Feb. 12, 2016

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2016 Ohio State softball season began with a split on the first day of the LSU Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, La. as the Buckeyes topped Pacific, 4-2, before falling to the hosts, third-ranked LSU, 9-0.

Shelby Hursh: 6 IP, five Ks, three hits, one earned run
Taylor White: 3-6, one RBI
Alex Bayne: 2-5, 1 3B, two runs scored, one RBI

Game One: 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 two a triple to right center and then scoring on an error by Pacific’s shortstop.  

Freshman Morgan Ray, making the start in her collegiate debut, worked out a jam in the top of the first thanks to the help of fellow freshman Emily Clark, who caught a liner at second and then doubled off a Pacific baserunner at first.

In the top of the second, Pacific led off with a double to left center by Rachel Sellers, who eventually scored on a RBI single up the middle. Hursh, however, came on in relief of Ray and didn’t allow any further damage, recording the final two out of the inning on back to back strikeouts.

Goodwin started a two-out rally in the bottom of the second with a single up the middle and then was driven home by Bayne’s triple to right center. Goodwin was one of six different players to record a hit in the game.

Pacific’s next scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth ended when Prantl threw out Nicole Zapotoczny attempting to steal second. The inning began with a leadoff walk, but ended with a flyout, strikeout and caught stealing.

Using that momentum, the Buckeyes struck for two runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth. Ohio State loaded the bases with nobody out, and Taylor White delivered a one-out single through the right side to score Kirk. McIntyre added the other RBI hit, a single to the pitcher.

Pacific got a run back in the top of the fifth and then threatened in the top of the sixth with runners on second and third, but a fly out to left by Sydney Lahners ended the half inning without any damage. It didn’t threaten again, going down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh.

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.”

Game Two: No. 3 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.

In the bottom of the third, the Tigers struck for three more runs, aided by a two-run double to right field, Buckeye fielding error and close fielder’s choice in which the lead runner was ruled safe at home.

Another Buckeye rally go going in the top of the fifth, as leadoff batter Kirk reached on an error and the next hitter, Goodwin, was hit by a 2-2 pitch. A line out, fly out and stikeout ended the inning, however.

The Buckeyes continue play in the LSU Tiger Classic tomorrow, wrapping up its schedule with contests against Connecticut (9:30 a.m. CST/10:30 a.m. EST) and North Florida (Noon CST/1:00 p.m. EST).