FULLERTON, Calif. – It was a chilly day in California as No. 17/18 Ohio State split the bill on day one of the Easton Invitational. The tournament started with a 7-6 loss to Grand Canyon before the Buckeyes rebounded in the nightcap behind a 6-2 triumph over Cal State Fullerton. Ohio State is now 18-3 overall.
Game One: Grand Canyon 7, Ohio State 6
IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State opened the game on defense with RHP Morgan Ray in the circle, who made quick work of the Lopes with three swinging strikeouts. When it was time switch to offense, Taylor White and Lilli Piper both singled to get the Buckeyes going. Emily Clark moved both to second and third on a groundout and Ashley Goodwin laid down the sac bunt to plate White and put OSU up 1-0.
In the bottom of the third, a pitch hit White before Piper doubled to right field to get both in scoring position. Clark stepped up and roped a two-RBI double to left center to open the margin to 3-0.
The tides turned in GCU’s favor in the top of the fifth with four runs on four hits. The Lopes stacked the bags three times and scored thanks to a wild pitch, two-RBI single and sac fly.
GCU tacked on another run in the sixth on a solo homer by Niki Gonzalez before adding two more in the seventh on a two-RBI single.
Ohio State started to rally in the bottom of the seventh. Becca Gavin singled down the left field line and White swung on the first pitch for a single to right field to start the half. Next up, Piper homered over centerfield to tack on three runs and cut the deficit to 7-6. Following the big hit, a walk and hit batter put a pair on but the Buckeyes could not bring them in.
Ray (11-2) stayed in the circle for 5.1 innings to allow five runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts. Kat Duvall gave up two runs on one hit in 1.2 innings of relief.
Game Two: Ohio State 6, Cal State Fullerton 2
COUNT IT UP
Once again, the Buckeyes got on the board first. White jump-started the offense with a leadoff single up the middle in the opening frame. Piper came behind her with a double down the left field line before Goodwin’s sac fly brought White in.
Ohio State kept it up in the third, starting with another single by White. A walk and fielder’s choice moved her to third before Clark stole second, her first stolen base of the season. Shelby McCombs walked to load the bases and Megan McMenemy landed a single over the shortstop’s glove for her first RBI as a Buckeye. Gavin followed suit with an RBI single through the left side to push the gap to 3-0.
After she drew a walk, Piper sprinted to third on a hard single through the infield by Clark in the fourth. Just waiting for her chance, Piper got a jump on the ball and scored thanks to a wild pitch.
The Titans responded with a two-out solo home run by Bryanna Ybarra in the bottom of the fourth. They added another tally on a RBI double in the fifth to chip away at OSU’s lead.
Bri Betschel dropped the ball right in front of the centerfielder for a single and advanced to second on a groundout in the sixth. Piper threaded a single up the middle and Betschel headed home but the Titans made the play at the plate to get her out. Unbothered, Clark drove a double to right center to plate Piper.
After recording her fourth strikeout on defense, McCombs delivered on offense with a leadoff home run over left center for the final 6-2 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
McCombs tossed her third complete game of the season with six hits, two runs and four strikeouts. She picked up her seventh win, the most in a single season by the right-handed ace.
Piper was 2-for-2 at the plate with an added bonus of two runs and two walks. White tallied two hits and two runs while Clark chipped in two hits, one run and an RBI.
The Buckeyes return to Anderson Family Field for a rematch with CSUN tomorrow at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET.