Buckeyes advance to regional final with pair of Saturday wins

Alicia Herron’s heroic day catapulted regional host Ohio State to a Sunday showdown against No. 11 California. The Buckeyes were down 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning when Herron hit a line drive home run over the left field wall to put the team up 4-2. The home run was her second of the game and her third of the day. “I was just trying to step up, lead my team and help my team succeed,” Herron said. OSU won 5-3 as Herron provided four RBIs in the rematch against Kentucky. Senior Megan Miller received two wins on the day, one for five scoreless innings against Bucknell and than another in a seven-inning performance against Kentucky.“Megan had great command and was in control,” coach Linda Kalafatis said.The sun was shining over Buckeye Field Saturday as the Buckeyes played two-and-a-half games. They lost their first game in a thrilling 6-5 loss to Kentucky. The Buckeyes were down 6-1 with two outs in the seventh when Vanessa Spears hit a three-run home run. After loading the bases, Courtney Pruner was hit by a pitch to put the team within one. Whitney Cooper then fouled out to third, stranding the bases loaded.“I wish we would have started (the game) the way we ended it, but we missed our opportunities early,” Kalafatis said. After a 6-0 victory over the Bucknell Bison, OSU was able to notch the win against Kentucky to send them into the regional championship game.Freshman Melanie Nichols did not pitch at all Saturday, as she is day-to-day with soreness in her arm. She pitched three innings Friday night and received the loss against Kentucky.“Hopefully we will be able to throw her in one of the games tomorrow,” Kalafatis said. The only other pitching options for OSU are junior Karisa Medrano, who pitched a combined six innings in both games giving up three runs, and Miller. “I’ll pitch 14 innings (Sunday) if I have to,” Miller said. The Buckeyes must beat California twice Sunday to advance to the Super Regional tournament.OSU will play California Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Buckeye Field. If a second game is necessary, it will be played at 5:30 p.m.

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