April 23, 2017
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – No. 25 Ohio State scored six runs over the final two innings and erased a two-run deficit for a 6-2 come-from-behind victory in the series finale over Michigan State on Sunday in East Lansing. The Buckeyes improve to 28-13 overall, 11-6 in the Big Ten while the Spartans are 24-18, 7-10.
THE SHORT STORY
A pair of two-run home runs from Lilli Piper and a key go-ahead two-run, two-out double by Becca Gavin in the sixth inning propelled the Scarlet and Gray after it fell behind 2-0 after four innings. Ohio State scored four times in the sixth and twice more in the seventh and Shelby Hursh held MSU without a hit over the final 3.2 innings.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
• Michigan State scored first for the third straight game in the series, getting a double from Kaitlyn Eveland to lead off the top of the second and then pushing her around on a Kelcey Carrasco single to right field (Eveland had been sacrificed to third by Sarah Gutknecht). A fielder’s choice and groundout ended the threat.
• The Spartans pushed their advantage to 2-0 in the bottom of fourth thanks to a pair of walks and RBI single through the right side by Carrasco, her second RBI of the game. Shelby Hursh then came on to relieve Morgan Ray and retired the next two batters on a foul out to first and inning-ending strikeout.
• The Buckeyes took the lead for good in the top of the sixth when they put four runs on the board. Taylor White started it when she reached on an error and was awarded second base because of an illegal pitch. After Alex Bayne made the first out of the inning on a pop out, Piper smacked a two-run game-tying home run over the left field fence that knotted the score at 2-2. Following back to back walks issue to Ashley Goodwin and Anna Kirk, Becca Gavin delivered to key hit of the game, a two-run double down the left field line to put the Scarlet and Gray ahead for good, 4-2.
• Piper wasn’t done offensively when she came to bat in the top of the seventh, launching a no-doubter of a home run to left center that gave the Buckeyes plenty of cushion at 6-2. It was Piper’s team-leading 14th round-tripper of the year. The inning was extended thanks to a key two-out triple by Bayne, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
• Immediately after taking a 4-2 lead, Hursh worked an efficient bottom of the sixth, retiring the first two batters – Lea Foerester and Eveland – on a pop out and fly out, respectively. After a walk and passed ball, Hursh stranded the runner in scoring position by striking out Kelcey Carrasco looking on a 2-2 pitch.
• Michigan State put the first runner on in the bottom of the seventh, as Kelly Zackrison worked a four-pitch walk. Hursh rebounded, however, and got pinch hitter Jordan Davis to strikeout, induced a fielder’s choice ground ball at second and got Ebonee Echols to pop out to third for the final out.
• With a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, MSU put its lead-off batter on but Echols lined in to a 6-3 double play and Piper snagged a well-hit liner back to her at shortstop to end the threat.
IN THE CIRCLE
Ray started her fifth game of the season and allowed three hits of 3.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts and two walks. Hursh allowed just two base runners in her 3.2 innings of action.
STARS OF THE GAME
Piper: 3-for-4, two HRs, four RBI
Gavin: 1-for-3, go-ahead two-run double
Bayne: 2-for-4, triple, single, one run scored
Hursh: 3.2 IP, zero hits allowed, three Ks
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
• The Buckeyes handed Michigan State its first loss at home this year. The Spartans were 7-0 entering the day at Secchia Stadium.
• Four of the six runs that Ohio State scored came with two outs and the Buckeyes hit .400 as a team on the day with two outs.
• Piper hit .643 this week with three home runs, six RBI, five runs scored and a 1.286 slugging percentage. Her 14 home runs rank second in the Big Ten and she’s two runs scored shy of being the first member of this year’s 40/40 club.
• Bayne and Piper lead the team with 14 of 19 multi-hit games, respectively.
• Ohio State has won 10 of the last 14 meetings against Michigan State.
• All four of the home runs that the Buckeyes hit last week came with runners on base. They currently lead the conference with 52 home runs.
Ohio State returns to Buckeye Field next week for a three-game series against Iowa that begins on Friday at 6 p.m. All three contests will be streamed live on BTN Plus.