The Ohio State softball team finished the 2019 campaign with a 35-18 overall record, its eighth straight season with at least 30 wins. During the ride, the Buckeyes achieved many accomplishments as a team and individually.
For the first time since the 2015 season, Ohio State swept its series with No. 22/20 Indiana to open its Big Ten slate. By taking all three games against the Hoosiers, the Buckeyes secured their first sweep of a ranked opponent since Apr. 25-27, 2014 when they bested No. 25 Northwestern.
Head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly picked up her 200th win at the helm for Ohio State when the Buckeyes delivered a 7-0 shutout versus George Mason to open the 2019 season. Schoenly hit another milestone on March 12 when OSU swept its doubleheader at Portland State for win No. 400 of her 13-year career as a head coach.
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) February 8, 2019
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) March 13, 2019
Ohio State first attended the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in 2013 and had its best showing yet as the Buckeyes went undefeated at the tournament for the first time in program history. Out of 28 teams, only three were perfect on the weekend – Ohio State, UCLA and Washington. Through four games, the pitching staff combined for a 0.25 ERA, 28 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP while allowing just one run in 28 innings.
Skylar Hayward and Morgan Ray came together to fan 10 batters on their way to throwing a no-hitter in Ohio State’s 4-0 win over Army Feb. 22. Hayward lasted a career-high five innings while Ray pitched the final two frames. Both right-handed pitchers struck out five Black Knights, a career best for Hayward. It was the first no-no thrown by an OSU pitcher since Apr. 6, 2016.
Rookie outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman earned her first weekly honor on Feb. 25 when she was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week. Coffman’s hot weekend at the plate propelled Ohio State to four straight wins, including three shutouts, as she batted .538 with 10 RBI, seven hits, two home runs, two runs scored and a 1.077 slugging percentage at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Among the tournament leaders, Coffman ranked in the top five in batting average, slugging percentage and total bases while leading the field in RBI.
Morgan Ray is the first pitcher since 2007 to throw multiple no-hitters in a season while wearing Scarlet & Gray with three during her senior campaign. She had a combined no-no with five strikeouts in two innings against Army (Feb. 22). Ray then tossed the first solo no-hitter of her career in game two at Portland State on March 12 by serving up seven innings of six-strikeout ball. The Frenchtown, Mt. native pitched a five-inning, four-strikeout no-hitter to shut out Illinois for her third no-no of the season (Apr. 26). Ray faced the minimum 15 batters and did not allow a base runner until the fifth inning on her only walk of the game.
Lilli Piper and Emily Clark were selected in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, of the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft on Apr. 15. The Cleveland Comets drafted Piper and Clark with the No. 15 and No. 16 overall picks. Two selections in the draft are the most in one year in Ohio State’s program history. The duo joins Sam Marder (‘10) and Alicia Herron (‘12), who were drafted to the then Akron Racers.
Ohio State had a 2-1 walk-off victory in the series finale vs. No. 21/18 Michigan on Apr. 13. The Buckeyes handed the Wolverines their first loss in Big Ten play, snapping their 17-game win streak. Ashley Prange knocked a solo home run to tie the game and force extra innings, setting up Bri Betschel, who hit the game-winning RBI single in the eighth. In the circle, Morgan Ray fanned 10 batters to pick up OSU’s fourth win over a ranked opponent this season.
WALK. IT. OFF. 😲👏
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) April 13, 2019
Bri Betschel’s bases-loaded diving catch in right field was featured at No. 9 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 (Apr. 13). She is the first Buckeye to make SC’s Top 10 since Taylor White on Apr. 27, 2016.
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) April 13, 2019
Lilli Piper was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Apr. 22. She batted .700 and slugged 1.700 with nine runs, seven hits, five RBI, three home runs, seven walks and 17 total bases during Ohio State’s 4-0 week. With the fifth Player of the Week honor of her career, Piper tied for third-most in conference history and Sam Marder ’10 for the most ever by a Buckeye.
On graduation day, Ohio State concluded its Big Ten season with a 17-6 mark to rank fourth in the conference standings after taking down Iowa, 5-0. The team’s 17 wins in conference play is the most under head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly and since the 1994 campaign (18).
Six members of the Ohio State softball team received All-Big Ten laurels. Lilli Piper and Emily Clark earned first team recognition while Bri Betschel, Ashley Prange and Morgan Ray secured spots on the second team. Prange was also an All-Freshman Team selection. Claire Nicholson was placed on the All-Defensive Team and was the Sportsmanship Award recipient. The Buckeyes’ six honorees is the most under head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly during her seven-year tenure.
Ohio State led the Midwest with five players on NFCA All-Region teams. Shortstop Lilli Piper, second baseman Emily Clark and right-handed pitcher Morgan Ray received first team honors while outfielder Bri Betschel and righty pitcher Lauren Rice garnered third team laurels. The Buckeyes’ five all-region choices ties for the most in a single season, matching the mark set in 1994, 2002 and 2017.
For the first time in program history, the Ohio State softball team made its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 11th overall with an at-large bid to the Knoxville Regional. The Buckeyes’ 2019 seniors are the only group to make it to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments and is the ninth all-time winningest class with 140 victories.
For the first time in program history, we’re going back-to back-to back-to back!
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) May 13, 2019
Seniors Lilli Piper and Emily Clark concluded their time in Scarlet & Gray by earning All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) on May 29. Piper received second team honors, her third recognition in as many years, while Clark secured a spot on the third team for the first All-American laurels of her career. Piper and Clark are the 12th and 13th All-Americans, respectively, in program history. It is the first time since 2009 that a pair of Buckeyes have been named All-Americans in the same year. Piper joins Sam Marder ’10 as the only players to achieve All-American status three times during their Buckeye careers.
For the second year in a row, the Ohio State had 13 student-athletes receive Academic All-Big Ten accolades, which tied for the most amongst the 14 conference softball programs. Nineteen Buckeyes also earned OSU Scholar-Athlete honors this spring for having a 3.0 or better grade point averages for the 2018-19 academic year.