LEESBURG, Fla. – The Ohio State softball team bounced back from its first setback of the year in resounding fashion, topping Stetson 10-2 in the second game of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex in Leesburg, Fla. The Buckeyes dropped the first game of the day by a score of 3-2 to Liberty.
The Buckeyes are now 6-1 on the season and finish their five-game weekend tomorrow morning with a 9 a.m. game versus North Carolina.
Game One: Liberty 3, Ohio State
Trailing 3-0 in the sixth inning, Ohio State put together a late-game rally that fell just short. The Buckeyes string together two runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a two-run RBI single from Niki Carver and had a runner on base in the seventh inning but couldn’t push across the tying run.
Liberty’s runs came in the second and third innings but the Flames were held off the scoreboard the rest of the afternoon. That was due in large part to the pitching of Lexie Handley, who allowed just two hits over 5.0 innings in relief. She struck out five in those five innings, bringing her weekend K count to 18 over 12 innings of work.
Avery Clark produced two of Ohio State’s five hits. Other contributors were freshman Melina Wilkison, who was 1-for-3 and scored a run. Mariah Rodriguez also had a single.
Game Two: Ohio State 10, Stetson 2
The Buckeyes didn’t have to wait long to wake up their bats after the loss in game one of the day. Specifically, a five-run second inning against the Hatters gave Ohio State an early 5-0 lead and plenty of cushion for starting pitcher Emily Ruck, who pitched six innings and picked up her second win of the year.
The five-run second inning was highlighted by an RBI triple off the bat of Wilkison and a two-run home run – her first of the season – for senior Meggie Otte.
Stetson would chip away at the Ohio State, cutting to 5-2 with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ruck was able to routinely work out of trouble, however, as Stetson left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning and two on in the third.
Ohio State busted the game open with two runs in the sixth inning and then tacked on two more in the seventh via a Tegan Cortelletti RBI single and sacrifice fly from Jaycee Ruberti.
Ruck struck out five over her six innings of work and gave way in the seventh to Jessica Ross, who had a struck out to finish off the game. One week after setting a new career high for innings pitched, Ruck topped that on Saturday and improved to 2-0 on the year.
The 11-hit offensive attack was highlighted by four players – Wilkison, Otte, Clark and Ruberti – who had multiple hits. Otte drove in three while Ruberti had two RBI. In total, six different players drove in runs.