Columbus, Ohio- On a beautiful Spring day at Buckeye Field, the Ohio State Buckeyes battled back from a 5-1 deficit to defeat and sweep the Michigan State Spartans for the first time in 3 years, 6-5 in a nail-biter of a game.
Both teams were unable to find home plate for a run as they both battled hard scrapping to get hits. But in the third inning, the Spartans offense exploded for four runs led by Kaitlyn Eveland who got things going with a two-RBI triple to right field before she scored on a fielder’s choice after a stolen base. But the Buckeyes tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 3 as Junior shortstop Lilli Piper singled up the middle for her first hit of the series. Piper had been struggling to get a hit lately as most pitchers try to pitch around the outstanding hitter by walking her. She has been walked 15 times in the last 12 games. Senior Shelby McCombs followed with a single to left center and advanced to second on the throw while Piper bolted to third base. In the clean-up spot, Junior Emily Clark hit an RBI single to score Piper and put the Buckeyes on the board.
In the top of the fourth, the Spartans added another run as Kelsey Carrasco had runners on the corners when she singled to right field to open the lead to 5-1.
In the bottom of the fifth Niki Carver, the freshman third baseman from Georgia ripped a stand up triple down the right-field line and then scored when Piper blasted a single down the same line, giving her 100th rbi in her Buckeye career. Piper advanced to third as McCombs doubled down the left field line and then it was Emily Clark putting on a display of power in front of almost 1,800 fans as she blasted a 250 feet home run over the left field wall tying up the game at 5 runs each.
In what would be a pitching battle the rest of the way, McCombs, who had come in for relief of Morgan Ray earlier in the game, faced a bases-loaded situation but was clutch with a pair of swinging strikeouts and Clark made the play at second for a groundout to retire the side.
In the bottom of the seventh with the score tied up at 5, McCombs doubled to left center bouncing the ball at the wall. Clark drove the ball deep to right field where it was caught but McCombs tagged up at second and advanced to third and hesitated for just a second as the ball was badly thrown in by the right fielder before advancing to home and sliding underneath the high throw giving the Buckeyes the sweep and the big victory!
The fans erupted in a roar as McCombs was swarmed by her coaches and players as the Buckeyes celebrated their 29th victory of the season with only 11 losses. The win was Head Coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly’s 192nd in her 6 years at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are off until Friday when they host the Maryland Terrapins for a 3 game weekend series.