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Softball: Hackenbracht’s walk-off home run sends Buckeyes to next round


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If there is one thing you should know about the Ohio State softball team, it is that these women do not give up. They were down twice in this game by two runs, and climbed their way back to a 7-4 win against Rutgers. Let’s get right into it.

Head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly decided to go with Allison Smith as her starter today, and she cruised through the first two innings, going three up, three down in each. However, she ended up faltering in the third, walking the first two batters she faced before giving up a RBI double and RBI single. Emily Ruck came in for relief to get the final out of the inning.

Mariah Rodriguez said “hold my beer” and knocked in two runs of her own in the bottom half of the frame with a monster home run off the scoreboard to tie things up. Ruck proceeded to have a strong fourth inning before giving up a two-run single in the fifth to give the Scarlet Knights a 4-2 lead.

But the hero of today’s game, Sam Hackenbracht, hit the first of her two home runs of the day in the bottom of the fifth, a two-run blast to tie the game back up at 4-4.

Ruck held strong through the final two innings, leaving it up to her offense to walk it off in the bottom of the seventh, and that’s exactly what they did! Rodriguez led off with a groundout before Melina Wilkison reached on a walk. Then, Kami Kortokrax hit a routine ground ball to the Rutgers’ shortstop for a double play, but she bobbled it, so both Wilkison and Kortokrax were safe!

This was crucial, as it could’ve sent the game into extras if she successfully completed the double play. But alas, it did not happen so Hackenbracht came up to bat and called game on the first pitch she saw! From a certain camera angle it looked foul, but it was most definitely fair and her three-run blast gave the Buckeyes the win.

Hackenbracht went 4-for-4 with five RBI, including two home runs on the day. Ruck was solid in relief, pitching 4.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits and one walk.

The Buckeyes are back at it Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, squaring off against No. 3 seed Minnesota at noon on BTN. The Golden Gophers swept the Buckeyes in Columbus when the two teams met earlier this year, but with the way the Bucks look right now, I would put them against anyone in the Big Ten!