COLUMBUS, Ohio – Big Ten play for the 2022 season was ushered in on Friday with a cold and blustery day at Buckeye Field, where Ohio State and Indiana split a doubleheader. The Buckeyes took the first game, 6-2, behind a 12-strikeout performance from Lexie Handley. Indiana was able to get the second game, winning 17-5 in five innings.
Ohio State is now 19-6 on the season while Indiana is 17-7. The rubber game of the series will be played tomorrow at Buckeye Field beginning at 1 p.m.
The Short Story
Handley threw a game in the opening game of the day, scattering five hits over seven innings and walking just two. She was backed up offensively by a power display from Niki Carver and McKenzie Bump, who both hit home runs in the first inning as part of a four-run outburst.
In the second game, Indiana scored six times in the top of the third inning to break open a close game. The offensive bright spot for Ohio State was Avery Clark, who hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was her second round-tripper of the year and her eighth and ninth RBI.
Game One: Ohio State 6, Indiana 2
All the momentum early in the game belonged to Ohio State, which saw Handley strike out the side in the top of the first and then follow with a four-spot in the bottom of the inning.
The first batter of the game for Ohio State, Jaycee Ruberti, reached on an error and three batters later, Niki Carver made the Hoosiers pay with a two-out, two-run bomb that hit the scoreboard in right centerfield. The next batter, McKenzie Bump, followed with a solo shot – the first of her career – to give Ohio State a 3-0 lead. Kaitlyn Farley would finish the scoring in the first with a single to left field that scored Kami Kortokrax, who had reached on an error.
The Hoosiers would threaten in the top of the second, loading the bases with two outs following a walk. Pinch hitter Desiree Dufek struck out, however, ending the threat.
Ohio State put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning when Ruberti’s triple scored Melina Wilkison, who had reached on an error. Sam Hackenbracht also picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Indiana hit two solo home runs in the top of the seventh inning, but fittingly Handley picked up the game’s final two outs via strikeout for her ninth win of the season.
Game Two: Indiana 17, Ohio State 5
After Indiana struck first in the top of the first on a two-out RBI single, Ohio State was able to retake the lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a run-scoring fielder’s choice and bases loaded walk by Kortokrax.
Indiana, however, hit five home runs in the game, including a three-run shot in the second inning to take a 4-2 lead and another in the third to stretch the lead to 6-2.
The Buckeyes finished with five hits in the game, all of which came from different players. Clark’s two-run home run – which scored Niki Carver, who had reached earlier in the fifth inning when she was hit by a pitch – went to left field.
This and That