Though the dominating 1-2 punch of Florida Gator pitchers Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio certainly stymied the OSU offense over the weekend, the most startling aspect of the Buckeyes’ two defeats at the hands of the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament was the combined 26 walks, including 22 from senior pitcher Shelby McCombs.
In Sunday’s deciding game, which was postponed due to rain for more than seven hours, the Buckeye bats never got going, as Florida senior Ocasio— who plays centerfield when not in the circle— threw the program’s first seven-inning, postseason no-hitter en route to a 4-0 UF victory.
Ocasio recorded a season-high 12 strikeouts, while keeping the sticks of Ohio State’s Lilli Piper, Emily Clark, and Ashley Goodwin in-check. In fairness, McCombs also limited the hits for the Gators, allowing only two hits— a double for Amanda Lorenz and a Jaimie Hoover-triple on a misplayed flyball to right field.
However, as in the teams’ matchup on Saturday, she couldn’t overcome the free passes issued and extra baserunners afforded to the Gators. McCombs struck out four, but the 11 bases on balls proved to add too much pressure, as the Buckeyes weren’t able to keep the game close enough for a late-inning comeback. The run that would become the game winner came in the top of the first inning via a bases-loaded walk.
OSU did get a pair of runners on during the bottom of the seventh, but weren’t able to punch a run across.
With the loss, OSU’s season ends, as does that for the Big Ten conference. No B1G program advanced to this week’s Super Regionals. In fact, all of the 16 seeded teams (none from the B1G) won their regional rounds, as no underdogs were able to pull the upset. Florida will next host No. 15 Texas A&M beginning on Thursday.
Congratulations to the OSU softball team on their season.