Ohio State’s hot streak of winning 16 of its last 17 games coming into the Indiana series came to a screeching halt, as it lost all three games this past weekend. The Buckeyes’ offense wasn’t a problem, but the Hoosiers’ definitely was.
The first game started on Friday, but was suspended due to weather in the middle of the game, so it picked back up on Saturday. Before the suspension, the Bucks only trailed by one. They got on the board first in the second inning by way of a Destinee Noury RBI single.
Then, the third inning came. A pair of back-to-back home runs came off the bats of Melina Wilkison (more on her later) and Kami Kortokrax. Then, Meggie Otte had an RBI double to put Ohio State up 4-0.
Kami Kortokrax (@KamiKortokrax) liked Melina's home run so much she decided to hit one of her own.— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) March 31, 2023
OSU 3, IU 0 | #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/i5hg5BWZu2
However, Allison Smith struggled big time in this inning, as she gave up seven runs on four hits, including a three-run home run. At this point, after a hot offensive start, the Buckeyes went down by three. It continued to be a slugfest the remainder of the game, as Ohio State scored four runs in the fourth to retake the lead by one before Indiana scored three more runs in the bottom half of the frame to make it 10-8, Hoosiers.
Lexi Paulsen came in for relief during this inning and continued into the fifth, where she gave up three runs and Kennedy Kay finished out the inning. While Ohio State tacked one run on the board in the sixth, Kay gave up three runs which allowed the run rule to go into effect, as Indiana was up by eight runs after the sixth inning.
Smith took the loss and the score ended up being 17-9.
You got to give it to the Bucks— they showed up Sunday ready to fight for a win, and this first game of the doubleheader demonstrated their grit, but it was just not enough for a W.
Wilkison homered in her first at-bat (yes, the same Wilkison who homered Saturday), to give Ohio State the early lead. It was Wilkison’s sixth home run of the season and fourth in the last four games. Then, Sam Hackenbracht singled her in during the third inning, making it 2-0. Emily Ruck was the starter in this one and cruised through the first two innings before hitting a road block in the third.
Start us out, @Melina_Wilkison!— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) April 2, 2023
That's her fourth HR in the last four games.
OSU 1, IU 0 | #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/c9furcf7Gk
After a throwing error, walk and passed ball, the first run from Indiana scored and three more were added on before the inning ended, off of just two hits. Two singles allowed two runs the next inning, but the Buckeyes were coming back in the fifth. Down 6-2, Wilkison (who else?) got the offense going with a RBI single, then Kortokrax had a two-RBI single to narrow the score to 6-5.
Ruck had a strong sixth inning to give Ohio State a chance to come back in the top of the seventh, but three straight outs ended the game for the Buckeyes, 6-5, who just couldn’t pull out the win.
Smith was back on the bump for the final game of the series, and she continued to struggle. She gave up two home runs right off the bat, giving Indiana the 3-0 lead. But, the offense bailed her out in the third inning, as Wilkison tripled, then scored on a wild pitch before Hackenbracht hit a two-run home run of her own to even up the score at three.
@sam_hack24 just said, "Tie game!"#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/CyxFdqKAE0— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) April 2, 2023
But, the bottom half of the inning was just as productive for the Hoosiers, as a bases-clearing double gave them the lead once again. Ruck came in to pitch in the fourth and struck out the only two batters she faced. Her offense gave her some support, as Hackenbracht’s RBI double and Noury’s RBI single put the Buckeyes within one.
Ruck gave up two runs off three hits, one of them being the long ball, in the bottom of the inning. However, Ohio State wasn’t done yet as freshman catcher Hannah Church led off the top of the sixth with her first collegiate home run! This made it 8-6, but Ruck gave up two more home runs in the sixth to further the Hoosiers’ lead.
The Bucks scored one run in the seventh by way of some crafty base running, but that’s the only run they would get as they fell to Indiana for a third time this weekend, 10-7.
Overall, this was definitely one of the toughest opponents they have run up against all season. Indiana’s offense is clearly extremely powerful, as they jacked seven home runs across three games and 33 runs in total. Ohio State’s offense kept up for the most part, but both Smith and Ruck had pretty rough weekends.
The Buckeyes will look to get back in the win column Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Ohio University, which will be streamed on BTN+.