April 25, 2019

Ohio State Hosts Illinois to Close Home Slate

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RELATED INFO

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team will play in front of its home crowd at Buckeye Field for the final time this season when Illinois comes to town this weekend. The Buckeyes open the three-game set on Friday at 6 p.m. and picks play back up on Saturday at 2 p.m. The series finale takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday. All of the games will be streamed on BTN Plus/BTN2Go. Ohio State will celebrate its six seniors following Sunday’s contest.

WEEKLY BASICS

Ohio State vs. Illinois | April 26 | 6 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Stream
Ohio State vs. Illinois | April 27 | 2 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Stream
Ohio State vs. Illinois | April 28 | 1 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Stream

PROMOTIONS

Friday – Free popcorn for the first 100 youth, parking advisory

Saturday – Military and First Responders Appreciation, Ohio State puzzles for the first 100 youth, parking advisory

Sunday – Senior Day postgame recognition, Ohio State folders for first 100 youth

Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes

SCOUTING REPORT

Illinois is on a five-game skid after falling to Michigan over the weekend and Northwestern on Tuesday. The Illini top the conference in batting average (.318) and hits (407) while ranking second in runs scored (268) and doubles (83). Individually, Bella Loya is hitting .411 and leads the Big Ten with 46 RBI. Sydney Sickels has a 17-11 record in 36 appearances in the circle. She has a team-best 3.25 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 140 innings.

SERIES HISTORY

The Buckeyes and Fighting Illini have not faced each other since the 2017 season when Ohio State took the series, 2-1, in Champaign. OSU holds a 20-15 lead in the all-time series versus Illinois.

SENIOR SALUTE

Bri Betschel | Anaheim, Calif. | Major: Human Development and Family Science

  • Played in 179 games, making 126 starts.
  • Has tallied 100 hits and scored 66 runs.
  • Featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Apr. 13 for her bases-loaded diving catch in right field.

Megan Choinacky | Greenwood, Ind. | Major: Pharmaceutical Science

  • Appeared in 64 games for OSU.
  • Received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award as a junior.
  • Two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Emily Clark | Prospect, Ohio | Major: Sport Industry

  • Started 193 games in 198 appearances.
  • Three-time All-NFCA Midwest Region honoree.
  • Drafted to the Cleveland Comets as the No. 16 pick in the National Pro Fastpitch Draft.

Kat Duvall | Seals Beach, Calif. | Major: Integrated Language Arts/English Education

  • Made 43 appearances in the circle.
  • Pitched her first-ever complete game this season against North Florida and struck out a career-high 10 batters.
  • Four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Lilli Piper | Norton, Ohio | Major: Sport Industry

  • Started all 148 games she’s played in.
  • Two-time All-American.
  • Selected by the Cleveland Comets with the No. 15 pick in the National Pro Fastpitch Draft.

Morgan Ray | Frenchtown, Mt. | Major: Health Sciences

  • Pitched in 119 games with 62 starts.
  • Threw two no-hitters this season, including her first solo no-no with six strikeouts against Portland State.
  • Fanned a career-high 13 batters in Ohio State’s series opener at Michigan State.
  • Four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

BUCKEYE BREAKDOWN

  • Ohio State extended its win streak to five games by sweeping Michigan State for the second straight year. The team is 29-14 overall and 12-5 in Big Ten matchups.
  • Lilli Piper was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. Piper batted .700 and slugged 1.700 with nine runs, seven hits, five RBI, three home runs, seven walks and 17 total bases during OSU’s 4-0 week.
  • With the fifth Player of the Week honor of her career, Piper ties for third-most in conference history and Sam Marder ’10 for the most ever by a Buckeye.
  • Ohio State’s seniors – Bri Betschel, Megan Choinacky, Emily Clark, Kat Duvall, Lilli Piper and Morgan Ray – are responsible for 134 Buckeye victories over the past four seasons, including 54 Big Ten wins. They are the 10th all-time winningest senior class in program history with six games remaining in the regular season.
  • Ohio State checked in at No. 41 in this week’s NCAA RPI. Overall, the Big Ten came in with the fourth-best conference RPI.
  • Morgan Ray is second in the Big Ten in opposing batting average with a .169 clip. She also ranks seventh behind a 2.09 ERA and eighth with 144 strikeouts.
  • Emily Clark ranks in the top 12 of multiple categories in the conference, including batting average (.378), slugging percentage (.711), on-base percentage (.460), hits (51), total bases (96), RBI (43), doubles (14) and home runs (9).
  • Lilli Piper joins Clark in the Big Ten rankings – .416 batting average (3rd), 16 stolen bases (7th), .509 on-base percentage (3rd), 57 hits (t-6th), 90 total bases (8th), 26 walks (9th) and 41 runs scored (t-6th).
  • Claire Nicholson is making her mark as Ohio State’s starting catcher and has caught 17 stealing, the best mark in the Big Ten.
  • Lilli Piper paces the conference with 122 assists and stands third in fielding double plays (13). In Big Ten games only, she has 30 hits (1st) and is batting .556 (1st) with a .647 on-base percentage (1st) and .889 slugging rate (2nd).
  • Defensively, the Buckeyes have caught 18 stealing (1st) and fielded 23 double plays (2nd).
  • Ohio State is 12-4 when scoring in the first inning and 20-0 when holding opponents to two runs or less.
  • The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 223-121.

ROOTS IN CHAMPAIGN

Assistant coach Jenna Hall played softball at Illinois from 2003-06. She will be the first member of the program to be inducted into the UI Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 20. Hall was a four-time first team All-Big Ten selection and set nearly every hitting record during her career. She still owns the single-season batting average record at .481.

PRO BUCKS

Seniors 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 and Alicia Herron, who were drafted to the then Akron Racers in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

SWING FOR THE FENCE

The Buckeyes have connected on 46 home runs so far this season. Ohio State has at least one homer in 26 games, including three grand slams. The underclassmen are responsible for 30 home runs.

EYEING THE RECORD BOOK

Ohio State Career Records Standings  
TotalsRank
Lilli Piper.420 batting avg.2nd
47 home runs3rd
151 runs 6th
143 RBI7th
40 stolen bases10th
Emily Clark169 RBI3rd
40 home runs5th
42 doubles5th
81 walks8th
Morgan Ray44 wins5th
414 strikeouts6th
455.1 IP10th

UP NEXT

The Buckeyes take their final trip of the regular season next weekend to Iowa May 3-5.