MSU SOFTBALL: OSU Secures Sweep With Sunday Win

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SPARTAN SYNOPSIS
A three-homer, five-run third inning for Ohio State led to a 11-1 victory for the Buckeyes and a series sweep at Secchia Stadium on Sunday.

The Buckeyes tallied 15 base hits off of three Spartan pitchers, while Morgan Ray pitched for the third day in a row for Ohio State and limited the Spartans to just three base hits in four innings. Alli Walker took the loss for MSU, falling to 8-11. She tossed 2.1 innings, and McKenna Gregory picked up 2.2 relief innings. Jordan Watson also pitched to two batters in the third inning.

Ebonee Echols, Charla Echols, and Katie Quinlan accounted for the Spartan hits, and Caitie Ladd scored the Spartan run in the bottom of the second inning.

Lilli Piper was a perfect 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while Niki Carver had two homers and five RBI for Ohio State. Ray improved to 14-6 on the season, striking out seven and walking three in four innings.

The Spartans play at Michigan on Tuesday before returning to Secchia Stadium next weekend for the final home series of the season. The Spartans host Northwestern April 6-28 in a three-game set.

STATS AND STORYLINES
• Ohio State put two on the board in the top of the first. Bri Betschel led off with a double up the left field line and took third. Lilli Piper singled up the middle to score the first run. Emily Clark reached on a fielder’s choice to erase Piper, but a walk to Ashley Prange. Kallie Boren grounded out to advance the two runners, plating Clark for the 2-0 lead.

• The first real Spartan threat came in the bottom of the second, when Caitie Ladd led off with a walk, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch. Katie Quinlan laid down a bunt single and then stole second to put two on in scoring position with just one out. A sac fly by Katelyn Hendershott brought home Ladd to cut the OSU lead in half.

• Lilli Piper and Clark hit solo homers back-to-back in the top of the third push the Buckeye lead out to 4-1. A pair of singles put two runners on the bases for Niki Carver, who hit a three-run shot to push the OSU lead out to 7-1. MSU made a pitching change, bringing Jordan Watson out of the bullpen, and she was greeted by a double to center by Claire Nicholson and a single by Kaitlyn Coffmann. MSU went to its bullpen again, bringing on McKenna Gregory, the Saturday starter, with runners at the corners and one out. She got a strikeout and a fly ball to get the Spartans out of the inning.

• OSU tacked on three in the top of the fourth, when Piper led off the inning with a double. She went to third on a fly ball out, then came home on a bunt single by Prange. Two batters later, Carver hit a two-run shot that pushed the run tally to 10 for the visitors.

• A triple by pinch hitter Summer Constable led off the top of the fifth, and she came home on a sac fly by Spencer Sansom for the 11th Buckeye run.