February 25, 2022

Buckeyes Drop Extra-Innings Pitchers’ Duel to No. 7 Virginia Tech, 1-0

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COLUMBUS, OhioNo. 25 Ohio State battled No. 7 Virginia Tech pitch for pitch on Friday, taking the Hokies to extra innings for eventually falling 1-0 in nine innings to open play at the Carolina Classic on the campus of South Carolina.

The Short Story
Graduate student Lexie Handley matched Virginia Tech’s Keely Rochard, a first team All-American in 2021, over nine innings, striking out six Hokies while allowing just four hits. Virginia Tech, however, pushed the only run of the game across the plate in the top of the ninth inning via a two-out double from Mackenzie Lawter.

In the bottom of the ninth, Ohio State got back-to-back singles from Tegan Cortelletti and pinch hitter Taylor Pack to start a rally. After a sacrifice, runners were at second and third with one out. The Hokies, however, got a strike out and ground out to end the threat.

A Pitchers Duel
Handley, who now has 47 strikeouts in 38.1 innings this season, did now allow a Virginia Tech base runner until the third inning on an infield single. The Hokies didn’t put a base runner in scoring position again until the fifth inning, and in the seventh Handley worked around a lead-off error to strand the potential go-ahead run at second base.

In addition to being effective, Handley was also efficient. Her nine-inning outing came on just 94 pitches.

On the other side, Virginia Tech’s Keely Rochard struck out 17 batters and the Buckeyes got their first hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning via a two-out single off the bat of Meggie Otte.

 This and That

  • Friday was Ohio State’s first extra-inning game of the young season and its third decided by one run (the Buckeyes are 2-1 in those games).
  • Last season, the Buckeyes played 13 one-run games and were 8-5 in those contests.
  • In addition to six strikeouts, Handley only walked one batter and pitched a career-high nine innings.

What’s Next
The Buckeyes will play twice tomorrow, beginning with a 3:30 contest against host South Carolina. That game will be carried on SEC Network+ (subscription required). Following that game, at approximately 6 p.m., Ohio State is slated to play Troy.

Links to live stats for both of those games are available on the schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. For updated news and information on the Buckeyes, follow Ohio State softball on Twitter at @OhioStateSB.