March 30, 2018

Big Sixth Inning Lifts Buckeyes over Badgers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 24 Ohio State softball team put on a show for the best fans in the land as it exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to clinch a 9-7 comeback win over Wisconsin in its home opener Friday night at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes improve to 20-7 (1-3 B1G) while the Badgers fall to 15-12 (1-1 B1G).

KEYS TO VICTORY

The sixth inning proved to be a game changer as Ohio State tallied five runs on four hits, including a game-winning two-run homer by Shelby McCombs. RHP Katya Duvall came through in the top of the seventh with three straight strikeouts to retire the Badgers and cap off the win.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

  • The Badgers got on the board in the opening frame. A pair of walks put two on and Stephanie Lombardo’s RBI single drove in the first run of the game.
  • Ohio State responded in the second with two runs on two hits and two errors. Taylor Whitegot the offense going with a walk and Lilli Piper pushed her over to third with a single to right center. Emily Clark reached on a fielder’s choice before making her way to third on an error by the third baseman that allowed White to tie the game. Next up, Ashley Goodwinreached on an error by the first baseman, which gave Clark time to scamper in as the Buckeyes took a 2-1 lead.
  • Wisconsin bounced back in the top of the second on two RBI doubles and a bases loaded walk to go up 4-2.
  • In the home half of the second with two outs, White doubled to left field and Piper hit the ball to the same place for a double to bring her in.
  • After a scoreless third inning, the Badgers tacked on two more runs in the fourth. The first tally came on a sacrifice fly while the second happened on a first and third. The Buckeyes tagged the runner trying to steal second but allowed enough time for a run to score.
  • In the leadoff spot in the bottom of the fourth, rookie Niki Carver homered over the right field wall for the first home run of 2018 at Buckeye Field.
  • Wisconsin’s final run of the game scored on a fielder’s choice in the sixth.
  • Five runs crossed the plate for the Scarlet & Gray in the bottom of the sixth on four hits. Carver singled, White doubled and Piper was intentionally walked to stack the bags. Clark kept the momentum going as she punched the ball up the middle to plate two. Goodwin followed with a groundout that scored Piper and tied the game at 7-7. McCombs delivered the biggest blow of the inning, a two-shot homer to left center to put OSU ahead, 9-7.
  • It ended, however, when Duvall fanned three straight Badgers in the top of the seventh to put the game away.

IN THE CIRCLE

Three members of Ohio State’s pitching staff saw action in the circle. Duvall earned her first win of the season, tied her career-high four strikeouts and did not allow a hit in 1.1 innings of relief. Morgan Ray started the game and gave up four runs, three hits with a strikeout in 1.1 innings. McCombs carried most of the load in 4.1 innings with three runs, one hit and five strikeouts.

TALKING NUMBERS

  • McCombs tied her career high with three hits and paired it with two RBI and one run.
  • Piper was a perfect 3-for-3, had one run and one RBI.
  • White posted three runs and two hits while Carver had two runs, two hits and an RBI. Clark came up with two RBI, one hit and one run.
  • The Scarlet & Gray tallied 12 hits, just one shy of their season high (13).
  • Ohio State’s top of the order – White, Piper and Clark – hit .600 and combined for five runs.
  • The Buckeyes caught a season-high three runners stealing. Becca Gavin made the throw to Piper twice at second base and Piper joined Goodwin for a rundown between first and second.

UP NEXT

Ohio State returns to Buckeye Field to face Wisconsin tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET. As always, admission and parking are free.