PISCATAWAY, N.J. – No. 23/24 Ohio State did numbers on Friday afternoon with a season-high 12 runs on 13 hits for a six-inning 12-3 triumph over Rutgers in the series opener at the RU Softball Complex. The Buckeyes improve to 22-8 (3-4 B1G) while the Scarlet Knights are 17-17 (2-3 B1G).
OUT OF THE PARK
For the fourth time this season, Ohio State connected on three home runs to tie its single-game best thanks to three different Buckeyes – Lilli Piper, Becca Gavin and Ashley Goodwin.
RHP Morgan Ray fanned eight batters on Friday to secure the 200th strikeout of her career. Overall, she stands at 205 Ks in Scarlet & Gray. Ray pitched six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits to notch her 12th win.
COUNTING THE RUNS
The Buckeyes struck for two after back-to-back walks for Taylor White and Bailee Sturgeon set up Piper, who roped a RBI double to left center to plate the opening run. Next up, Emily Clark used a sacrifice fly to score Sturgeon.
Rutgers responded in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by Myah Moy to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Ohio State broke the game open in the second behind four runs on four hits. Bri Betschel started the frame with a leadoff double, her first extra-base hit of the season. Niki Carver kept the hits coming on a single to left field, which gave Betschel enough time to make her way to third base. White stepped up and knocked a double to centerfield for another tally. In the next at-bat, Sturgeon reached on a fielder’s choice before she and White moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Piper put her power on display with a three-run homer over the left field wall for a 6-1 advantage.
The Buckeyes led off the top of the third with a double to left center by Shelby McCombs, setting the stage for a two-shot home run by Becca Gavin. Betschel kept her streak going with another double to left field. White’s single pushed Betschel over to third, who scored on a throwing miscue by the catcher.
Ashley Goodwin grabbed her first hit of the game on a single to left field. After coming in as a pinch runner, Andi Farrah scampered to third on a passed ball and groundout. It was an error by the shortstop that allowed Gavin to reach and Farrah to score.
The Scarlet Knights fought back in the home half of the fourth thanks to an RBI single from Hailey Hoklotubbe and passed ball. Ray limited the damage and worked her way out of the bases loaded jam with a pair of strikeouts.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Goodwin homered for the fourth time this season and made the score 11-3. The momentum stayed on Ohio State’s side as McCombs singled, pinch hitter Claire Nicholson walked and Betschel reached on an error at short. With the bags covered, McCombs sprinted home on a wild pitch for the final run.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights will go head-to-head again tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.