April 21, 2017
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – A late game rally by No. 25 Ohio State came up just short in Friday’s series-opener against Michigan State, as the Buckeyes scored twice in the sixth inning but could not push across the tying or go-ahead runs in the seventh in a 3-2 loss to the Spartans at Secchia Stadium. The Buckeyes falls to 27-12 overall (10-5 B1G) while Michigan State is 23-17 (6-9 B1G).
THE SHORT STORY
Trailing 3-0 entering the sixth inning, the Buckeyes scored twice on four hits in the top of the inning and received a two-out single from Lilli Piper in the top of the seventh; however, MSU’s Jordan Watson got Taylor White to pop out for the final out of the game as the Spartans hung on for the hard-fought victory. Michigan State scored once in the fourth and twice more in the fifth to build its 3-0 advantage.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
• After a scoreless for three innings and a half, Michigan State started out the bottom of the fourth with a single by Sarah Gutknecht, a walk by Kelcey Carrasco and sacrifice but from Kelly Zackrison that moved both runners up. Lindsey Besson followed with a sacrifice fly, making the score 1-0, but pitcher Shelby Hursh was able to get a line out from Melanie Baccay that ended the half inning.
• The Spartans put to important insurance runs in the board in the bottom of the fifth via a McKenzie Long RBI single up the middle that scored Lea Foerster and Kaitlyn Eveland’s run-scoring single to right field that plated Long to make it 3-0. With just one out, the Buckeyes turned to Morgan Ray in the circle, and she responded. Ray recorded two outs via a 9-3 putout and 1-3 groundout that kept the Scarlet and Gray within striking distance.
• A two-run, four-hit top of the sixth drew Ohio State to within one, 3-2, and was highlighted by A Taylor White RBI single to right field, which scored Alex Bayne, who had walked to start the inning. Two batters later, Maddie Marotti picked up her second hit of the afternoon with a screamer to third base that plated Becca Gavin, who had reached in a fielder’s choice. Other Buckeye to record hits in the inning were Piper and Alex Vargas.
IN THE CIRCLE
Hursh went 4.1 innings against one of the top-scoring teams in the conference and allowed just four hits and three runs while striking out four. Ray came on in relief and didn’t allow a hit over 1.2 innings while striking out one. In the last 15 games, Ray has a 1.14 ERA in 12.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and a .222 batting average against.
AT THE PLATE
With a 2-for-4 performance, Piper notched her team-best 18th multi hit game of the season. Marotti also went 2-for-3 to raise her average to .412 over the last 15 games. Bayne, Goodwin, Vargas and White had the other hits for the Scarlet and Gray.
STREKS AND SNIPITS
• Hursh and Ray held the Spartans without an extra base hit on the afternoon.
• Both teams left eight runners on base.
• Ohio State was able to get the leadoff runner on in three of seven innings.
• Hursh and Ray were extra stingy with runners on base, holding the Spartans to just 2-for-14 (.143) in that situation.
• Gavin has now reached base in 10 straight games.
Ohio State and Michigan State continue their series tomorrow with a 1 p.m. contest in East Lansing. The game will be steamed live on BTN Plus and a link to live stats can be found on the schedule tab of OhioStateBuckeyes.com.