After getting swept at Indiana last weekend, the Buckeyes were looking forward to home-field advantage and getting back on track. Ohio State (now 22-13) fell in its first game to Rutgers (now 30-13) Friday before a game full of fireworks Saturday righted the ship for the Bucks.
The game started just like it typically has the past few weeks— with a Melina Wilkison home run. This was her fifth home run in the past six games. Also important to note, this was Wilkison’s 100th career hit— in just her 83rd game, as she is only a sophomore.
Then, the next inning, second baseman Kaitlyn Farley showed off her power with a grand slam, putting the Buckeyes up 5-0 early on.
Bases loaded for @kaitlynfarley03.— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) April 7, 2023
Bases are loaded no more.
OSU 5, RU 0 | #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/IbYgdrAjf8
On the defensive side, pitcher Allison Smith started to struggle in the third. She loaded the bases, then walked in a run, then hit a batter to score another run. The fourth inning wasn’t any better, as she gave up a three-run home run to the Scarlet Knights, as they tied the game at five.
The fatal blow came in the sixth inning as Smith gave up a solo homer to give Rutgers the lead which it would not relinquish. However, there was some controversy in the bottom of the seventh. Kami Kortokrax reached on a walk, then made it home after Sam Hackenbracht hit a double to center. Kortokrax was initially called safe, which would’ve tied the game, but after video review, the call was reversed and she was called out.
Heartbreaking way to lose for the Buckeyes.
After five-straight losses, Ohio State desperately needed to get back in the win column, and that is exactly what it did Saturday after a couple of key home runs blasted it to victory.
Farley picked up where she left off Friday and led off the bottom of the first with a home run to get the Buckeyes on the board first. Emily Ruck was on the bump for Ohio State and absolutely cruised in this one. Her lone mistake came in the third inning when she gave up a two-run home run to give Rutgers the lead, but her offense would bail her out.
Wilkison doubled in the fifth inning, then advanced to third on a throwing error, now perfectly set up in scoring position for Hackenbracht. The clutch designated player lined out to center field which allowed Wilkison to score the tying run. The next inning, Jaycee Ruberti called game as her solo home run would end up being the winning run for the Buckeyes.
This tie game is tied no more thanks to Jaycee Ruberti!#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/pOkKmgSOil— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) April 8, 2023
Ruck had a 1-2-3 seventh and threw a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits, four walks and four strikeouts.
Fun Facts (from ohiostatebuckeyes.com)
- Five of Ohio State’s last eight games have been decided by one run. For the season, the Buckeyes are 9-4 in one-run games.
- Melina Wilkison reached base for the 27th consecutive game. She also extended her hitting streak to seven games.
- Ohio State played in front of a crowd of 1,000+ for the third consecutive game.
The softball team is certainly gaining some traction in Columbus, and rightly so! They play their rubber match against Rutgers today at noon, and it is streaming on BTN+. So, while you are chowing down on your Easter candy, kick back and watch some softball!