March 21, 2023

Buckeyes Earn 4-3 Walk-Off Win In Home Opener


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COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State softball extended its winning streak to 12 games in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, topping Kent State 4-3 thanks to a walk-off hit and error that scored two runs to help the Buckeyes erase a 3-1 seventh-inning deficit.

With the win, Ohio State improves to 18-7 while Kent State is now 6-16. The Buckeyes’ 12 game winning streak is its longest in 17 years, since it also won 12 consecutive games in 2006.

The Short Story
Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Ohio State’s rally started when Destinee Noury singled to begin the bottom half of the inning. Two batters later, Meggie Otte singled through the left side and a sacrifice fly from Jaycee Ruberti scored a run to cut the lead to 3-2.

Hackenbracht, the next batter, hit a shallow fly ball that landed between the right fielder and second baseman. That scored Kirsten Eppele, the tying run, and a throwing error into the infield allowed Hannah Church to plate the winning run.

After Kent State took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning on an RBI double, the Buckeyes answered back to tie the game at 1-1 in the home half of the sixth when Mariah Rodriguez grounded out but scored Skylar Limon, who had pinch run for Jaycee Ruberti.

Smith Strikes Out 15
Three days after setting a career high by fanning 14 batters in a 5-2 win over Presbyterian, starting pitcher Allison Smith was even better on Tuesday. Her 15 strikeouts are a new career best. And no three were bigger than in the sixth inning, when she Kent State loaded the bases with nobody out in a 1-0 game. She was able to fan the next three and keep the Golden Flashes off the scoreboard.

Smith now has 114 strikeouts in 81.2 innings on the season. In her last five starts, she’s 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA and .217 batting average against.

Buckeye This and That

  • Ohio State and Kent State were meeting for the first time in nearly six years, since a 3-0 Buckeye win on May 3, 2017.
  • Melina Wilkison, the reigning Big Ten co-Player of the Week, extended her hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning double.
  • Ohio State is 7-1 this season in one-run games. It was its third win this season when tied or trailing after six innings.
  • Ohio State has won seven consecutive home openers and is 9-1 since 2013 in their first game at home under head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly.

What’s Next
The first Big Ten series of the season awaits Ohio State this weekend, as it will host Michigan Friday-Sunday at Buckeye Field. The series gets underway at 5 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 2 p.m. game on Saturday and the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.

All three games will be streamed live on BTN+ and a link to live stats will be available on the schedule page of