DELAND, Fla. - Lena Springer provided the pitching. Alex Bayne chipped in with the game's biggest hit. The end result was a 4-0 Ohio State win over Stetson that pushed the Buckeyes' winning streak to a season-high four games. The Buckeyes improve to 11-6 while Stetson is now 19-6.
THE SHORT STORY
Four days after pitching a five-inning run-rule shortened shutout against Central Florida, Springer was once against sharp against the Hatters. She scattered just three hits over seven innings, allowing two walks and striking out six - including the final batter of the game - and lowered her season ERA to 1.59. At the plate, Stetson elected to walk the bases loaded in the top of the seventh and Bayne made them pay, belting her seventh home run of the season and giving Springer all the offense she'd need to back up her effort in the circle.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
Shelby McCombs, inserted into the starting lineup today as the designated player, led off the seventh with a double down the right field line, putting a runner into scoring position with no outs. Taylor White pinch ran for her and eventually advanced to third when Bri Betschel reached on an infield error. Stetson then elected to intentionally walk Anna Kirk, leading to Bayne's heroics.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The bottom of the sixth inning started out with a web gem from Betschel, who made a highlight-reel worthy catch in left field to rob Jessie Tenbroeck of a hit. Stetson also threatened in the bottom of the fourth, getting base runners on second and third before Springer got Tara Walding to fly out to left.
Ohio State was able to get its lead off runner on base in five of seven innings. Kirk concluded an 11-pitch at-bat to open the game by reaching fist after being hit. In the second, Ashley Goodwin legged out an infield single and in the third, Kirk singled up the middle. Emily Clark successfully reached in the sixth on an error by Stetson's third baseman.
ANOTHER SPRINGER SHUTOUT
Springer gave up just three singles to a Stetson team that was batting .324 on the season with 180 runs scored (7.5 per game). Additionally, the Buckeye defense allowed just one stolen baes - Stetson came into the game with 77 on the season (3.2 per game).
Over her last five starts, Springer is 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA over 32.0 innings, 29 strikeouts and a .179 batting average against. Four of those outings have been complete games (vs. Louisville, St. John's, UCF and Stetson).
As a staff, the Buckeyes lowered their season ERA to 2.07 and recorded a complete game for the eighth time in 18 contests. The last time an Ohio State staff had four straight shutouts was 2001 when they blanked Cleveland State, Robert Morris (twice) and Campbell.
WHIP IT GOOD
On its current five-game spring break trip, the foursome of Springer, McCombs, Shelby Hursh and Morgan Ray have a combined WHIP of 1.22 and have allowed just 18 walks in 32.0 innings. Springer leads the way with a 1.23 WHIP (walks + hits divided by innings pitched). All four have a WHIP of 1.45 or better.
AT THE PLATE
Against a pair of Stetson pitchers, four different players recorded hits - Kirk, Bayne, Goodwin and McCombs. The Buckeyes also worked four walks and were successful of their only steal attempt of the game.
The Buckeyes are back in action tomorrow in Daytona Beach, Fla. against Bethune-Cookman at 1 p.m. They will then have Thursday off before playing four games in Clearwater, Fla. against Army, Auburn, Missouri and North Dakota State.
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioState_SB) March 15, 2017