April 30, 2017
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioState_SB) April 30, 2017
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A two-out, two-run double from Lea Thompson proved to be the decisive hit as Ohio State dropped its Big Ten home finale to Iowa on Sunday, 4-2, before a capacity crowd of 1,720 at Buckeye Field on Sunday. Despite the loss, Ohio State took two of three in the series and stands at 30-14 overall (13-7 Big Ten) while Iowa is 17-29, 8-12.
THE SHORT STORY
Holding a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, the Buckeyes gave up a game-tying home run to McKenzie Schneider and three batters later, Thompson’s double that was just out of reach of Bri Betschel in left field. The Hawkeyes worked around lead off hits by Ohio State in the bottom of the both the sixth and seventh innings to hang on for the victory.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
Iowa put the first two runners on base in the top of the second as Brooke Rozier and Allie Wood delivered singles off of starting pitcher Shelby McCombs. Following a sacrifice bunt and fielder’s choice, pinch hitter Mallory Killan set a hard shot to second base that was just out of reach of Emily Clark, allowing Wood to score.
The Hawkeyes’ lead didn’t last long, as Clark took the second pitch in the bottom of the second and connected on her eighth home run of the season. The solo shot tied the game at 1-1. It was the second home run in as many games for the sophomore, who hit .556 this weekend and added four RBI.
A timely two-out hit by Clark in the bottom of the third gave the Scarlet and Gray the lead for the first time, as she singled through the left side and score Alex Bayne, who had been hit by a pitch and stole second.
The Hawkeyes’ three-run sixth inning started with Schneider’s home run and continued with an infield single by Claire Fritsch. After Killan flied out to left field, Cheyenne Pratt singled, setting up Thompson’s go-ahead double.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ohio State left runners on base in each inning after the first, including two in the bottom of the second after Clark’s home run tied the score. Ashley Goodwin walked after the home run and two batters later, Gavin singled to shortstop. A strikeout and groundout, however, ended the threat.
The Buckeyes appeared to be ready to seize the momentum in the bottom of the sixth when Goodwin smacked a lead off double off the left field wall. Iowa’s Allison Doocy, who pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts, was able to retire the next three batters.
In the bottom of the seventh, Betschel led off with the Buckeyes’ sixth hit of the game, a single to centerfield. She moved in to scoring position on a Taylor White ground out, but Doocy struck out the next batter and got Lilli Piper to fly out to right field for the final out.
Ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning, the Buckeyes got out of a major jam by getting pinch hitter Devin Cantu to ground back to pitcher Lena Springer with the bases loaded. Springer came in to the game after Shelby McCombs gave up a lead-off single to Brooke Rozier and retired Wood on a fly out to right field. A walk and sac bunt put two outs on the board, and after Kilian was hit by a pitch, Springer worked a 2-2 count against Cantu to induce the inning-ending ground ball.
PACKIN’ THEM IN
The announced attendance of 1,720 was the third largest crowd in single-game school history and the third time this year the Buckeyes have played before a crowd of 1,700 or more. In 13 home dates this season, Ohio State is averaging 1,040 fans per game, which is an all-time high.
AT THE PLATE
Clark was the only Buckeye with multiple hits on the afternoon, as she went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Piper, Goodwin, Becca Gavin and Betschel all added one hit.
STREAKS AND SNIPITS
By taking two of three games, Ohio State has claimed four of six weekend series wins so far this season.
The three largest crowds to ever enter Buckeye Field have occurred during the 2017 season: 1,836 vs. Michigan (4/9), 1,764 vs. Michigan (4/8) and 1,720 vs. Iowa (4/30).
Clark now has nine multi-RBI games on the season, third most of the team. She’s also hit safely in eight straight games, one shy of her season high.
With her infield single in the second inning, Gavin extended her reached base streak to 15 straight games.
Prior to the game, four seniors were honored in front of the capacity crowd: Springer, Shelby Hursh, Anna Kirk and Bayne.
Ohio State wraps up its regular season home schedule with a 6 p.m. contest on Wednesday against Kent State. Admission, as always, is free. The game will be streamed live on BTN Plus and live stats are available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.