Its bats might have taken awhile to warm up Tuesday evening, but the Ohio State softball team was still able to sweep its neighbors to the southeast, the Ohio Bobcats, with 11 runs in the nonconference doubleheader.
The Buckeyes (27-11-1, 9-4-1), hungry to redeem themselves from a losing weekend at Michigan, dominated Ohio (25-18), which sits in fifth in the Mid-American Conference’s East division.
OSU sophomore Taylor White had three hits throughout the doubleheader, all of which were for extra bases. Junior infielder Anna Kirk went 3-for-4 in the second game after falling into an 0-for-5 slump last weekend.
Tuesday evening’s first matchup ended up being a 1-0 pitching contest decided by a single play of small ball. Both OSU junior Shelby Hursh and Ohio redshirt junior Savannah Jo Dorsey threw complete games, and Hursh struck out six batters while only recording two walks.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth, when sophomore Ashley Goodwin laid down a squeeze bunt to give the Buckeyes the go-ahead run.
After OSU stranded a pair of runners in the first inning, Hursh sent the top of the lineup back to the dugout in order. In the preceding inning, Dorsey, who struck out eight, echoed with three easy outs.
Freshman Emily Clark and White led the Buckeyes once again with a double each, but Clark’s leadoff two-bagger in the top of the fourth could not produce a string of hits. The Bobcats briefly threatened in the bottom of the inning in a two-out, bases-loaded situation, but junior Casie Hutchinson popped out to OSU catcher Cammi Prantl.
White’s double gave OSU a chance to score in the sixth, and after she advanced to third, Goodwin’s bunt brought her home. Freshman Becca Gavin shut down Ohio second baseman Taylor Saxton with her second putout to second base of the day, and the quick final three outs in the seventh gave the Buckeyes a return to the win column.
In the second game of the twinbill and 70th all-time matchup between the teams, the Buckeyes quickly turned on their previously quiet bats to cruise to a 10-3 win.
White added her fourth homer in the top of the fifth, which was also her third hit of the day, and sent the Buckeyes back to Columbus with a midweek sweep. OSU freshman Morgan Ray and junior Lena Springer teamed up in the circle to keep the Bobcats at three runs through the final five innings.
White doubled for the second time of the day and eighth time of the year in the top of the first, bringing in two runs.
Redshirt senior shortstop Maddy McIntyre jumped on the chance to make a clutch play of her own with an RBI single in the second inning. OSU bumped its lead to four with a steal of home, but Ohio responded with a two-out, RBI single from freshman Morgan Geno.
The Bobcats took advantage of another two-out situation on a pair of singles in the third inning, bringing in two runs to tighten the game to a 4-3 contest. Ohio nearly scored in the bottom of the fourth, but Kirk charged a bunt from third to end the inning.
White’s home run was the only noise OSU made in the fifth inning, thanks to Dorsey’s relieving effort after sophomore Danielle Stiene headed to the bullpen. Dorsey struck out six before freshman Jamie Wren stepped into the circle for the first time in her collegiate career. In the bottom of the inning, Prantl made a diving catch in left field to leave the Bobcats with another scoreless inning.
Kirk led off the sixth inning with a line drive to right field, a stolen base and a trip home on McIntyre’s deep RBI single. Prantl stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded to slam a two-run double off of the outfield wall, which prompted the third pitching change for the Bobcats.
Stiene reentered the game but gave up two more runs after Clark’s single found the gap. In the bottom of the sixth, Ohio went down in order on only five pitches, giving it one last chance to close in on the Buckeyes, who also went down in order in the final inning.
Gavin caught her third runner at second base to end the day, sending OSU back to Columbus with its 26th and 27th wins.
OSU is scheduled to return to Big Ten play from Friday to Sunday with a three-game series against Purdue. Friday’s game is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at Buckeye Field.