Columbus, Ohio- The weather in Columbus finally cooperated enough as the 22nd ranked Ohio State Buckeyes swept the Penn State Nittany Lions in a doubleheader, winning 9-1 in the first game and 7-4 in the nightcap.
It didn’t take long for the Buckeyes to get on the board as Emily Clark smashed a deep 2-run home run in the bottom of the first. Penn State cut the deficit in half on an RBI single by Kennedy Legg in the third. But Bailee Sturgeon got things going for the Buckeyes at the bottom of the inning as she blazed a triple, the first of her career, and then scored on a passed ball to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Buckeye starting pitcher Shelby McCombs helped her cause out by ripping a solo home run.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Buckeyes turned up the heat by scoring 5 runs on 4 hits. McCombs opened with a leadoff single to left center. Andi Farrah then entered the game as a pinch-runner for her and freshman Kallie Boren got the call and came in to pinch hit. Boren got hit by the ball and was pinch ran for by Spencer Sansom, the young sophomore from California. With two on, It was Bri Betschel, the junior outfielder from Anaheim, California, who drilled a triple to the wall in right-center to drive in both runners. The Buckeyes weren’t done as the freshman third baseman from Georgia Niki Carver continued her great season shooting a base hit down the line to score Betschel. Senior Center fielder Taylor White then shot a triple to score Carver. White then scored on a wild pitch giving the run rule 9-1 victory to the Buckeyes.
The senior McCombs picked up her 11th win of the season against only 2 losses pitching 6 innings and only giving up 4 hits while striking out 9.
In game 2 Penn State struck first in the first inning on an RBI double from Delaney Elling. At the bottom of the inning, it was White sparking the offense as she hit a leadoff double down the right-field line and then scored after Sturgeon punched the ball up the middle to tie up the game 1-1.
Ohio State went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the second when Carver and White both singled and then Sturgeon doubled to left field to tack on a run.
The lead changed in the top of the third as the Nittany Lions loaded the bases on a walk, error, and a hit-by-pitch. Elling once again did her job as she ripped a two-RBI single to put her squad up 3-2.
The Buckeyes scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to regain the advantage, 5-3, and never looked back. White got hit by a pitch and moved to second on a groundout. Then Clark reached on an error by the left fielder and advanced to second while White had enough time to fly home. With two outs, senior first baseman Ashley Goodwin drove a two-run shot over the left field wall giving the Buckeyes a big lead.
At the top of the fifth, Penn State was able to load the bases on 3 straight singles and a run was walked in when Buckeye Head Coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly called for a relief pitcher, giving the California junior Katya Duvall the ball. Duvall pitched the Buckeyes out of the jam.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Buckeyes added two insurance runs off as pinch runner Farrah scored off another Betschel triple. Betschel then scored on a White single.
In the top of the final stanza, Penn State loaded up the bases when Buckeye Coach Kovach Schoenly brought in McCombs to save the game. McCombs didn’t disappoint as she struck out the final batter. Morgan Ray, 14-5 on the season, picked up the victory after she pitched 4.1 innings of seven-hit, four-run ball with four strikeouts.
The Buckeyes, 26-8 on the season, travel to Evanston Illinois for a 3 game weekend series with the Northwestern Wildcats.