May 19, 2021

Three Buckeyes Selected to All-Big Ten Teams


COLUMBUS, Ohio – A trio of Ohio State softball players took home conference honors on Wednesday as the Big Ten announced its postseason awards and all-conference teams. Sophomore Mariah Rodriguez was named first team All-Big Ten while classmate Sam Hackenbracht was a second-team choice. Freshman pitcher Allison Smith made the All-Freshman Team while senior Megan McMenemy was the Buckeyes’ Sportsmanship Award honoree.

Rodriguez, from Orange, Calif., finished fifth in the Big Ten with a .358 batting average and eighth with 48 total hits. She raised her batting average over 150 points from a COVID-shortened freshman season in 2020 and in the process led the Buckeyes with 17 multi-hit games. Over the final 10 games of the season, she had at least one hit in seven games and batted .368 with a home run as the Buckeyes went 6-4 with series wins over Illinois and Michigan State.

In her final at-bat of a 13-5 victory over Rutgers in April, Rodriguez hit her first collegiate home run to secure the six-inning walk-off victory. In her next at-bat of the following game, she hit another home run and finished the weekend series with a .375 average and .750 slugging percentage.

Rodriguez also had a stellar season defensively at second base. She finished with a .960 fielding percentage and totaled 110 putouts with 80 assists. Her play, along with the rest of the infield, helped the Buckeyes finish fourth nationally in double plays per game (0.60).

Hackenbracht, a Massillon, Ohio native, established herself as one of the league’s top power hitters in 2021. She finished second in the Big Ten with 12 home runs and second in slugging percentage (.727). A two-time Big Ten Player of the Week, Hackenbracht was third on the Buckeyes with 26 RBI and first in on-base percentage (.444).

In a series at Penn State April 3-4, Hackenbracht batted .833 with three home runs, eight RBI, a 2.333 slugging percentage and a .857 on-base percentage. Her highlight game came in the second game of a doubleheader on April 3 when she went 4-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI.

Three weeks later vs. Rutgers, Hackenbracht hit .778 with three home runs, five RBI, nine runs scored and a .867 on-base percentage. After hitting three home runs in her first eight at-bats of the series, Hackenbracht was intentionally walked five times over the final two games. For the season, she was intentionally walked 11 times.

Behind the plate, Hackenbracht threw out 10 base runners, which was the third-highest total among conference catchers.

Smith, a native of Champion, Ohio, led the Buckeyes this season in wins (12), complete games (10) and strikeouts (134). Her 2.95 ERA ranked as the 23rd best in the conference and the second-best among freshmen.

Smith’s 12 wins are tied for the sixth most ever among a freshmen pitcher at Ohio State and her 134 strikeouts are the fourth-most. She matched her career high of nine strikeouts three times this season: vs. Iowa (Feb. 26), vs. Rutgers (April 24) and at Illinois (May 7).

In a series at Illinois May 7-8, Smith pitched 14 innings with a 2-0 record, 1.00 earned run average and 11 strikeouts. She followed that up with a combined shutout last Sunday to help the Buckeyes to a 5-0 series-clinching win over Michigan State.

McMenemy, who graduated earlier this month with her degree in health and rehabilitation sciences, had the best statistical season of her career in 2021. She batted .263 with three home runs and 11 RBI while starting 18 of the 27 games that she played in.