Florida – 2 inherited/0 scored
Springer: vs. LSU – 2 inherited/0 scored

Fourth-year head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly is just three wins shy of 100 in her Ohio State tenure. Her 97 wins since arriving in Columbus are the most wins by any coach to begin her tenure with the Scarlet and Gray, which would make her the programs fastest coach to reach 100 wins. With 285 career wins, she is also on pace to pick up her 300th career victory this season.

White jersey/white pants: 1-0
Dark gray jersey/dark gray pants: 0-1
Red jersey/red pants: 2-0

• Six of Ohio State’s 13 runs last weekend were scored with two outs
The Buckeyes’ leadoff batter reached base in 12 of 25 innings (48 percent).
• Pinch hitters provided a substantial spark, going three-for-four with three RBI, including the game-winning hit by Jess Machovina vs. North Florida. For the weekend, Machovina was two-for-two as a pinch hitter.
• Shelby Hursh had a team-best 1.06 WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched).
• Five players had multi-hit games.

Chapel Hill, NC:
Illinois vs. Boston College and North Carolina
Northwestern vs. Boston College and North Carolina

Tallahassee, Fla.:
Michigan vs. Florida State and Virginia Tech
Minnesota vs. Florida State and Virginia Tech

Atlanta, Ga.:
Ohio State vs. Georgia Tech and Syracuse
Purdue vs. Georgia Tech and Syracuse

Raleigh, N.C:
Nebraska vs. N.C. State and Louisville
Wisconsin vs. N.C. State and Louisville

Ohio State 4, Pacific 2
Junior Shelby Hursh pitched six innings in relief and allowed just three hits as Ohio State scored a pair of runs in the second and fourth innings to get by Pacific, 4-2.

The Buckeyes’ offense produced nine hits, including two each from Taylor White, Cammi Prantl and Alex Bayne. Bayne was the catalyst of a two-out rally, driving home Ashley Goodwin with a triple to right center and then scoring on an error by Pacific’s shortstop.

Kelly Kovach Schoenly on Alex Bayne: “Bayne supplied the needed spark to ignite our offense with that two-out clutch hit in the second inning.”
On Shelby Hursh: “Shelby’s ability to step in and execute her pitches immediately allowed us to take the momentum back into our dugout.”

LSU 9, Ohio State 0 (5 inn.)
The third-ranked Tigers started fast, plating five first-inning runs on four hits and aided by one Ohio State error. Key hits came from Kellsi Kloss, Ambert Serrett with RBI singles and a RBI double from Shemiah Sanchez. The inning ended, however, with Prantl tagging out a runner at home on a double steal attempt.

LSU scored another run in the bottom of the second on a Bianka Bell single, but further damage was limited by Lena Spring and the Ohio State defense when it got a fielder’s choice and fly out to left field to end the threat.

Ohio State mounted its first scoring opportunity in the top of the third, as a one-out infield single by Bri Betschel and single up the middle from White put two on with just one out. A pair of groundouts, however, kept Ohio State off the scoreboard.

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.

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.

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.”