April 5, 2018

Ohio State Headed to Rutgers for B1G Series

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coming off a pair of Big Ten victories last weekend, No. 23/24 Ohio State is back on the road to face Rutgers in a three-game series at the RU Softball Complex, starting with a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 2 p.m. The Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights will close the series on Sunday at noon. All three games will be streamed on BTN Plus/BTN2Go.

SCOUTING REPORT

Rutgers is 17-16 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten action. The Scarlet Knights had their midweek outing with Saint Joseph’s cancelled due to weather but secured a conference series over Penn State, 2-1, last weekend. The squad is hitting .256 with 20 home runs and 25 doubles. Rebecca Hall leads the team with a .385 batting average, 45 hits, 32 RBI, 23 runs and six homers. In the circle, Whitney Jones (8-7) has a 3.00 ERA in 86.1 innings and 31 strikeouts. As a team, the Scarlet Knights own a 3.77 ERA over 228.2 innings with 95 strikeouts.

SERIES HISTORY

The Buckeyes are 11-1 all-time against Rutgers. Ohio State swept the series last season and run-ruled the Scarlet Knight in all three meetings. The Buckeyes outscored their opponent 32-3 while hitting .480 with two outs and scored 13 runs.

BUCKEYE REVIEW

  • Ohio State picked up its first Big Ten series of the season with a pair of wins over Wisconsin last weekend. The Buckeyes are 21-8 overall and 2-4 in Big Ten play.
  • Shelby McCombs hit .667, tallied six hits, six RBI, three runs, two homers, a 1.333 slugging percentage and .700 on base percentage during the series with the Badgers.
  • Shelby McCombs had a two-shot game-winning home run on Friday and knocked her first career grand slam on Sunday against Wisconsin.
  • Lilli Piper (.444) and Bailee Sturgeon (.400) both had four hits against the Badgers over three games. Piper also added two runs and a RBI.
  • Lilli Piper ranks in the top 10 nationally in multiple categories. She is fourth in home runs (13) while standing sixth in slugging percentage (.922), seventh in total bases (95) and ninth in runs per game (1.14). She is also 22nd in RBIs per game (1.21) and 66th on a .417 batting average. Piper currently has 12 games with multiple hits and multiple runs batted in.
  • Three different Buckeyes have picked up Big Ten weekly honors this season. RHP Shelby McCombs and Niki Carver earned the first conference accolades of 2018 after being named pitcher and co-freshman of the week on Feb. 12. Lilli Piper has kept the trend going by being tabbed as the Big Ten Player of the Week twice on Feb. 26 and Mar. 19.
  • Ohio State is second in the Big Ten with 33 home runs and limits opponents to a .196 batting average. The Buckeyes check in at No. 3 in earned run average (2.40) and fielding percentage (.968) while coming in fourth in slugging percentage (.446).
  • In the circle, the 1-2 punch of Shelby McCombs and Morgan Ray have logged nearly every inning this year. The duo has 176 strikeouts over 185.2 innings of work. Ray ranks seventh in the Big Ten with a 1.88 ERA and fifth in strikeouts (101).

ROAD TRIPPIN’

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 11 contests left at Buckeye Field.

EXTRA INNINGS

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 seven 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 29 games, Ohio State has connected on 33 home runs. The Buckeyes have recorded at least one home run in 21 of 29 games and has two games with three homers. Lilli Piper is responsible for 13 of Ohio State’s home runs.

MILESTONE WATCH

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 96 runs and is on track to cross the 100-RBI plateau. Ashley Goodwin is just five hits away from reaching 100 for her career while Taylor White has 97 RBI. RHP Morgan Ray needs three strikeouts to secure 200 Ks.

RANKING NEWS

Ohio State is up one spot to No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and stays at No. 24 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll. The Buckeyes have been receiving votes or ranked in both polls every week thus far.

UP NEXT

Ohio State heads back to Columbus for a doubleheader with Penn State on Wednesday, Apr. 11. Both games will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.