COLUMBUS, Ohio – After picking up its first Big Ten series sweep of the season, No. 22 Ohio State returns to Buckeye Field to host Penn State in a midweek doubleheader Wednesday, live on the Big Ten Network. First pitch of the evening is set for 5:02 p.m.
Penn State is 6-26 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are on a three-game skid after being swept by Michigan last weekend. The team is hitting .219 with 30 doubles and 11 home runs. Tori Dubois tops the squad with a .300 batting average, 30 hits, 19 RBI, 14 runs and five homers. PSU has relied heavily on a pair of pitchers this season and has a team ERA of 5.34 in 204.1 innings. Jessica Cummings has a 4.71 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 99.2 innings of work.
Ohio State leads the series with Penn State, 54-32. The two teams met in a doubleheader a season ago and split the results. The Nittany Lions took the first game, 2-1, and the Buckeyes rebounded for a 10-7 win in the nightcap.
Ohio State spent the first seven weeks of the 2018 season on the road and clocked in 26 games. During their time away from Columbus as a whole, the Buckeyes went 12-3 in neutral site games and are 10-4 in away matchups.
Ohio State has been pushed to extra innings six times, including a span of four straight. The Buckeyes put up 24 hits, 17 RBI and seven home runs in those games on their way to a 3-1 mark during the four-game stretch. OSU only went past seven innings in four games a season ago.
WALK IT OFF
The Buckeyes have done some of their best work late in games this season. The squad has tallied seven comeback wins, two of which have been walk-off victories. Four games were decided on walk-off hits, including a pair by Lilli Piper on a single and home run. Niki Carver has a walk-off single and Shelby McCombs delivered a walk-off homer earlier in the campaign.
SWING FOR THE FENCE
Through 32 games, Ohio State has connected on 42 home runs. The Buckeyes have recorded at least one home run in 24 of 32 games, has four games with three homers and one contest with five dingers. Lilli Piper is responsible for 16 of Ohio State’s home runs.
Lilli Piper recorded her 100th hit in Scarlet & Gray against Cal State Fullerton on Mar. 11. In the same game, Taylor White tallied the 100th run of her career and picked her 100th RBI against Rutgers on Apr. 8. Emily Clark has already surpassed one milestone as she recorded the 100th hit of her career against Northern Illinois on Feb. 10. Morgan Ray secured her 200th strikeout on Apr. 6 at Rutgers. Piper and Clark have driven in 97 and 98 runs, respectively. Ashley Goodwin is just one hit away from reaching 100 for her career.
Ohio State is up to No. 22 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll. The Buckeyes have been receiving votes or ranked in both polls every week thus far.
The Scarlet & Gray travels to Northwestern to play three games this weekend Apr. 13-15. Ohio State opens the series Friday on the Big Ten Network at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Buckeyes are back in action Saturday at 2 p.m. before the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.