The Buckeyes’ series against Purdue didn’t start the way they wanted, but it certainly ended the way Allison Smith wanted it to. After a loss on Friday, they bounced back to win the next two games, including a five-inning no-hitter thrown by Smith to cap off the weekend and improve to 30-15 on the season.
Ohio State had a promising start in its first game, but a grand slam is ultimately what led to its defeat. Smith started this game as well, and was cruising through the first three innings. Then her offense backed her up in the bottom of the third as Kami Kortokrax hit a three-run home run, her seventh of the season, to put the Buckeyes up.
The next inning, Smith would give up a two-run homer to the Boilermakers before surrendering a crushing grand slam in the fifth inning, giving them the 6-3 lead which they would not relinquish. Emily Ruck would come in for relief in the final 1.1 innings and didn’t give up a hit.
Ohio State would send the tying run to the plate in both the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t do any more than that, leaving 11 runners on base throughout the whole game.
Saturday’s game did not start well for the Buckeyes at all, as they were down 8-0 by the third inning. What looked to be a run-rule victory by the Boilermakers turned into a 12-9 win by the Bucks. What?!
Ruck got the start in this game and really struggled. After giving up one run in the first, she cruised through the second before falling apart in the third. A solo home run and a pair of singles scored four runs to put Purdue up 5-0. Lexi Paulsen came in for relief and walked the first two batters she faced before surrendering a bases-clearing triple. She struck out the next batter she faced to end the inning, but the damage was done and Bucks were in a really tough position.
However, I think by now we have learned to never count out this team. In the bottom half of the frame. they scored five runs of their own, thanks to Kortokrax reaching on an error, a Sam Hackenbracht single and Meggie Otte double. They continued to chip away in the fourth as Jaycee Ruberti’s single knocked in another run.
Paulsen truly limited the damage after the triple, as the only other run she gave up was a solo home run in the sixth inning, making it 9-6, Purdue. This is the inning that the Buckeyes chose to pour on the runs. An Otte sacrifice fly, Ruberti single, Mariah Rodriguez single and a wild pitch resulted in six runs for Ohio State, putting it ahead 12-9!
Smith came in to close out the game in the seventh and shut Purdue down 1-2-3, giving the Bucks one of their most impressive wins of the season. One thing to note is they had just one extra base hit in the game; however, they walked 10 times and were hit by pitches three times, showing some impressive plate discipline.
The headline already spoiled the outcome for the rubber match, but let’s get into anyways! Ohio State was immediately ready to roll in this one, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Two triples by Hackenbracht and Otte and a single by Ruberti put the Buckeyes on the board first.
A single by Hackenbracht scored two more in the second, as Smith did not allow a baserunner through the first two innings. A fielding error in the third and a walk in the fourth changed that, but that doesn’t matter (clearly). Her offense helped her out some more in the bottom of the fourth as Otte crushed a two-run home run, increasing the lead to 7-0. Rodriguez’s two-RBI single sealed the deal for the run-rule offensively, as Smith just had to close out the fifth.
That she did, but not without a bit of drama! After a fly out and groundout to start the inning, she proceeded to walk and hit a batter before a fly out ended the inning, the game and her first collegiate no-hitter!
Some fast facts on Smith— if you haven’t heard of her by now, get your head in the game! She’s one of the best in the Big Ten.
- Sunday’s no-hitter was the icing on the cake for Smith this weekend in which she started three times and struck out 24 batters in 16.2 innings.
- She now has 179 strikeouts on the season, which is the third-most on any pitcher in the Big Ten.
- Her ERA is now 2.77 on the season.
Overall, the Buckeyes are 8-2 in their last 10 games with seven of those wins coming against Big Ten opponents. Up next, they face Minnesota in their final three home games of the season. The first game is Friday at 6 p.m. and it will be streamed on BTN+.