TUCSON--No. 24 Auburn (36-21) made the most of two long balls to beat Ohio State, 4-0, Friday night and advance to the championship game of the NCAA Region 2 softball tournament against host Arizona.
Kristina McCain got things started for the Tigers with a one-out solo home run to left-center field in the top of the fourth.
Auburn added a trio of runs in the sixth with a three-run blast off the batter's eye in center field by Tatiana Fernandez.
UA pitcher Beth DiPietro held the Buckeyes (39-23) to five hits in earning her 16th victory against seven defeats. She struck out five. OSU's Jamee Juarez (17-11) took the loss for the Buckeyes.
Auburn will meet top-ranked and the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Championships, host Arizona, at 3 p.m. (MST/PDT) Saturday in the Region 2 title game at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Auburn Coach Tina Deese: "I thought it was a well-played game by both teams. It was exciting to pull out two wins today. It was nice to break out offensively. We knew we had the capabilities. It's a good time to turn the switch. Beth (DePietro) did a nice job keeping them off balance. Our "D" played great behind her, too." On facing Arizona: "There is no doubt we are going against a giant. They are a strong team. They have speed and power. We hope to keep playing our own game. We need to play hard and confident."
Auburn P Beth DePietro: "Getting run support really helps. You can throw different pitches and if you make mistakes they don't hurt you. The defense played good behind me today." On having to beat Arizona twice on Saturday to advance: "It's possible. Anything is possible."
Ohio State Coach Linda Kalafatis: "In this business all losses are tough, but this last one was especially emotional. We said goodbye to four seniors tonight. Our pitchers and defense played as hard as they could tonight. I want us to continue to use this as a building block. Our younger players really need to help nurture the incoming class. Softball around the country is growing, and there is so much parity in the sport now."
Ohio State rightfielder Brittany Vanderink: "Next year we need to take the freshman under our wings. It is a big responsibility, but we need to show them how to be a Buckeye."
Live Stats on Game Watcher for all Tucson games - HERE
NCAA Division I Softball Championships - Region 2 Schedule Day Time Game Other Thursday 4 p.m. 1 - Ohio State 1, Auburn 0 6:30 p.m. 2 - Arizona 9, Marist 0 Friday 1:30 p.m. 3 ?- Arizona 6, Ohio State 3 4 p.m. 4 ?- Auburn 14, Marist 0 6:30 p.m. 5 ?- Auburn 4, Ohio State 0 6 ?- Arizona (H) vs. Auburn (V) Saturday 5 p.m. 7 ?- Arizona (V) vs. Auburn (H) (if necessary) ESPN2
ESPN2 Tucson Regional Schedule
NCAA Division I Softball Championships - Region 2 Schedule
1 - Ohio State 1, Auburn 0
2 - Arizona 9, Marist 0
3 ?- Arizona 6, Ohio State 3
4 ?- Auburn 14, Marist 0
5 ?- Auburn 4, Ohio State 0
6 ?- Arizona (H) vs. Auburn (V)
7 ?- Arizona (V) vs. Auburn (H) (if necessary)