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Ohio State softball fights for another day, defeating Marist in NCAA tournament

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OSU sophomore Taylor White (21) and junior Shelby Hursh (19) in a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Lantern File Photo

OSU sophomore Taylor White (21) and junior Shelby Hursh (19) in a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Lantern File Photo

Just five hours after its defeat at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats, the Ohio State softball team recouped and avoided elimination in the Knoxville regional at the NCAA tournament, advancing to Sunday.

OSU only collected two hits in its first contest in the late morning of Saturday, but the bats came to life in a 6-1 victory over Marist, eliminating the Red Foxes from the NCAA tournament.

For much of the game, sophomore outfielder Taylor White led the OSU offense to an early lead. In the first inning, the Buckeyes had a runner on second and third with two outs when White delivered a two-run triple to put OSU ahead 2-0.

In her next at-bat, White launched a homerun to left-center field off second-team All-MAAC redshirt junior pitcher Jessica Van Alphen for a 3-0 lead. Van Alphen had a record of 10-3 and an ERA of 1.98 coming into the game.

The second-team All-Big Ten honoree, White, gave a lift to a struggling offense who only totaled one run combined in its last two games. White has 32 RBIs this season.

Freshman Emily Clark and first-team All-Big Ten junior infielder Alex Bayne hit back-to-back homeruns in the fifth. Bayne’s team-leading 19th homer came off MAAC pitcher of the year Jayne Oberdorf.

Handed the loss in the first game, Buckeye junior pitcher Shelby Hursh was back in the circle for coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly’s squad against Marist and displayed confidence the team expects from its ace. Hursh tossed her ninth complete game while surrendering just four hits, one unearned run and striking out seven Red Foxes. She picked up her 16th win in her junior campaign.

Hursh likely has been OSU’s best pitcher all season. After pitching two games on Saturday, it’s unclear whether the right-handed Hursh will be ready to go on Sunday.

OSU will need stellar performances up and down the lineup on Sunday when the Buckeyes play an elimination game at noon against host, 13th-ranked Tennessee. The winner plays Arizona in the regional finals.

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