PHOENIX, Ariz. – Ohio State dropped a hard-fought 4-3 eight-inning decision to Grand Canyon to close the GCU Invite on Sunday afternoon. The Buckeyes fall to 15-9 on the year while the Lopes move to 17-13.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Grand Canyon got going early in the bottom of the first on a RBI double and two-run homer, taking a 3-0 lead.
With GCU on the board, Kat Duvall replaced Lauren Rice in the circle. Duvall took a Lope down swinging and fielded a groundout to get the Buckeyes out of the inning.
The Lopes had a few miscues in the fourth as Lilli Piper reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, a pitch hit Emily Clark and Caver reached on a fielder’s choice while a fielding error allowed Piper to get to third safely to stack the bases. Claire Nicholson pushed a single through the left side to score Piper and chip away at the deficit, 3-1.
The Buckeyes showed their resilience in the top of the seventh, tying the game at 3-3. Bri Betschel sent the ball under the pitchers’ glove for a single before Summer Constable entered as a pinch runner. Up next, Meg Otte went right back at the pitcher to get on base. Piper smoked a ball to left field and Kallie Boren singled to right field to plate two runs and lock it up.
Ohio State forced extra innings but the Lopes had a walk-off single in the eighth to close the game, 4-3.
RHP Duvall (1-3) entered the game in the first inning and pitched 6.2 innings. She gave up six hits and a run with five strikeouts. Lauren Rice earned the start, lasting 0.1 innings in which she allowed three runs (two earned) and two hits.
Ohio State opens its home slate and Big Ten action when it hosts Indiana for a three-game series Mar. 22-24 at Buckeye Field.