Feb. 17, 2018
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Buckeyes used extra-inning rallies to sweep Louisville and N.C. State on day two of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Ohio State secured a 6-5 walk-off victory in nine innings against the Cardinals before it topped the Wolfpack, 5-4, in eight innings on a walk-off home run. With two wins, the Buckeyes improve to 7-1 on the season.
Game One: Ohio State 6, Louisville 5 (9)
Emily Clark, Ashley Goodwin and Lilli Piper all had two-out home runs in a back-and-forth battle with the Cardinals. Niki Carver punched a walk-off single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the win.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State got out to a fast start on both sides of the ball. After taking down the Cardinals in order in the opening frame, Clark and Goodwin delivered back-to-back two-out home runs to put the Buckeyes up 2-0.
Louisville responded in the top of the second with a two-run homer by Megan Hensley to tie the game. The Cardinals pushed for more as they loaded the bases on two walks and a single but OSU’s defense worked its way out of the jam on a groundout.
Lilli Piper handed the lead back to the Buckeyes on another two-out home run in the third, her second of the season.
It took two outs in the top of the seventh for the Cardinals to knot the score once again. With runners on first and second, Sidney Melton had an RBI single to bring the tally to 3-3.
The momentum stayed in Louisville’s favor heading into the eighth. The Cardinals used an RBI single and double to break the tie and go up 5-3.
The Buckeyes came up big in the bottom of the eighth to keep the game going. Carver reached on a fielder’s choice and a fielding error allowed Piper to get on. Next up, Clark walked to stack the bags with Goodwin on deck. Goodwin reached on a fielder’s choice to keep the bases loaded while Carver scampered home on a throwing error by Louisville’s pitcher. Shelby McCombs used a sac fly to bring Piper in for the third tie of the morning.
Ohio State’s defense got the job done in the visitor half of the ninth to keep the Cardinals off the board. On offense, Becca Gavin secured a leadoff walk and Bailee Sturgeon moved her to second on a sac bunt. Waiting for the perfect pitch, Carver slipped a single through the middle to usher in the game-winning run.
IN THE CIRCLE
McCombs started the game and tossed 4.1 innings. She allowed four hits and two runs with five strikeouts. Morgan Ray (3-1), who pitched 4.2 innings of relief, was credited with the win. The RHP had three hits and three runs (one earned) along with four strikeouts.
Game Two: Ohio State 5, N.C. State 4 (8)
In its fourth-straight extra-inning game, Ohio State was lifted to victory on a two-run walk-off homer from Shelby McCombs. The Buckeyes scored with the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh behind Kallie Boren’s two-RBI double and Lilli Piper’s RBI single to force extra innings.
HOW IT HAPPENED
N.C. State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth. A single and double covered the corners before a fielder’s choice let in the first run. The Wolfpack followed it up with a sac fly for the two-run advantage.
The Buckeyes rallied in the bottom of the seventh for three runs on three hits. Gavin got things going with a leadoff single and Sturgeon came behind her with a walk. After entering the game as a pinch hitter, Boren connected on a two-RBI double. Feeding off the great energy, Piper singled to right field to plate the tying run, 3-3.
Jade Caraway put the Wolfpack back in front, 4-3, as she executed a sac fly to bring in the runner from third in the top of the eighth.
Putting up a fight, Clark reached on a fielding error by the second baseman in the home frame of the eighth. Goodwin laid down the sac bunt to move Clark over to second. McCombs showed her strength as she powered the ball over the centerfield wall for a two-run walk-off homer.
BY THE NUMBERS
Gavin was a perfect 3-for-3 with a run to pace the team. The Buckeyes had four other players with one hit each. McCombs and Boren drove in two runs apiece.
Morgan Ray struck out three batters in 4.2 innings while giving up four hits and two runs. She only walked one of the 22 batters she faced. McCombs (4-0) received the win on 3.1 innings of work, three hits and two runs.
Ohio State plays its final game of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge when it meets Louisville tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET.