Upstate Scores Late to Defeat Ohio State 7-3 in Knoxville Regional Opener

May 19, 2017 at 11:01 pm

Knoxville, Tenn. – The USC Upstate softball team scored five runs in the top of the seventh to rally back for a 7-3 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the NCAA Knoxville Regioal from Tennessee’s Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

The Spartans improve to 45-11 on the season while the Buckeyes fall to 35-17 overall.

“I think we did a real good job of doing what we’ve done all year: play good defense and solid pitching,” said head coach Chris Hawkins. “I’m satisfied with the outcome. I know we’re not quitters. I know when we’re down, we have a lot of ability to come back. We practice hard so we can have this time and this opportunity to win at this level. I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”

Scoring Breakdown
· Top 2nd – Upstate struck first for a single run in the second to take a 1-0 lead over Ohio State. Karla Beasley drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a passed ball and infield single by Kayla Hussey. Beasley would score on a wild pitch to Kendsey Chappelear.
· Top 5th – Beasley walked for the third time in the game, this time with the bases loaded and two outs, to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. Megan Obier came home on the walk. In the inning, Upstate walked four times to score its second run.
· Bottom 6th – The Buckeyes scored three times to go ahead of the Spartans 3-2 on back-to-back home runs. Lilli Piper began the scoring with a two-run homer to left center field and Emily Clark followed with a solo home run to center field.
· Top 7th – Upstate answered back by plating five runs on three Ohio State errors and led 7-3. Abbie Millete drove in Brittany Case from second base after reaching on a fielding error and later came home on an RBI single to right field by Kori Wancheck. Beasley then scored as Hussey reached on an RBI fielder’s choice bunt. Prior to the bunt by Hussey, Ryan Rector scored on a passed ball. Ansley Gilstrap had the final RBI in the inning after her infield single allowed Gemma Miller, pinch-running for Wancheck, to score.

The Spartans have now won five NCAA Tournament games in program history and third in their opening round matchup. Upstate defeated South Alabama 5-3 in eight innings in 2014 and Oregon State 5-2 in 2016.
The Spartans tied their season-high of seven walks led by three from Beasley.
Upstate outhit the Buckeyes 9-5.
Holly McKinnon (25-7) retired the first nine batters she faced and earned the win with a complete game and gave up three runs on five hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
Morgan Ray (6-5) suffered the loss in relief giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits, one walk and one strikeout.
Case, Hussey and Chappelear each recorded a team-leading two hits for the Spartans.
Gilstrap, Beasley, Wancheck and Hussey all had one RBI while Beasley had three of Upstate’s seven walks.
Piper was one of five Ohio State players to post one hit and drove in a team-high two RBI.

The Spartans will face No. 8 Tennessee on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. in the winner’s bracket game.