Jan. 25, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nearly two weeks out from opening the 2017 season, a pair of seniors on the Ohio State softball team have earned Fastpitch News (FPN) preseason recognition. Shelby Hursh was chosen as one of the Top 50 pitchers nationally while Alex Bayne made the list as one of the Top 50 hitters.
Hursh became Ohio State’s top pitcher last season, winning 16 game while sporting a 2.88 ERA with more than one strikeout per inning (199 Ks, 177.1 IP). She gave up four hits or less in 16 of her 27 starts, including each of her first 10. Those performances include a no-hitter against Penn State on April 6, a one-hitter against Georgia Tech on Feb. 19 and a 13-strikeout effort against Dayton on Feb. 13.
From Tipton, Ind., Hursh started last season by winning 12 of her first 15 decision with five or more strikeouts on 11 occasions. She was among the Big Ten leaders in ERA and opponent batting average, finishing ninth and fourth in the conference, respectively. For those efforts, Hursh was a second team NFCA All-Midwest Region team selection.
Amongst returning Big Ten pitchers, Hursh fourth in opponent batting average and strikeouts and sixth in ERA.
Bayne, who has already been named a three team preseason All-American by College Sports Madness, emerged as one of the best power hitters in the nation last spring. She tired Ohio State’s single-season home run record (19) while also batting .364 with a team-high 53 runs scored, 49 RBI, .740 slugging percentage and 12 stolen bases. The Buckeyes were 16-0-1 in games in which he homered.
On defense, Bayne had a .983 fielding percentage from her spot in right field and has added a league-leading nine outfield assists. This is the first year she has played in the outfield after previously playing her entire career at second base and shortstop.
Over a seven-game stretch from April 3 through April 13, Bayne hit a home run in a school-record seven straight games and earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors on April 11 after hitting .579 with five home runs and 11 RBI in wins over Penn State (twice) and Rutgers (three times). A .365 hitter overall, Bayne batted .429 during conference play with a team-best 28 RBI, which ranked second in the league.
Entering the 2017 season, Bayne ranks sixth nationally amongst returning players in home runs and seventh in home runs per game.
The 2017 season officially begins the weekend of Feb. 10-12 when the Buckeyes travel to College Station, Texas for the Aggie Classic. Ohio State faces Central Michigan on Feb. 10, followed by games against Lamar and Texas A&M on Feb. 11. It concludes play versus Central Michigan on Feb. 12.