April 12, 2017

No. 21 Buckeyes, Penn State Split B1G Doubleheader

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April 12, 2017

RELATED INFO: Box Score: Game One | Box Score: Game Two |  Season Stats |  2017 Team Guide |  Record Book | 2017 Schedule | 2017 Roster | Softball Homepage | Big Ten Softball | Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 21 Ohio State bounced back from a hard-fought 2-1 loss in the opening game of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Penn State by scoring early and often in a 10-7 triumph in the nightcap. The Buckeyes are now 24-10 on the season and 8-3 in the Big Ten. Penn State is 16-22, 4-7.

GAME ONE: Penn State 2, Ohio State 1
Penn State’s Marlaina Laubach held Ohio State off the scoreboard for 6.2 innings as a late seventh inning rally fell short in a 2-1 setback. The Nittany Lions scored both of their runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth on a double off the top of the left field wall. Ohio State had the tying run at third base with two down in the top of the seventh but couldn’t push across the equalizer.

HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
• After quickly recording the first two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Hursh ran in to trouble when she gave up back to back singles and then a two-run double by Weber that scored Delaney Elling and Destiny Weber. The final out of the half inning was recorded on a fly out to center.
• Penn State quickly retired the first two batters in the top of the seventh via a foul out and fly out, but Alex Bayne singled through the left side and Piper followed with a single of her own to center. Some heads up base running by Piper and Bayne allowed Bayne to score from third after Piper stole second and the throw from the catcher got away from the second baseman. With the tying run at third, Emily Clark grounded out to third for the game’s final out.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
• The first scoring threat of the game occurred in the top of the second as Becca Gavin hit a one-out single to left field, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and then attempted to score when Bri Betschel singled to third base. However, she was thrown out at the plate to preserve the tie.
• Penn State loaded the bases in the bases in the bottom of the third as the lead off batter in the inning, Delaney Elling, singled to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A one-out single up the middle advanced pinch runner Amanda Ferlisi to third and PSU loaded the bases after Tori Dubois was hit by a pitch. The scoreless tie was preserved as Hursh got Shelby Miller to pop out to Gavin in foul territory.
• Just like the Nittany Lions had done a half inning earlier, Ohio State left the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. The first two batters – White and Gavin – reached on an error and single, respectively. Ashley Goodwin sacrificed them up one base, but a pop up, walk and strike out ended the threat.

QUALITY INNINGS FROM RAY
Morgan Ray came on in relief on Shelby Hursh for the final two innings of the game and didn’t allow a hit while striking out three, including two in the bottom of the sixth. She lowered her season ERA to 2.33.

AT THE PLATE
Gavin went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles while the Buckeyes also received hits from Bayne (2-for-4, single and a double), Piper (1-for-3), Taylor White (1-for-3) and Betschel (1-for-2). The Buckeyes left seven runners on base and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

GAME TWO: Ohio State 10, Penn State 7
The Buckeyes erupted for a five runs in the first inning. four more in the third and eventually hung on for a 10-7 victory in the nightcap that was keyed by a 3-for-4 performance from Maddie Marotti and four RBI from Ashley Goodwin.

HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
• Ohio State quickly attached Penn State starter Madey Smith, tagging her for five runs on four hits. It started with back to back singles by Kirk and Bayne followed by a suicide squeeze that scored Kirk from third. White and Gavin then each reached on a hit by pitch and walk, respectively, before Goodwin drove in two runs with a single through the left side. Marotti followed with a two-run double off the left field wall to make it 5-0.
• Penn State answered in the bottom of the frame as the first three batters recorded hits, including a RBI single off the bat of Tori Dubois. Starting pitcher Shelby McCombs was able to get out of any further damage with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to shortstop.
• The Nittany Lions’ first two batters in the bottom of the second reached but a pair of fielder’s choices – including one that resulted in an out at home plate – got the Buckeyes to two outs with a pair of runners on. Polk singled through the right side on a 2-1 pitch, drawing PSU to within three, 5-2.
• Four runs crossed the plate for the Scarlet and Gray in the top of the third on five hits while also being aided by one out error. After White reached on an E6, Gavin singled to right field and Goodwin followed with a well-placed single up the middle that scored a run. An infield single by Marotti – her second hit in as many at-bats – scored another run and then Kirk delivered the biggest blow of the inning, a two-run double to left field that plated Marotti and pinch runner Bailee Sturgeon.
• Penn State chipped away at the Ohio State lead with a single run in the fifth and then a three-spot in the sixth. That rally was keyed by a Shelby Miller two-run double and Kristina’s Brackpool’s run-scoring single through the left side. It ended, however, when Lena Springer came on in relief and got a line out to shortstop and fly out to center.
• The Buckeyes tacked on what proved to be an important run on a two-out single by Goodwin that scored Andi Farrah from third. Farrah came on to pinch run for Clark, who had walked to lead off the inning.
• A two-out double off the right center field wall plated Penn State’s seventh run, but Springer completed her second save of the season when she got Tori Dubois to fly out to shallow center.

SWIPING BASES
Ohio State stole seven bases in the second game, which breaks the previous single-game record of five that was set in March of 2015 against Samford. White swiped two bases while Kirk, Bayne, Piper, Farrah and Sturgeon all had one.

IN THE CIRCLE
McCombs earned the win to move to 5-0 on the season while Springer’s 1.2 innings of work registered her second save of the season. Three Buckeye pitchers – McCombs, Ray and Springer – combined to walk just two batters.

NOTING THE OFFENSE
• Marotti tied a career high with her three hits and also established a new career best with three RBI. She’s now hitting .474 in 19 at-bats over the last 10 games.
• Goodwin’s four RBI is a career high. She’s batting at a .346 clip in Big Ten play (11 games) with nine RBI – seven in the last three games.
• The top two hitters in the lineup – Kirk and Bayne – went 4-for-9. Kirk drove in two runs with her RBI double in the third.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Buckeyes return home to host their third straight weekend conference series when they welcome in Indiana beginning on Friday at 6 p.m. Admission and parking at Buckeye Field, as always, is free.