April 10, 2018

Buckeyes Host Penn State for Midweek Doubleheader


COLUMBUS, Ohio – After picking up its first Big Ten series sweep of the season, No. 22 Ohio State returns to Buckeye Field to host Penn State in a midweek doubleheader Wednesday, live on the Big Ten Network. First pitch of the evening is set for 5:02 p.m.


Penn State is 6-26 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are on a three-game skid after being swept by Michigan last weekend. The team is hitting .219 with 30 doubles and 11 home runs. Tori Dubois tops the squad with a .300 batting average, 30 hits, 19 RBI, 14 runs and five homers. PSU has relied heavily on a pair of pitchers this season and has a team ERA of 5.34 in 204.1 innings. Jessica Cummings has a 4.71 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 99.2 innings of work.


Ohio State leads the series with Penn State, 54-32. The two teams met in a doubleheader a season ago and split the results. The Nittany Lions took the first game, 2-1, and the Buckeyes rebounded for a 10-7 win in the nightcap.


  • Ohio State improved to 24-8 (5-4 B1G) as it swept Rutgers for the third straight year over a weekend that featured 36 hits, 28 runs, 25 RBI and nine home runs in three games.
  • Lilli Piper was tabbed as the Big Ten Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday. She had a .667 batting average, six hits, three runs, three homers and nine RBI. She also had an outstanding 1.778 slugging percentage, .750 on-base percentage, 1.000 fielding percentage, 16 total bases and four extra-base hits. Piper had a three-run dinger on Friday and a pair of two-run homers on Sunday.
  • The Buckeyes connected on five home runs in the series finale against Rutgers 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.
  • Over three games at Rutgers, five Buckeyes hit .400 or better. Lilli Piper topped the team at a .667 clip, followed by Taylor White (.545), Bri Betschel (.500), Bailee Sturgeon (.455) and Shelby McCombs (.400).
  • Taylor White has started to come into her own over the last six games, hitting .429 with nine runs, nine hits, six RBI, three doubles, two home runs and a .875 slugging percentage.
  • Ohio State has reached its season high in hits (13) four times and has nine games in double figures. The team has tallied double-digit hits in the last three games.
  • Through nine Big Ten contests, Lilli Piper is hitting .393 with 11 hits, 11 RBI, four home runs and a .929 slugging percentage. Shelby McCombs is close behind thanks to a .385 batting average. She also has a .769 slugging percentage, 10 hits, seven RBI, six runs and three home runs. Bailee Sturgeon has accumulated 11 hits, six runs and a 1.000 fielding percentage in conference play.
  • Lilli Piper appears in multiple categories in the national rankings. She leads the country in home runs per game (0.50) and checks in second with 111 total bases. The junior is third in RBIs per game (1.38), fourth in home runs (16), fifth in slugging percentage (.991) and eighth in runs per game (1.13). Piper has 44 RBI for 13thwhile standing 30thin batting average (.438) and doubles (12).
  • Ohio State leads the Big Ten with 42 home runs while coming in second in opposing batting average (.200). The Buckeyes stand third in ERA (2.40), fielding percentage (.970) and slugging percentage (.478). The team has roped 54 doubles while the pitching staff has struck out 207 batters, both totals ranks fourth. Nationally, Ohio State is second in home runs per game (1.31) and 17th in doubles per game at 1.69.
  • In the circle, the 1-2 punch of Shelby McCombs and Morgan Ray have logged nearly every inning this year. The duo has 193 strikeouts over 204.2 innings of work. Ray ranks second in the Big Ten by limiting opponents to a .182 batting average, eighth in ERA (1.99) and fifth in strikeouts (113). McCombs stands 12th with a 2.69 ERA, seventh in opposing batting average (.207) and 11th in strikeouts (80).


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 10-4 in away matchups.


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.


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.


Through 32 games, Ohio State has connected on 42 home runs. The Buckeyes have recorded at least one home run in 24 of 32 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.


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 already surpassed one milestone as she recorded the 100th hit of her career against Northern Illinois on Feb. 10. Morgan Ray secured her 200th strikeout on Apr. 6 at Rutgers. Piper and Clark have driven in 97 and 98 runs, respectively. Ashley Goodwin is just one hit away from reaching 100 for her career.


Ohio State is up to No. 22 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll. The Buckeyes have been receiving votes or ranked in both polls every week thus far.


The Scarlet & Gray travels to Northwestern to play three games this weekend Apr. 13-15. Ohio State opens the series Friday on the Big Ten Network at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Buckeyes are back in action Saturday at 2 p.m. before the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.