May 15, 2022

Buckeyes Earn NCAA Tournament Berth, Head to Knoxville Regional


2022 Season Stats // 2022 Schedule & Results // 2022 Roster // Tournament Bracket

COLUMBUS, Ohio For the fifth time since 2016, the Ohio State softball team is headed to the NCAA Tournament.

The Buckeyes learned their postseason fate on Sunday evening as the 64-team field was unveiled on ESPN. Ohio State will be the No. 2 seed in the Knoxville Regional and will take on Oregon State in the first game of the double elimination regional on Friday. The other game will feature 11th-seeded Tennessee vs. Campbell.

Under head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly, Ohio State has now made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and now 2022. There was no NCAA Tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and last year, the Big Ten played conference games only. The stretch of five regional berths in seven seasons is the best in program history.

The 2022 Buckeyes have been led by a balanced offense that features five everyday starters who bat of .300. As the team, Ohio State possesses the Big Ten’s fourth-best overall batting average at .294. First team All-Big Ten honoree Niki Carver is hitting .350 in 50 games with 10 home runs and 32 RBI.

Ohio State’s home run leader is junior Sam Hackenbracht, who was a second team All-Big Ten selection and checks in with a .377 average to go along with 14 home runs and 48 RBI. Freshman Melina Wilkson (.331, 10 doubles and four home runs), McKenzie Bump (.330, 25 RBI, eight doubles) and Jaycee Ruberti (.309, 14 RBI, 36 runs scored) help to give the Buckeyes a well-rounded offensive attack.

In the circle, graduate student Lexie Handley is 22-9 on the season with a 2.44 ERA and a school single-season record 259 strikeouts in 212.0 innings. Sophomore Emily Ruck (3.09 ERA, 57 Ks in 54.0 innings) and Allison Smith (3.68 ERA, 64 Ks in 64.2 innings) round out the pitching staff.

The Buckeyes enter the NCAA Tournament with a 35-15 overall record. They advanced to the semifinals on the Big Ten Tournament last week, knocking off third-seeded Illinois, 5-1, in the quarterfinals. Aided by one of the toughest schedules in the conference, the Buckeyes entered the weekend with the Big Ten’s third-highest RPI at No. 25. They played 30 games this year against teams with an RPI of 75 or better.

This spring is the fourth consecutive full season (2020 and 2021 excluded) that Ohio State has reached 35 or more wins. This year, they owns victories over two SEC teams – South Carolina and Kentucky – and four Top 25 opponents (Kentucky, South Florida twice and Michigan).