NCAA softball: Ohio State tops Michigan State with walk-off home run
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Maddy McIntyre did it again.
After previously lifting the Buckeyes to walk-off victories over Maryland and Purdue during the Big Ten season, the senior from San Diego added another chapter to her story on Saturday with a walk-off three-run home run that gave Ohio State a 9-7 victory over Michigan State. The Buckeyes improve to 32-16-1, 13-8-1 in the Big Ten while Michigan State is 26-27, 7-15.
THE SHORT STORY
McIntyre’s heroics were set up after MSU went ahead 7-6 in the top half of the seventh on a two-run, two-out single from Sarah Gutknecht. The Buckeyes made their last at-bat count, however, as lead-off batter Cammi Prantl smacked a double to left center, Emily Clark walked, both runners moved up on a wild pitch and McIntyre sent a no-doubted over the left field fence.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
Michigan State’s Lindsey Besson’s two-run home run in the top of the second gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead, but that advantage was short lived. In the bottom half of the inning, Ashley Goodwin matched that two-run homer with one of her own, this one that tucked just inside the fair pole in left field. It was Goodwin’s fifth long ball of the season.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of McIntyre in the third inning made the score 3-2, but the Spartans scored the equalizer in the top of the fifth when Lea Foerster doubled to left field. Further damage was prevented, however, when McKenzie Long overran third base and was thrown out at home in a run down.
Prantl, who finished four-for-four on the day with two doubles and a home run, connected on a two-run shot to left center that nearly hit the scoreboard and gave Ohio State a 5-3 lead. That lead became 5-4 in the top of the sixth when Kassidy Kujawa hit her second home run in as many games, this one a solo shot to left field.
A RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth gave Ohio State what appeared to be a key insurance run, but a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh put the Spartans in position to make one final push. After Shelby Hursh retired the next two batters, she walked the next to put the go-ahead run at the plate. In came freshman Morgan Ray, who gave up a one-run single and then a two-run double that push MSU ahead. The final out of the inning was recorded at second base as Gutknecht attempted to advance on a throw to the plate.
THE COMEBACK KIDS
Today’s win was Ohio State’s sixth walk-off win of the year. In three of those wins, they’ve won it via a home run – Feb. 20 vs. Georgia Tech, March 26 vs. Maryland May 7 vs. Michigan State.
AT THE PLATE
A 14-hit attack was keyed today by Prantl, who had two doubles, giving her 17 of the year, and her eighth home run. McIntyre tired a career high by driving in four runs while Clark and Anna Kirk each had two hits. In all, eight different players recorded hits, including pinch hitter Jess Machovina, who doubled the bottom of the sixth.
PRANTL APPROACHING HISTORY
With her four hits on Saturday, Prantl is now in second place on the all-time hits list and just two behind the leader, Anna Smith (243, 1999-2002). This past Wednesday, Prantl set the career doubles record with 59. Her .350 career average is sixth best all-time.