May 3, 2017
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioState_SB) May 3, 2017
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A one-hit shutout from sophomore Morgan Ray and some timely two-out hitting in the first inning made the 2017 home finale for the Ohio State softball team a winning one, as the Buckeyes topped Kent State, 3-0, on Wednesday night. The win improves Ohio State’s record to 31-14 while Kent State is now 24-25.
THE SHORT STORY
Ray, coming off a two-hit shutout on Saturday against Iowa, allowed just a first-inning infield single and struck out five to pick up her fifth win of the year. At the plate, Taylor White plated two runs with a two-out double and Emily Clark drove home the game’s third run with a RBI single in the fifth inning.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
• In the Ohio State half of the first inning, Alex Bayne and Lilli Piper reached base consecutively on a hit by pitch and single. After Clark was retired on a pop up to second base, White picked up her 34th and 35th RBI of the season on a double to left center that rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Bayne and Piper to score easily.
• Despite getting runners on base in the second, third and fourth innings, the score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth. A Piper single down the left field line and stolen base put her in scoring position for Clark, who drove her in with a single to center field. On her way home, Piper avoided the tag of Kent State catcher Vanessa Vodan. For Piper, it was her 41st run scored of the season, making her the first member of this year’s 40/40 club.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
• Kent State left five runners on base in the game, none bigger than in the fourth inning when a pair of walks put two runners on with two outs for pinch hitter Ronnie Ladines, who grounded in to a fielder’s choice for the final out of the inning.
• Before the Buckeyes had a chance to come to bat for the first time, the Golden Flashes threatened by advancing a runner to third with two outs. Emily Dobbin started the game with KSU’s only hit, an infield single to shortstop. She was sacrificed to second and then went to third on a fly out to center and White tracked down. The inning ended with Allie Luther’s ground out to shortstop.
• Kent State’s best hitter, Maddy Grimm (16 home runs), led off the top of the seventh as a pinch hitter, but Ray sat her down on three straight pitchers, finishing it off with a swinging strikeout. Paige McCray then grounded back to Ray and Vodan struck out looking for the final out of the game.
RAY’S RECENT STRETCH
With tonight’s one-hit gem, Ray lowered her season ERA to 1.77 over 55.1 innings with 47 strikeouts. She’s thrown 15.1 consecutive shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and just three hits allowed. Overall, her last six appearances are as follows:
• 4/21 at Michigan State: 1.2 IP, 0 hits allowed, 0 runs, 1 BB, 1 K
• 4/22 at Michigan State: 1.1 IP, 2 hits allowed, 1 run, 1 BB, 2 Ks
• 4/23 at Michigan State: 3.1 IP, 3 hits allowed, 2 runs, 2 BB, 2 Ks
• 4/28 vs. Iowa: 1.1 IP, SV, 0 hits allowed, 0 runs, 0 BB, 2 Ks
• 4/29 vs. Iowa: 7.0 IP, 2 hits allowed, 0 runs, 3 BB, 6 Ks
• 5/3 vs. Kent State: 7.0 IP, 1 hit allowed, 0 runs, 4 BB, 5 Ks
STREAKS AND SNIPITS
• Ohio State finished its home schedule with a 10-4 record, the fifth consecutive season that the Buckeyes have reached double digits for victories at Buckeye Field. In her five season, head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly is 55-25 at home (.687).
• In 14 home dates, Ohio State averaged 1,015 fans/game, which nearly doubles the pervious single season record set in 2016. Seven of the 14 crowds saw over 1,000 fans, which is also a school record.
• In addition to a pair of hits from Piper, junior Maddie Marotti also went 2-for-3 with two singles and improved her season average to .305. It was her fifth multi-hit game of the year.
• Wednesday was the 25th time this season Ohio State pitchers have held an opponent to two runs or less. Ohio State is 24-1 in those games.
• Piper’s multi-hit game was her 20th of the season.
• Two of the three runs driven in on Wednesday came with two outs. For the season, Buckeyes batters have driven in 125 of their 236 runs with two outs (52.9 percent).
• The Buckeyes’ 2.28 team ERA and 12 shutouts are both third best in the Big Ten Conference.
• With another stolen base on the night, Ohio State has successfully swiped 52 in 55 attempts, good for 94.5 percent.
Ohio State heads to Champaign, Ill. for a regular season-ending three game set with Illinois beginning on Friday at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET). The Illini and Buckeyes, who haven’t played since the 2013 season, are currently separated by a half game for third place in the Big Ten standings.