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OSU softball falls to Arizona in NCAA regionals, one loss away from elimination

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OSU pitcher Shelby Hursh (19) pitches versus Northwestern on April 28, 2014. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

OSU pitcher Shelby Hursh (19) pitches versus Northwestern on April 28, 2014. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

The Ohio State softball team fell to the Arizona Wildcats 2-0 in the first game of a double-elimination regional at the NCAA Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee. Originally scheduled for Friday, the game between OSU and Arizona was suspended due to rain and resumed on Saturday morning.

The Buckeye offense couldn’t seem to figure out Wildcat redshirt junior pitcher Danielle O’Toole who collected first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Going into the game, O’Toole was awarded back-to-back Pac-12 pitcher of the week awards. In her last 4 starts, O’Toole was 4-0 with four complete games and a 0.91 ERA.

The Wildcats’ ace shut down OSU’s offense picking up another complete game, giving up only two hits, walking two and striking out three.

The Buckeyes squandered opportunities with runners in scoring position against O’Toole. OSU stranded six total runners on base, five of which were in scoring position.

O’Toole’s pitching counterpart, junior right-hander Shelby Hursh, did her best to keep the Buckeyes in the game. Hursh pitched a complete game, giving up two earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out seven.

Hursh pitched very well through three innings on Friday, giving up only two hits and striking out two, but the rain stalled Hursh’s outing until Saturday morning. That suspension of play seemed to affect Hursh as she came out for the fourth inning and gave up three hits and two runs on a home run by first-team All-Pac-12 junior outfielder Katiyana Mauga. Hursh then pitched out of a jam, striking out freshman catcher Hillary Edior with runners on second and third to end the fourth. Hursh then cruised through the fifth, striking out the side.

The Buckeyes’ next test will be against the Marist Red Foxes in an elimination game at approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday. Marist lost to No. 13 Tennessee in the regional’s second game.

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