Despite Friday’s postponement, Ohio State will host a 3-game series against Michigan

The Ohio State women’s softball team is on a 12-game winning streak, its longest since 2017, as it heads into one of the biggest matchups of the season.
Credit: Zachary Rilley | photo editor

The Ohio State softball team is on a 12-game winning streak, its longest since 2017, as it heads into one of the biggest matchups of the season.

The Buckeyes (18-7) host rival Michigan (13-11) this weekend at Buckeye Field for a three-game series. The original start was Friday, but due to inclement weather, the series will begin Saturday at 3 p.m. and continue Sunday at 1 p.m. The final date and time of the match are yet to be determined.

This weekend is special for some of the soon-to-graduate Buckeyes, including senior player Mariah Rodriguez, who said this streak is personal to her not only because she’s a senior, but also since Ohio State didn’t not win a series against the Wolverines during his time with the Buckeyes.

“I want to be part of history,” Rodriguez said. “I want to do something big and I want to be part of something bigger than me.”

Head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly pitched for Michigan from 1992 to 1995 and said playing her alma mater meant a lot to her.

Since her time as an assistant coach at Penn State, Schoenly said she learned it was about her players when it came to rivalry games and especially at Ohio State.

“I want them to have the rivalry to mean something to them because it means something to our school and not really to me,” Schoenly said.

Junior pitcher Emily Ruck said playing against Michigan was different because of the relationship between Schoenly and Wolverine’s coaching staff.

“We have respect for her because that’s what brought her here,” Ruck said. “We also have a respect for them because it’s not the violent and brutal rivalry. It’s very humble and strictly competitive.

Michigan lost two of its aces, pitchers Alex Storako and Meghan Beaubien from last season, but Schoenly said the Buckeyes had seen some of the current Wolverines pitches before this season when they were on a travel ball .

“We haven’t played them as Buckeyes or Wolverines yet,” Schoenly said.

While some Wolverines may be familiar, Schoenly said the Buckeyes are always facing new pitchers and Ohio State wants to pressure Michigan’s defense. Schoenly said Michigan’s pitching staff throw a lot of off-speed pitches, so the goal is for the Buckeyes to hit them and cause damage.

“I think what they bring to the table is their experience,” Schoenly said. “They have a lot of left-handed bats in order, and so our pitchers can hit both sides of the plate and not let them stretch too often.”

Michigan has faced a tough roster this season, already facing No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 UCLA and No. 12 LSU in losses.

Schoenly said that with a difficult pre-season schedule, Wolverines have gained more experience, but both teams have strengths that make this weekend a close game.

“Nothing we do will surprise them,” Schoenly said. “It’s going to be who performs in the game.”

Sophomore Kaitlyn Farley said the Buckeyes are on a roll that has made them more confident after their 12-game winning streak.

“We’ll have that momentum heading into the weekend to play them and the excitement of being home for our first home series against them,” Farley said.

The first pitch against the Wolverines is Saturday at 3 p.m. and will air on BTN+.


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