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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State's offense erupted for 10 runs on seven hits as it opened up its 2017 season with a 10-0 five-inning shutout of Central Michigan on Friday afternoon at the Aggie Classic on the campus of Texas A&M.
THE SHORT STORY
Senior Anna Kirk went two-for-two with a home run while sophomore Lilli Piper made her Buckeye debut by driving in three runs (two-for-three, home run, triple). In the circle, senior Shelby Hursh struck out six over five innings and allowed just two hits.
HOW THE RUNS WERE SCORED
The Buckeyes' first threat started with a one-out walk from Ashley Goodwin in the top of the second, followed Kirk's single through the left side that advanced pinch runner Bri Betschel to second. The runners then each moved up a base on a wild pitch and Becca Gavin grounded out to third, scoring Betschel. The next batter, sophomore Megan Choinacky, perfectly placed a single just over the head of the third baseman, allowing Kirk to score. Junior Bailee Sturgeon then used her speed to leg out a RBI double, making the score 3-0.
The Buckeyes tacked on three more run in the bottom of the third with the largest hit coming off the bat of Piper, who hit a two-run home run to left centerfield that scored Alex Bayne, who led off the inning with a walk. Later in the inning, Gavin picked up her second RBI of the afternoon when she singled to right center, which allowed Goodwin to come around and score from second.
In the bottom of the fourth, Taylor White led off the inning with a walk and then eventually around to score on a triple from Piper. She would score on a wild pitch to push the lead to 8-0, and Kirk then blasted a two-run home run to left center making the score 10-0.
HURSH IN CONTROL
The only two Central Michigan hits of the game came in top of the second, as Hursh surrendered a one out single up the middle. That baserunner, however, was quickly thrown out by Gavin attempting to steal second. On the afternoon, the Buckeyes didn't allow a Central Michigan baserunner into scoring positon, as Hursh struck out six and walked just one.
Ohio State worked a lead-off walk in three of the four innings it batted and each time, that runner eventually came around to score.
BOTTOM OF THE ORDER DELIVERS
The six-seven-eight-nine hitters in Ohio State's lineup combined to go five-for-eight with six RBI and three runs scored. In addition to Choinacky's first career RBI, Kirk, Gavin and Sturgeon all delivered key run-scoring hits. In all, three players had multiple RBI - Piper, Kirk and Gavin.
Buckeye base runners were a perfect three-for-three on stolen base attempts.
Ohio State has won four of its last five season openers.
The 10-0 margin was the Buckeyes' largest in a season-opener since a 11-1 win over New Mexico State in 2006.
With 386 career strikeouts, Hursh currently stands in fifth place on the Buckeyes' career list.
Ohio State returns to action tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT) against No. 18 Texas A&M. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.