April 19, 2018

Ohio State, Michigan State Meet for B1G Series

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes are getting back into Big Ten play when they welcome the Spartans to Buckeye Field for a three-game series beginning on Friday at 6 p.m. Ohio State and Michigan State are also slated to meet on Saturday at 2 p.m. followed by the series finale on Sunday at noon. Sunday’s contest will air live on the Big Ten Network.

SCOUTING REPORT

Michigan State is bringing a 16-21 overall record and 4-8 Big Ten mark to Columbus. The Spartans are riding a two-game win streak after taking the series from Penn State last weekend. MSU is hitting .255 with 44 doubles and 22 home runs. The pitching staff has put in 240.1 innings of work to claim a 3.15 ERA and 230 strikeouts. Individually, Lea Forester tops the team batting .349 with 38 hits, 17 RBI, 12 doubles and seven home runs. In the circle, Kristina Zalewski (9-9) has a 1.92 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 105.2 innings.

SERIES HISTORY

The Buckeyes own a 68-45 advantage in the all-time series with the Spartans. The teams split four games last season. MSU won two of three in a series in East Lansing, but Ohio State took game three and bested the Spartans, 4-3, in the Big Ten semifinals.

BUCKEYE REVIEW

  • Ohio State is hoping to get back into the win column after dropping its last three games. The squad has a 26-11 mark on the season and is 7-6 in conference matchups.
  • Lilli Piper has successfully gotten on base in the last 12 games. Over the last nine outings, she has drawn a walk 11 times, three of which have been intentional.
  • Ashley Goodwin went 4-for-6 during two contests at Northwestern for a .667 batting average. She drove in three runs, hit a three-run homer, tallied a pair of runs and had a 1.167 slugging percentage.
  • Bailee Sturgeon had a 10-game hitting streak from Mar. 25 through Apr. 13. During that span, she batted .429, had 15 hits, eight runs scored, three RBI and a .514 slugging percentage. The streak was highlighted by her first career triple versus Penn State Apr. 11.
  • Taylor White has started to come into her own over the last 11 games, hitting .395 with 15 hits, 12 runs, eight RBI, four doubles, two home runs and a triple. She also has a .711 slugging percentage and .478 on-base percentage.
  • Lilli Piper appears in multiple categories in the national rankings. She stands third in home runs per game (0.44), fifth in slugging percentage (.949) and home runs (16), seventh in total bases (112) and eighth in RBIs per game (1.28). Her 46 RBI and 1.03 runs per game rank 18th and 19th, respectively.
  • Through 13 Big Ten contests, Shelby McCombs is batting .421 with 16 hits, 10 RBI, nine runs, five homers, two doubles and a .868 slugging percentage. Bailee Sturgeon has accumulated 16 hits, nine runs, three RBI, a triple, double and a .356 batting average. Taylor White is hitting .341 on 15 hits, 12 runs, eight RBI, four doubles, two home runs and a triple.
  • Ohio State leads the conference with 47 home runs while coming in second in opposing batting average (.216). The Buckeyes are third in slugging percentage (.479) and fielding percentage (.964). The team has a 2.83 ERA, has roped 58 doubles while the pitching staff has struck out 232 batters, all of which ranks fifth. Nationally, Ohio State is third in home runs per game (1.31) and 16th in doubles per game at 1.58. The squad also has a .485 slugging percentage (21st).
  • In the circle, the 1-2 punch of Shelby McCombs and Morgan Ray have logged nearly every inning this year. The duo has 215 strikeouts over 229.2 innings of work. Ray ranks fourth in the Big Ten by limiting opponents to a .195 batting average, 9th in ERA (2.31) and fifth in strikeouts (121). McCombs stands 14th with a 3.19 ERA, eighth in opposing batting average (.225) and ninth in strikeouts (94).
  • The Buckeyes connected on five home runs in the series finale against Rutgers Apr. 8 to tie the program record for most home runs in a game, which last happened on Apr. 16, 2017 vs. Indiana. It was the fourth time in program history that the Buckeyes hit five homers in a contest.
  • Ohio State has reached its season high in hits (13) four times and has 10 games in double figures. The team has tallied double-digit hits in four of the last eight games.

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 as a whole, the Buckeyes went 12-3 in neutral site games and are 10-6 in away matchups.

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 eight 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 37 games, Ohio State has connected on 47 home runs. The Buckeyes have recorded at least one home run in 28 of 37 games, has four games with three homers and one contest with five dingers. Lilli Piper is responsible for 16 of Ohio State’s home runs.

CAREER NUMBERS

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 and picked her 100th RBI against Rutgers on Apr. 8. Emily Clark has surpassed a pair of milestones as she recorded the 100th hit of her career against Northern Illinois on Feb. 10 and notched her 100th RBI on a two-run homer vs. Penn State Apr 11. Morgan Ray secured her 200th strikeout on Apr. 6 at Rutgers. Ashley Goodwin picked up her 100th hit on a two-shot home run vs. Penn State. Piper has driven in 99 runs during her two years in Scarlet & Gray.

RPI UPDATE

Ohio State is 32nd in the latest RPI released on Monday. The Buckeyes are 8-5 vs. teams ranked in the Top 50 and owns 15 wins against Top 100 teams. It has already played 13 games against Top 50 opponents and has four remaining on the schedule (three vs. Michigan and one vs. Pittsburgh).

UP NEXT

Ohio State continues its homestand when it hosts a three-game series against Maryland Apr. 27-Apr. 29.