February 28, 2021
Buckeyes Split Third Consecutive Doubleheader in Florida
Ohio State takes game one from Nebraska, 4-2, behind another gem from Payton Buresch
LEESBURG, Fla. – The third day of Ohio State’s opening-weekend at the Sleepy Hollow Complex in Leesburg, Fla. produced similar results. For the third consecutive day, the Buckeyes (3-3) won the opening game of a doubleheader, this time topping Nebraska 4-2. The Cornhuskers (3-3) took game two, 2-1, and Ohio State finished its six-game trip with three wins and three losses.
Game One: Ohio State 4, Nebraska 2
The Buckeyes used another gem from pitcher Payton Buresch and two runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, to earn a 4-2 victory in the first game of the day.
Buresch scattered just three hits over seven innings and extended her streak of consecutive innings without giving up an earned run to 16.1 before Nebraska’s Tristen Edwards hit an inside-the-park home run with one out in the top of the seventh.
All the offense Ohio State would need came in the top of the fifth when Mariah Rodriguez hit a two-run single up the middle with runners at second and third. Kaitlyn Coffman started the rally by drawing a leadoff walk, followed by a double off the bat of Sam Hackenbracht.
After Nebraska cut the lead in half to 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning, the Buckeyes tacked on two important insurance runs via an infield error by the Huskers with the bases loaded. The play scored Kristen Eppele and Niki Carver, who led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch.
In her last two starts, Buresch has pitched 17.1 innings, given up one earned run and struck out six.
In addition to Rodriguez’s clutch performance at the plate, the other star offensively was Sam Hackenbracht, who reached base in all three of her plate appearances. She drew one walk, was hit by a pitch and also had a double.
Game Two: Nebraska 2, Ohio State 1
Ohio State’s seventh-inning rally fell one run short in the nightcap on Sunday’s doubleheader. The Buckeyes trailed 2-0 entering the bottom half of the seventh, but had the tying run at third base and the winning run at second with two outs. A groundout, however, ended the game.
Taylor Pack started the rally with a leadoff double to left center, and after the next two batters were retired, Meggie Otte drove in pinch runner Lindsey Potter with an RBI single down the left field line. The next batter, Tegan Cortelletti, singled over the head of the third baseman, putting two in scoring position with two outs. Nebraska’s Courtney Wallace, who pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and no walks, induced a ground out to third base that ended the game.
In the circle for the Buckeyes, freshman Allison Smith went 6.1 innings and scattered four hits with five strikeouts. Just one of the two runs she allowed was earned.
At the plate, the top of Ohio State’s lineup – the 1-2-3-4 hitters – combined to collect five of the Buckeyes’ seven hits. Otte was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Weekend That Was
In 45.1 innings of action this weekend, Ohio State pitchers surrendered just 11 earned runs and held opponents to a .184 batting average. Buresch ended the six-game trip with a 0.88 ERA over 24.0 innings, 12 strikeouts and just seven walks.
In her first collegiate action, Smith went 18.1 innings and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning with a 2.29 ERA, a win and a save.
Ohio State is off next weekend and returns to Florida March 11-14 for six more games. The Buckeyes are slated to face Wisconsin for three games March 11-12 and Northwestern for three more March 13-14. All those games will also be played at the Sleepy Hollow Complex in Leesburg, Fla.
COURTESY OHIO STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS