PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Ohio State softball team drove in a season-high 12 runs to cruise past Lehigh, 12-3, in six innings before being edged by Grand Canyon, 8-7, on Saturday at the GCU Invite. The Buckeyes are 15-8 overall while the Mountain Hawks drop to 6-12 and the Lopes improve to 15-13.
GAME 1: Ohio State 12, Lehigh 3
In the opening frame, Lilli Piper had the first hit of the day on a single through the left side. Kallie Boren drew a walk and a pitch hit Niki Carver to load the bases. In the six-spot, Kaitlyn Coffman hit a hard single through the right side to open the scoring.
The Buckeyes put up another run in the second. Summer Constable walked and stole second to get in scoring position. Piper stepped up and pushed the ball under the second baseman’s glove to right center, giving Constable time to come home.
Ohio State’s defense was put on display when Piper picked up the ball and stepped on second before throwing to Carver at first base for inning-ending double plays in the first and second.
With two outs in the third, Coffman singled through the left side and Meg Otte brought her in with a RBI double to left field. Up next, Claire Nicholson knocked a two-run homer over the left field wall, her second of the season.
Lehigh got on the board in the home half with a RBI sacrifice fly. A two-RBI double in the fifth cut the lead to 5-3.
Seven runs came across home plate for the Buckeyes in the sixth. Nicholson drew a walk and Ashley Prange reached on a fielding error by the first baseman. Carley Gaskill’s sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position and Piper was intentionally walked to stack the bags. Emily Clark swung on the first pitch and sent it up the middle for a two-RBI single. Boren kept things going with a two-RBI double down the right field line. Spencer Sansom walked before Coffman belted a three-run homer into the street.
RHP Lauren Rice (7-1) picked up the win behind 4.2 innings of six-hit, three-run, one-strikeout ball. Kat Duvall earned the first save of her career after not giving up a hit and striking out one in 1.1 innings of relief.
Game 2: Grand Canyon 8, Ohio State 7
Ohio State went up 2-0 in the top of the third on back-to-back RBI doubles by Emily Clark and Kallie Boren.
The scoring continued in the fourth as the Buckeyes posted four runs on five hits. Claire Nicholson reached on a fielder’s choice before Summer Constable entered to run for her. A grounder moved her over to second before Bri Betschel laid down a fantastic bunt and stole second. With two outs, Meg Otte and Piper had consecutive RBI singles to bring runs in. A steal put Piper at second base with Otte waiting on third and Clark singled up the middle to send them both home.
Grand Canyon responded in the bottom of the fourth with five runs. A two-RBI double and three-RBI double got the job done and cut the deficit to one, 6-5.
Nicholson tacked on a run in the fifth after sprinting home and going under the tag at the plate off Betschel’s single.
The Lopes took control in the home half with an 8-7 edge, scoring on a passed ball and two-RBI single.
Righty Morgan Ray (7-4) took the loss for OSU after letting in five hits and eight runs (one earned) with six strikeouts in five innings. Kat Duvall stepped into the circle in the bottom of the sixth and tossed one inning.
Ohio State concludes its 10-day road trip with a rematch against Grand Canyon tomorrow at 10 a.m. MT/1 p.m. ET.