Softball Ohio State continues Big Ten play against Michigan State

Ohio State sophomore outfielder Summer Constable (00) leads off of the base at Buckeye Field. Ohio State defeated Indiana 2-0 on March 24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternComing off a 4-3 win against Ohio, the Ohio State softball team (26-14, 9-5 Big Ten) will head to East Lansing, Michigan, to face Michigan State (15-25, 3-9 Big Ten) in a three-game series to continue Big Ten action.  “In general, they are a very good hitting team,” Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said. “We will have to come up with a good plan to beat that.”The hitting strength of Spartans is led by the Echols sisters: senior outfielder Ebonee Echols and freshman third baseman Charla Echols. Charla Echols and Ebonee Echols lead the team with a .360 and .356 batting average, respectively. Sophomore outfielder Katie Quinlan has recorded a .321 batting average off 34 hits, while scoring 25 runs overall this season.“They are a good hitting team, so we are gonna try to put on more runs than them,” Ohio State senior shortstop Lilli Piper said. “Just try to play solid and defense as possible.”However, Michigan State’s pitchers have not provided the same level of support for the Spartans, owning a 5.02 team ERA in 2019. Michigan State’s sophomore pitcher Alli Walker has recorded a 4.54 ERA and 7-9 season record so far. Comparatively, Ohio State has maintained a 2.13 team ERA this season. Senior pitcher Morgan Ray has maintained a 2.13 ERA and 11-6 season record, striking out 120 batters in 131.2 innings of work. Sophomore Lauren Rice has recorded a 2.26 ERA and 14-4 season record. This past season, Ohio State swept the Spartans in three games. However, the Buckeyes lost two of the three games between the two teams in 2017. “Traditionally through the years, this had been a really competitive series,” Schoenly said.Heading into the series, Shoenly said Ohio State needs to continue its momentum from its past two games: pitching and hitting well. The opener of the three-game series between Ohio State and Michigan State will begin at 6 p.m. Friday.  The second game will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, and the final game will start at 1 p.m. Sunday.