COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeyes are back in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time. Ohio State begins play on Friday at 5 p.m. against South Florida in the Gainesville Regional at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium after earning an at-large bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
GAINESVILLE REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, May 18
Game 1: Ohio State vs. USF | 5 p.m. | ESPNU
Game 2: Florida vs. Bethune-Cookman | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Saturday, May 19
Game 3: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner | 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser | 5 p.m.
Game 5: G3 Loser vs. G4 Winner | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 20
Game 6: G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner | 12 p.m.
Game 7: G6 Winner vs. G6 Loser (if necessary) | 2:30 p.m.
- USF brings a 38-21 record into the NCAA Tournament.
- The Bulls are coming off a 4-1 loss to Tulsa in the championship game of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
- As a team, USF is batting .291 with 57 doubles, 46 home runs and 58 stolen bases.
- The six-member pitching staff has a 2.56 ERA and 302 strikeouts in 389 innings.
- Individually, Lindsey Devitt leads the Bulls hitting .390 with 60 hits, 43 RBI, 36 runs scored and seven home runs. In the circle, Georgina Corrick (15-8) has put in 165.1 innings of work for a 1.61 ERA and 157 strikeouts.
- The Bulls and Buckeyes have only met six times in program history. USF leads the all-time series, 4-2.
- The two teams last faced off on Mar. 23, 2010 when Ohio State claimed a 1-0 victory.
OHIO STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
- This year marks Ohio State’s 10th NCAA Tournament appearance.
- A year ago, the Buckeyes played in the Knoxville Regional, where they dropped a 7-3 decision to USC Upstate before being eliminated by Longwood, 3-1.
- Ohio State made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly in 2016. In Knoxville, the Buckeyes fell in their opener to Arizona, 2-0, before knocking off Marist, 6-1. The team was eliminated by Tennessee, 10-1.
- In 2010, the Buckeyes hosted a regional in Columbus, going 2-2 with wins over Bucknell (6-0) and Kentucky (5-3) and losses to Kentucky (6-5) and California (7-0).
- In 2009, Ohio State made its deepest NCAA Tournament run, advancing to the Super Regionals for the first time in program history. OSU won the Columbus Regional with a 7-2 triumph over Kentucky and ultimately finished 47-11 on the year.
- In 2002, the Buckeyes won a school-record 55 games and advanced to the Ann Arbor Regional where they went 2-2 with wins over Central Michigan and Washington.
- Between 2002 and 2010, Ohio State made the NCAA Tournament in six of nine seasons.
- The Buckeyes' all-time NCAA Tournament record is 13-18.
- After a 5-1 setback to Iowa in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State is 34-14 on the year and was 14-8 in the Big Ten during the regular season.
- Five starters are hitting .270 or better this season, led by unanimous first team All-Big Ten and All-Defensive Team selection Lilli Piper. She led the league in batting and is currently hitting at a .417 clip with team highs in home runs (20), RBI (57), runs scored (49), hits (63), doubles (14), stolen bases (8), slugging percentage (.921) and on-base percentage (.497).
- RHP Shelby McCombs is a threat in the circle and at the plate. On the rubber, she has 16 wins with a 2.94 ERA and 127 strikeouts over 145.1 innings. In the box, she is batting .338 this season with 34 RBI, 13 home runs, 11 doubles, 21 runs scored and a .706 slugging percentage. Her totals on both sides helped her become a first team All-Big Ten honoree.
- Slapper Bailee Sturgeon has increased her batting average this year by over 100 points with a .295 mark. She has chipped in 41 hits, scored 27 runs, roped four doubles and driven in nine runs.
- Rookie Niki Carver is hitting .277 to rank fourth on the team. She has tallied 18 RBI, five homers and 27 runs to earn a spot on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
- Second baseman Emily Clark stands third on the team with 12 home runs this season. She has recorded 39 hits, 43 RBI, 32 runs and nine doubles to secure a second team All-Big Ten nod.
- Overall, Ohio State’s offense features three players with double-digit home runs, six with 16 or more RBI and four players with a .370 or better on-base percentage.
- In the circle, four pitcher have seen action over 48 games. The group is led by righty Morgan Ray, who tops the team in innings (150.0), strikeouts (140), wins (17), complete games (12) and shutouts (2).
NUGGETS TO KNOW
- The Buckeyes are 14-8 against teams ranked in the Top 75. They were also 20-9 versus Top 100 teams this year.
- Ohio State was ranked or receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Collegiate Softball Top 25 polls for every week during the regular season.
- Lilli Piper’s solo home run in the Big Ten Tournament – her team-leading 20th of the year – secured her place in Ohio State’s history books as the single-season record holder.
- Lilli Piper currently has 57 RBI and 49 runs. She is one of only two players with at least 50 RBI and 40 runs in a season in school history. Maddy McIntyre ’16 had 50 RBI and 55 runs scored in 2015.
- The Buckeyes finished the regular season with a 20-5 record in non-conference play. Ohio State’s non-conference slate ranks 20th in strength of schedule and the RPI is No. 14 in the country.
- Lilli Piper appears in multiple categories in the national rankings. She stands third in home runs per game (0.42), fifth in RBI per game (1.19), sixth in home runs (20), ninth in slugging percentage (.921), 11th in total bases (139), 18th in runs per game (1.02) and 22nd in RBI (57).
- Nationally, Ohio State ranks sixth in home runs per game (1.31), 14th in doubles per game (1.54), 17th in slugging percentage (.492) and 36th in scoring (5.48).
- Ohio State’s seven-member senior class is responsible for 133 Buckeye victories over the past four seasons, including 54 Big Ten wins. They have cemented their spot in the record books as the ninth all-time winningest senior class in program history.
- The Buckeyes had a season-high 13 runs, 13 RBI and 14 hits in their series opener versus Maryland. The victory marked the seventh consecutive season that Ohio State has won at least 30 games.
- Lilli Piper had reached base successfully in 18 consecutive games from Mar. 25-Apr. 29. During a 15-game stretch, she drew a walk 17 times, five of which were intentional.
- Head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly reached the 30-win mark for the ninth straight season in her 12-year head-coaching career. She now has 197 wins during her six seasons at the helm for Ohio State and 385 career victories.
- Ohio State went 11-2 at Buckeye Field for its sixth consecutive season with at least 10 wins at home. While in Columbus, Shelby McCombs led the team with a .512 average, 1.024 slugging percentage, 21 hits, 14 RBI, nine runs, six doubles and five home runs. She was also 6-1 in the circle with a 2.53 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 44.1 innings pitched.
- The Buckeyes connected on five home runs against Rutgers (Apr. 8) and Maryland (Apr. 27) to tie the program’s record for most home runs in a game. Ohio State has hit the single-game mark on five different occasions, dating back to 2002.
SWING FOR THE FENCE
- Ohio State has connected on 63 home runs this season to lead the Big Ten. The 63 dingers are the fifth most in school history.
- The Buckeyes have recorded at least one home run in 36 contests, has four games with three homers and two outings with five home runs.
- Lilli Piper is responsible for 20 of Ohio State’s home runs while Shelby McCombs and Emily Clark have 13 and 12, respectively.
Lilli Piper: Make You Proud