COLUMBUS, Ohio – With the NCAA Tournament around the corner, Ohio State placed four players on the NFCA All-Midwest Region teams, which were announced on Thursday. Shortstop Lilli Piper and pitcher Shelby McCombs received first team honors while second baseman Emily Clark and pitcher Morgan Ray garnered second team recognition.
The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region and all the honorees are now eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams. Over the past three seasons, Ohio State has had 13 all-region choices, including six first-teamers.
Piper earned a spot on the first team for the second time in as many years. She led the Big Ten in batting and is currently hitting at a .417 clip with team highs in home runs (20), RBI (57), runs scored (49), hits (63), doubles (14), stolen bases (8), slugging percentage (.921) and on-base percentage (.497).
A two-time unanimous first team All-Big Ten and All-Defensive Team selection, Piper’s solo home run at the Big Ten Tournament last weekend was her 20th of the year, setting a program record for single-season round-trippers. With 57 RBI and 49 runs scored thus far, she joins Maddy McIntyre ’16 as the only players to have at least 50 RBI and 40 runs in a season at Ohio State. Against RPI Top-75 teams (22 regular season games), she hit .379 with nine home runs, 19 RBI, 22 runs scored, six doubles and a .909 slugging percentage.
McCombs picked up the first All-Region honor of her career as she has proven to be a threat in the circle and at the plate. The righty ace has 16 wins with a 2.94 ERA and 127 strikeouts over 145.1 innings. In the box, she is batting .338 this season with 34 RBI, 13 home runs, 11 doubles, 21 runs scored and a .706 slugging percentage. Her totals on both sides helped her become a first team All-Big Ten honoree.
The Newark, Ohio native fanned a career-high 12 batters at FAU and tossed five innings of one-run, four-hit, six-strikeout ball with a three-shot dinger to run-rule Michigan, 10-1. McCombs also had the first grand slam of her career and eight strikeouts against Wisconsin.
Clark’s appearance on the second team marks her third straight season being recognized by the NFCA. She is currently third on the team with 12 home runs this season. The second baseman has recorded 39 hits, 43 RBI, 32 runs and nine doubles to secure a second team All-Big Ten nod.
From April 22-May 4, Clark rode a six-game hitting streak that featured a .550 batting average, 11 hits, five home runs, 13 RBI, nine runs scored and an impressive 1.500 slugging percentage. During that stretch, the Buckeyes were 5-1 with all of their wins coming at Buckeye Field. She also had an eight-game streak in which she reached base.
Ray leads Ohio State’s four-person pitching staff in nearly every statistical category, including wins (17), ERA (2.38), innings (150.0), strikeouts (140) and opposing batting average (.196). The RHP struck out a career-high 12 batters versus NIU and tossed a career-best eight innings at Loyola Marymount. Ray also fanned 11 batters over seven innings at CSUN. It is her first time claiming a spot on the All-Region team.