The No. 17 Ohio State softball team returns from its 11-game stretch in California with an 8-3 record with two of its three losses coming to No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 Oklahoma. Ohio State now enters Big Ten season with a 19-4 overall record.
The Buckeyes competed in both the Louisville Slugger Invitational from March 9-11 and the Easton Invitational from March 16-18 with a pair of games on Tuesday against Loyola Marymount and one game against California State University, Northridge Wednesday that were not part of either invitational.
The nine-day stretch of play began with the Buckeyes winning three of the four games that they played in the Louisville Slugger, beating every team but UCLA. In total, Ohio State outscored their opponents a combined 16-14, a number that improves to 16-4 not counting the 11-0 loss to UCLA in five innings.
Ohio State then followed up that series with three wins, the first two coming in a double-header against Loyola Marymount on Tuesday and the third coming against California State, Northridge on Wednesday.
Two of the seven games lasted eight innings, bringing the total of extra-inning games played by Ohio State this year to six out of the 23 total games played.
The Buckeyes won the San Jose State matchup by three runs scored in the top of the eighth that San Jose State was not able to respond to.
In Ohio State’s first game against Loyola Marymount, senior catcher Taylor White had a triple in the top of the fifth to put the Buckeyes on the board. Loyola Marymount tied the game at one in the bottom of the seventh, but junior infielder Emily Clark homered in the top of the eighth to put the Buckeyes ahead and secure the Ohio State victory.
Ohio State split the Easton Invitational, dropping the series opener to Grand Canyon and the series finale to Oklahoma. It defeated both California State Fullerton and California State University, Northridge in the middle two games.
The team as well as head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly foreshadowed that reigning national champion Oklahoma would provide the Buckeyes with a challenge. The Sooners, did just that, holding the Buckeyes to only two hits and winning 5-0.
Starting in all 11 games, junior shortstop Lilli Piper recorded 19 hits and 16 RBI with a batting average of .500.
The pitching staff combined to record 59 strikeouts and post a 2.82 ERA.
Ohio State open conference play when it heads to Bloomington, Indiana, on Friday to take on the Hoosiers in a three-game series.