Ohio State plays California at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Buckeye Field
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Alicia Herron hit a pair of home runs, including a three-run blast in the sixth to lead the Ohio State softball team in its 5-3 comeback win over Kentucky Saturday evening in the NCAA Regional at Buckeye Field. With the win, the Buckeyes (39-13) will play California Sunday for the chance to advance to the NCAA Super Regional for the second season in a row.
The Wildcats, however, conclude their season in Columbus for a second-consecutive season and end 2010 at 32-27.
Kentucky built a 2-0 lead with a pair of solo homers by Natalie Johnson in the bottom of the first and third innings. Johnson led off each inning for the Wildcats and promptly started them off with a shot over the centerfield wall.
Herron would do the same for the Buckeyes, however, cutting the lead in half in the top of the fourth. The sophomore shortstop started the inning off by taking a 2-1 pitch and sending it beyond the leftfield wall for her first of the game, second of the day and 11th this season.
After a defense-laden fifth inning on both sides, Ohio State struck again in the sixth to take over the lead and ultimately hold on for the win. Rebecca Shultz started off the inning with a walk before being replaced by pinch runner Julia Pecina, who advanced to second on a Dee Dee Hillman bunt. With two runners on, Herron took the first pitch sent her way by Kentucky hurler Chanda Bell and launched it over, once again, the leftfield wall.
Now with a 4-2 lead, the Buckeyes took care of the Wildcats’ next three batters and headed back to the plate where they added a single run to help seal the deal in the top of the seventh. Megan Coletta was hit by a pitch, taking first and setting it up for Rebecca Schultz and her double to center that plated Coletta for the final score of the game.
Megan Miller pitched her ninth complete game of the year, allowing just four hits while earning her 15th win. Miller’s counterpart Bell ends her season at 18-14.
The Buckeyes will face California at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Buckeye Field. If they win that contest, the teams will play again in the double-elimination regional round at about 5 p.m. The Golden Bears are 2-0 in Columbus after shutting out Bucknell, 10-0, Friday and Kentucky, 1-0, Saturday.