KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A record-setting season came to an end Saturday night when the Ohio State softball team dropped a pair of games to conclude its time in the Knoxville Regional. The Buckeyes fell in their first outing against Tennessee, 12-4, before suffering a 5-3 setback to North Carolina in the nightcap at Sherri P. Lee Stadium. The Scarlet & Gray finished the 2019 campaign with a 35-18 record.
GAME 1: Tennessee 12, Ohio State 4
- The Lady Vols opened the scoring in the first on a wild pitch.
- Lilli Piper and Ashley Prange responded for the Buckeyes in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 advantage. Down 0-2 in the count, Piper drove the ball over the wall in right center before Prange went down the left field line on her first home run in the NCAA Tournament.
- After a scoreless second, Tennessee put up three runs in the third inning with a three-run homer by Cailin Hannon to regain the lead, 4-2.
- RHP Morgan Ray worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth on a looking strikeout.
- Two more runs came across for the Lady Vols in the fifth on a two-RBI single. In the sixth, a RBI single and fielding error let in a pair of runs.
- Ohio State cut the deficit in half, 8-4, in the bottom of the sixth. Emily Clark pushed a single up the middle and clean-up hitter Prange belted a two-run shot off the scoreboard, her second home run of the game.
- Two runs walked in and a two-RBI single followed up during the seventh for the final 12-4 tally.
IN THE CIRCLE
Three Ohio State pitchers spent time in the circle, led by starter Morgan Ray (18-9). In five innings, she allowed six runs (three earned) on six hits but recorded eight strikeouts for the second day in a row. Lauren Rice entered the game in the sixth and gave up two runs (one earned) and three hits. Kat Duvall let in four runs (one earned) on two hits in the remaining two innings.
BY THE STATS
- Emily Clark went 3-for-3 with one run.
- Ashley Prange had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs.
- Lilli Piper had two hits, one run and a RBI.
- Kallie Boren doubled for the first NCAA Tournament hit of her career.
- Claire Nicholson’s single was also her first hit in an NCAA Regional.
GAME 2: North Carolina 5, Ohio State 3
HOW IT HAPPENED
- UNC took a 5-0 lead in the top of the third on an error and a pair of two-RBI singles.
- The Buckeyes joined the scoring in the home half of the inning. Bri Betschel had a leadoff single and facing two outs, Ashley Prange crushed a two-run homer over the left field wall, which cut the deficit to 5-2.
- Lilli Piper and Emily Clark got going in the fifth on back-to-back singles before getting into scoring position on a passed ball. Prange reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases and Niki Carver brought a run in with a RBI single, making it a two-run game, 5-3.
- Ohio State retired the Tar Heels in order in the seventh but could not convert on offense to force extras.
ON THE RUBBER
Morgan Ray (18-10) was charged with the loss after two innings of work. She gave up five runs (four earned) on three hits with three strikeouts. Kat Duvall took over in the circle during the third inning with no outs and tossed five innings of three-hit relief. She kept the Buckeyes in the game as she struck out five and did not allow a run.
- Ohio State caught a season-high three runners stealing.
- Ashley Prange had four hits during the tournament, three of which were home runs.
- Emily Clark batted .556 with five hits and reached safely in 24 straight contests, one shy of her career high.
- Lilli Piper finished the season on a 13-game hitting streak.
- In 11 appearances, Ohio State has a 16-22 mark in the NCAA Tournament.