Buckeyes face the Crimson Tide at 10:30 a.m. Sunday

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 14 Ohio State softball bounced back with a 5-3 victory over Rhode Island Saturday afternoon at the Hatter Invitational in DeLand, Fla., after dropping a heartbreaking one-run game to Alabama earlier in the day. The Buckeyes improve to 6-3 while the Rams fall to 0-3 on the season.

Ohio State will take on No. 8/9 Alabama for the third time in three days, playing in the championship game at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Rhode Island jumped ahead to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Ohio State senior pitcher Megan Miller settled in and held the Rams from scoring the remainder of the game, throwing a complete game and improving to 3-1 on the season. Nicole Massoni hit a three-run homer to give URI an early lead.

“I don’t know if we were as focused as we should have been at the start of the Rhode Island game after suffering another tough loss,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “But Megan was able to tighten things up and finish out the game and we were able to put enough runs on the board to get the ‘W.'”

The Buckeyes tied things up in the bottom of the second after freshman Megan Coletta tripled to right centerfield, brining home seniors Whitney Cooper and Rebecca Schultz. After recording her first hit wearing the Scarlet and Gray the night before, Coletta notched her first multiple RBI game vs. Rhode Island. In the next at-bat, junior Dee Dee Hillman singled to centerfield, bringing Coletta home to make it a 3-all game.

Ohio State took the lead in the third, as Sam Marder hit her eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to left field. The Buckeyes loaded the bases as seniors Courtney Pruner, Whitney Cooper and Leah Ledford were walked but with two outs, Coletta popped up to second to end the inning.

“We needed a clutch hit and Coletta came through with a big hit for herself and the team,” Kalafatis said.

Miller allowed just two hits in the next six innings, recording five strikes in the game.

In the sixth, Spears posted the final run of the game, scoring on Alicia Herron’s double to center after Pruner moved the sophomore from first to second on a single to the shortstop. In the game, Herron went 2-3 at the plate with an RBI and Hillman 3-4 with an RBI. The Buckeyes outhit the Rams, 9-3, in the contest.