COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team split its doubleheader against No. 21/18 Michigan on Saturday evening at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes fell 6-2 in the first game before clawing their way back for a 2-1 eight-inning walk-off victory to snap the Wolverines’ 17-game win streak. Ohio State (25-14, 9-5 B1G) handed Michigan (29-11, 11-1 B1G) its first Big Ten loss of the season.
GAME 1: Michigan 6, Ohio State 2
- Lilli Piper and Emily Clark got the offense going on back-to-back home runs over left field for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. It was the second time this season the duo connected on consecutive home runs.
- The Wolverines went ahead in the second, 3-2, with two RBI singles and a RBI sacrifice bunt.
- Two more runs came across for Michigan in the third on Alex Sobczak’s two-run homer.
- Ohio State threatened in the bottom of the frame after a pair of walks and double by Clark stacked the bags but it could not convert.
- The Wolverines scored the final run of the game on a RBI single.
IN THE CIRCLE
RHP Lauren Rice (14-4) picked up the loss after allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits with one strikeout in 6.1 innings. Kat Duvall came in for 0.2 innings and struck out one Wolverine.
GAME 2: Ohio State 2, Michigan 1 (8)
COMING UP CLUTCH
- Staring down two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Ashley Prange showed off her clutch hitting by drilling a solo home run over right field to tie the game at 1-1 and force extra innings.
- Bri Betschel beat a 0-2 count in the eighth to bring in the game-winning run with a single to left field.
- It was a pitcher’s duel that righty ace Morgan Ray (10-6) came out on top of as she tied her career high after tossing eight innings. She let in one run and five hits but responded by striking out a season-high 10 batters.
- A bases-loaded walk in the second put the Wolverines on the board, 1-0. Betschel robbed Michigan of potential runs by laying out in right field on an impressive catch.
- Ohio State retired six straight Wolverines between the third and fourth innings, featuring three strikeouts from Ray.
- Prange belted her fifth home run of the season, locking the score at 1-1 in the seventh.
- After sitting the Wolverines down in order in the eighth, the first pitch of the home half hit Niki Carver. Claire Nicholson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to second base before Andi Farrah singled, putting runners on the corners.
- Betschel fouled off two pitches before connecting on the walk-off RBI single down the left field line.
- Morgan Ray on her performance in the circle: “I really wanted to keep our team in the game today. I knew I needed to bounce back and I wanted us to get at least one win this weekend. I tried to do my job and keep us in the game.”
- Morgan Ray on how it felt to beat Michigan as a senior in the series finale: “It was awesome! Every inning I tried to keep that in perspective and just think about how this was our last time playing them at home. I just tried to take it pitch by pitch and do the best I could for my team.”
- Ashley Prange on how she felt during her final at-bat: “I wasn’t nervous so I was trying to figure out why I wasn’t nervous. I just wanted to see a good pitch and put a good barrel on it.”
- Ashley Prange on how it felt to hit the game-tying home run: “It was one of the best feelings of my life. It’s such a huge moment, especially at Ohio State. This rivalry means so much to everyone here and it’s just awesome, unreal.
- Bri Betschel on how it felt to have the walk-off as a senior: “Heading into every game, I felt like we could beat them, we’re good enough. Going into my last at-bat, I told myself I had to give everything I had. I was swinging at everything and telling myself I’m going to get this done, I gotta do it. Just to be able to put the ball in play and win it for my team feels awesome.”
- Bri Betschel extended her hitting streak to five games and had her 10th multi-hit outing.
- Emily Clark has reached base safely in the last 10 contests.
- For the third straight year, Ohio State won its series finale against Michigan.
- It is the fourth victory over a ranked opponent for the Buckeyes this season.
Ohio State closes its four-game homestand against in-state foe Ohio at 6 p.m. Tuesday.