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COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was fitting that the third and deciding game of this weekend’s series between Ohio State and Michigan was a pitcher’s duel.
Just like they had on Friday and Saturday, Ohio State and Michigan State traded big performances in the circle. Today, however, graduate student Lexie Handley had the answers when Michigan State threatened in the seventh inning and the Buckeyes found just enough offense to back up her one-hitter.
The result was a 2-1 Ohio State victory that gave them a series win in East Lansing and improved their overall record to 23-7 (4-2 Big Ten). Michigan State is now 20-15, 1-5.
The Short Story
The Buckeyes face Michigan State ace Ashley Miller for the second straight day. Miller entered Sunday’s game with a 0.81 ERA on the season. Ohio State managed five hits off her, but was finally able to put two runs on the board in the top of the sixth inning via a McKenzie Bump single and Kami Kortokrax sacrifice fly.
Michigan State threatened in the seventh inning with runners on first and second with two outs, but Handley calmly struck out Kendall Kates for the final out of the game on a 2-2 pitch.
How the Runs Were Scored
- A scoreless tie was finally broken in the top of the sixth inning when Ohio State’s first two batters – Jaycee Ruberti and Sam Hackenbracht – reach base via a single and infield error, respectively.
- Niki Carver then advanced the runners via a sacrifice bunt, leading to a single by McKenzie Bump that scored Ruberti.
- The next batter, Kami Kortokrax, flied out deep enough to center field to score Cortelletti on a sacrifice fly, which would prove to be the game-winning run.
- Michigan State got its first two batters in the bottom of the sixth on via a walk and hit by pitch. A one-out sacrifice fly scored Courtney Callahan but pinch hitter Macy Lee struck out swinging to strand a runner at second base.
- The Spartans broke up Handley’s no-hit bid with a lead-off double in the seventh inning. The next two batters – Alexis Barroso and Caitie Ladd – struck out swinging before Zaquai Dumas worked an eight-pitch walk.
- That set the stage for Handley to get the final out of the game, striking out Kendall Kates on a 2-2 pitch with the tying run stranded at second base. It was Handley’s ninth and final strikeout of the game.
- Hannah Bryan started her third consecutive game behind the plate on Sunday and threw a runner out attempting to steal in the third inning.
This and That
- For the week, Handley went 3-0 with three complete games, two complete game shutouts, a 0.31 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 22 innings. She allowed just 10 hits in 22.2 innings and one earned run.
- Kami Kortokrax hit .400 for the week with four hits in 10 at-bats and an RBI today.
- Ohio State has won five of its last six games at Michigan State’s Secchia Stadium. It swept a three-game series there in 2019 and took two of three this season.
- The Buckeyes are 7-3 in true road games this season.
- Sunday was the sixth one-run game of Ohio State’s season. It is 3-3 in those contests.
- Two of Ohio State’s five hits on the day came from Melina Wilkison, who was 2-for-4 on the afternoon and is hitting .414 over the last 10 games.
Fans have five opportunities to see Ohio State in Columbus this week. The Buckeyes host Penn State for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Next weekend (Friday-Sunday), the Buckeyes host No. 9 Northwestern at Buckeye Field. Admission and parking is free.
Tuesday’s doubleheader with Penn State will air live on BTN. All three games with Northwestern are set to be streamed on B1G+.
For schedule updates, follow Ohio State softball on Twitter at @OhioStateSB and bookmark the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.