COLUMBUS, Ohio – After having its midweek outing postponed due to weather, No. 24 Ohio State is back in action for a three-game Big Ten weekend series against Wisconsin at Buckeye Field. The series opener will take place on Friday at 6 p.m. The Buckeyes and Badgers will play at 2 p.m. Saturday before concluding action on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Wisconsin is 15-11 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play heading into Columbus this weekend. The Badgers are coming off a 6-2 win over Northern Iowa on Tuesday. The team is hitting .259 with 15 home runs. Kelsey Jenkins is hitting .368 with 28 hits, 21 runs and 16 RBI. In the circle, Wisconsin has a 2.74 ERA in 178.2 innings and has accumulated 123 strikeouts. Haley Hestekin is 7-4 on the season with a 1.71 ERA through 78 innings with 41 strikeouts.
The Buckeyes are 21-23-1 in the all-time series with Wisconsin. The two teams met a season ago in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament when the Buckeyes edged the Badgers, 3-2. Ashley Goodwin and Becca Gavin both had a hit and run in the win.
Starting Wednesday, Ohio State plays four straight games at Buckeye Field. Over the last five seasons, the Buckeyes are 55-25 at home and won a minimum of 10 games every year.
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, the Buckeyes went 12-3 in neutral site games and 7-4 in away matchups. The Scarlet & Gray have surpassed the midway mark of the campaign and has 15 contests at Buckeye Field.
Through 26 games, 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 six 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 26 games, Ohio State has connected on 30 home runs. The Buckeyes have recorded at least one home run in 19 of 26 games and has two games with three homers. Lilli Piper is responsible for 13 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. Emily Clark has already surpassed one milestone as she recorded the 100th hit of her career against Northern Illinois on Feb. 10. She has driven in 93 runs and is on track to cross the 100-RBI plateau. Ashley Goodwin is just six hits away from reaching 100 for her career while Taylor White has 97 RBI. RHP Morgan Ray needs seven strikeouts to secure 200 Ks.
Ohio State checks in at No. 24 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.
Ohio State continues Big Ten play when it visits Rutgers Apr. 6-8 for a three-game series, beginning at 3 p.m. ET Friday.