COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State clinched its series against Illinois behind a 9-2 victory at Buckeye Field on Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes pushed their win streak to seven games, improving to 31-14 on the year and 14-5 in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini drop to 27-21 overall and 6-13 in conference play.
- Niki Carver had the first hit for OSU on a single through the right side. Up next, Kaitlyn Coffman doubled to left center and a fielding miscue gave Carver time to sprint home. The hits continued as Claire Nicholson drove a RBI back to left center for a 2-0 lead.
- A walk, wild pitch and grounder got Lilli Piper to third base. Ashley Prange brought her in with a RBI single. After a fielder’s choice and single put a pair on, Coffman singled to left field and the runners moved up a base on the throw while Meg Otte, a pinch runner, scored. In the following at-bat, Nicholson reached on an error by the third baseman, giving Carver the chance to come in.
- Illinois got on the board thanks to a solo home run by Stephanie Abello in the fourth.
- The Fighting Illini cut the deficit to 5-2 in the sixth on a bases-loaded ground out.
- Singles from Spencer Sansom and Bri Betschel with Piper’s walk had the bags stacked in the sixth. With a 2-2 count, Emily Clark cleared the bases on grand slam, her second this year.
IN THE CIRCLE
Righty Lauren Rice notched her 15th win in five innings of work. She allowed seven hits and two runs with one strikeout. RHP Morgan Ray earned her third save of the season with two strikeouts in two innings.
- Niki Carver was 2-for-2 with two runs and two walks.
- Kaitlyn Coffman posted two hits, one run and one RBI.
- Lilli Piper tallied two runs and one hit.
- Eight Buckeyes had a hit.
- Bri Betschel extended her hitting streak to 11 games.
- Emily Clark has gotten on base in the last 16 outings.
Ohio State is going for the series sweep over Illinois on Sunday at 1 p.m.