After winning two of three games against Rutgers at home this past weekend, the Ohio State softball team (23-11, 7-2 Big Ten) is on the road again, heading to State College, Pennsylvania, to take on Penn State (19-20, 3-6 Big Ten).
Despite the road trip, the Buckeyes come into the two-game set against the Nittany Lions with the hot hand, winning eight of their past 10 games dating back to March 22.
On the other hand, Penn State has struggled of late, losing six of its past eight games. However, the Nittany Lions returned to the win column Saturday with a 7-4 win against Purdue.
Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said Penn State has shown improvement, especially in its recent win against the Boilermakers.
“They have better pitchers this year. There are some new people. They are doing a good job,” Schoenly said. “In general, between two of us, this is always a competitive series.”
In the past three seasons, Ohio State has won five of its six total matchups against Penn State.
But this season, the Nittany Lions have talented freshmen that the Buckeyes have not seen.
Freshman infielder Chelsea Bisi is No. 2 on Penn State with a .356 average, recording a team-leading 24 RBI with nine home runs, tied for the team lead. Freshman outfielder Melina Livingston leads the team with a .364 average. On the mound, freshman pitcher Kylee Lingenfelter has a team-best 2.28 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 58.1 innings of work.
Penn State senior outfielder Toni Polk is also performing well, hitting nine home runs with a team-high 31 runs scored.
On Sunday, Ohio State showed off its offensive ability, blanking Rutgers 8-0 in five innings. Freshman infielder Ashley Prange, who recorded her first career grand slam in the game, said she is excited about continuing that success against the Nittany Lions.
“I think it will be a good day, another conference game. So, just got to be prepared to go,” Prange said.
Ohio State freshman outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman is aware of what Penn State can do, but is more aware of her team heading into the two-game midweek doubleheader.
“I think they will be an OK team,” freshman outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman said. “We will still do the thing [that] we’ve been doing.”
Ohio State will face Penn State April 9 at 5 and 7 p.m.