April 17, 2017

PREVIEW: Buckeyes Hit Road for Contest at Pitt on Tuesday


April 17, 2017

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a series win against Indiana at Buckeye Field last weekend, No. 21/25 Ohio State returns to the road on Tuesday for a single game at Pittsburgh. First pitch at Vartabedian Field is slated for 4 p.m.

No. 21/25 Ohio State at Pittsburgh | Tuesday, April 18 | 4 p.m. | Vartabedian Field
 Watch Live (ACC Network Extra) | Live Stats | Twitter Updates

• Following Sunday’s 8-2 victory against the Hoosiers, Ohio State is 26-11 overall and 10-4 in Big Ten play.
• On a team with six everyday starters batting over .300, sophomore Lilli Piper is tops with a .390 average to go along with 40 RBI and 33 runs scored. Last Sunday, she hit her 11th home run of the season.
• Senior Alex Bayne is one of the Big Ten’s and nation’s best power hitters, checking with 13 home runs to go along with a .339 average, 30 RBI and 36 runs scored. She hit two solo home runs on Sunday and hit over .400 on the week with multiple hits in three of five games.
• Sophomore Emily Clark is second on the team in RBI with 36 and is hitting .333 on the year with a team-high eight doubles.
Maddie Marotti, a junior from nearby Dublin, Ohio, has come on since the start of Big Ten play. She’s batting .360 in conference games with hits in nine of 25 at-bats to go along with a triple and three RBI.
Anna Kirk (.311, 21 RBI, 35 runs scored, .474 on-base percentage) and Becca Gavin (.307, three home runs, 12 RBI) are the other starters above .300. As a team, Ohio State’s .302 batting average is sixth best in the conference.
• All five of Ohio State’s pitchers have ERAs of 2.50 or better. Seniors Shelby Hursh (10-4, 90.2 IP, 2.24 ERA, 82 Ks) and Lena Springer (8-3, 64.1 IP, 2.50 ERA, 48 Ks) are tops in innings pitched and wins.
• Both Morgan Ray (3-2, 33.2 IP, 2.29 ERA) and Katya Duvall (0.91 ERA) pitched scoreless relief last weekend while Shelby McCombs (44.0 IP, 2.23 ERA, 39 Ks) tossed 5.0 innings on Saturday, allowing two earned runs.

2017 Record: 21-19, 4-14 ACC
2016 Record: 31-21, 8-14 ACC
Top Hitter: Giorgiana Zermenko – .298, eight home runs, 27 RBI, 12 runs scored; Kaitlin Manuel – .281, 24 RBI, 16 runs scored
Top Pitcher: Brittany Knight – 10-10, 127.1 IP, 47 Ks, six complete games
Series History: Ohio State and Pitt have met 16 previous times with the Buckeyes holding a 12-4 edge in the series. They last matched up in 2015 at Buckeye Field and split a doubleheader. The Panthers won the first game, 17-15, before Ohio State came back to take the nightcap, 7-3.

• The Buckeyes are 21-3-1 over the last two years in games in which Bayne hits a home run.
• Ohio State was productive at the top of the lineup in Sunday’s win. The top five hitters – Kirk, Bayne, Piper, Clark and White – combined to go 8-for-19 (.421) with five RBI and four home runs.
• Bayne’s big day at the plate was part of a week that saw her hit .412 and slug .882 over the course of five games.
• The five home runs on Sunday ties a single-game record, which has been set four different times – most recently on April 8, 2016 against Rutgers.
• Ohio State has won nine of the last 13 meetings against Indiana.
• The series win was the Buckeyes’ third in the first four weekends of conference play.
• Sunday was the 17th time Ohio State has scored in the first inning and the Buckeyes are 14-3 in those games.

Emily Clark | .440, nine RBI, two home runs, .563 on-base percentage
Clark finished up the weekend series against Indiana with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate that included a solo home run – her sixth of the season. Clark has at least one hit in 13 of the last 16 games with 20 RBI in that span.

Shelby McCombs | 26.1 IP, 2.39 ERA, 25 Ks
McCombs has logged the most innings of the Buckeyes’ five pitchers over the last 10 games with a three-hit shutout of Michigan highlighting her performances.

Morgan Ray/Katya Duvall | 0.45 combined ERA, nine Ks
Ray and Duvall both appeared in relief this weekend against the Hoosiers and didn’t allow a run over 5.2 innings. Ray worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth inning on Sunday and added three strikeouts for her third win of the year.

Tuesday’s game starts a stretch of four straight games away from Buckeye Field this week. Over the last two years, Ohio State owns 20 true road wins and 43 victories at either road of neutral sites. This season, the Scarlet and Gray are 8-3 on the road and batting .332 as a team. Both Piper (.474, 16 RBI) and Gavin (.444, five RBI) have been the best individual hitters while Springer is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA and two complete game shutouts to her credit.

• After stealing a single-game high seven bases against Penn State last Wednesday, the Buckeyes swiped three more last weekend to give them 40 on the season. Base runners have only been thrown out twice this season attempting to steal.
• Buckeye Field has attracted crowds of 1,000 or more on six of the last seven home dates.
• White has a Big Ten-leading 21 RBI in 14 conference games.
• McCombs and Hursh both rank among the top 10 pitchers in the league in conference-only ERA (2.08 and 2.81, respectively).
• Ohio State’s 48 home runs are second most in the Big Ten (behind only Michigan State with 50) and ninth nationally (1.29/game). Ohio State also ranks 14th in scoring (5.9 runs/game) and 12th in slugging percentage (.505).
• Bayne is two home runs shy of moving into a tie with Courtney Pruner for fourth place all-time. She hit 38 from 2006-10.

In addition to the four regular season games that will be broadcast on BTN, fans will also have the opportunity to see the Scarlet and Gray several more times in BTN Plus (subscription required). Among the remaining scheduled broadcasts are:
• April 22 and April 23 at Michigan State
• April 28-30 vs. Iowa
• May 3 vs. Kent State

Additionally, all 11 games of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament will appear live on BTN.

The 16 teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Super Regionals all possessed a pitcher with a WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched) no higher than 1.84 and as low as 0.72 amongst the top two of their staff. Thirty seven games into the 2017 campaign, Hursh and Springer are in that company, checking in with a 1.44 combined WHIP (Hursh: 1.42; Springer: 1.47). In 33.2 innings, Ray also has a WHIP in the 1.4s: 1.45. Ohio State’s staff has a 1.47 WHIP.

Over her last five appearances, Morgan Ray has given up just one earned run over 7.2 innings with one win to her credit, a 0.91 ERA and .233 batting average against.
• vs. Rutgers (4/2): 1.0 IP, 1 K, 1 hit allowed
• vs. Michigan (4/8): 1.0 IP, 1 K, 0 hits allowed
• vs. Penn State (4/12): 2.0 IP, 3 Ks, 0 hits allowed
• vs. Penn State (4/12): 0.0 IP, 1 earned run allowed
• vs. Indiana (4/16): 3.2 IP, 3 hits allowed, two Ks