Ohio State drops two games against Michigan in a three-game series

Ohio State softball infielders gather before the Ohio State-Indiana game on March 25. Ohio State won 6-2. Credit: Katie Good | For the lantern

Michigan emerged victorious against the Ohio State softball team after a display of impressive throwing and grit over the weekend.

Graduate left-hander Lexie Handley pitched two full games while picking up a win, while Michigan senior right-hander Alex Storako also pitched two games while going 1-1.

Game 1

Freshman outfielder Melina Wilkison had a weekend herself, starting with her first at bat on Friday. She took the fourth pitch she saw over the left center field wall, giving the Buckeyes (28-12, 8-7 Big Ten) an early lead.

Michigan (29-14, 9-7 Big Ten) took the lead late in the fourth inning, when fifth-year infielder Taylor Bump hit a solo home run to start the frame. Junior utility Audrey LeClair scored after reaching a single and advancing on a steal and another single, then went through home plate due to an error.

The Buckeyes opened wide the top of the fifth frame, scoring four runs on three hits. With bases loaded, senior infielder Niki Carver was hit by a pitch to score the tying run. Second-year infielder McKenzie Bump hit a single to bat in another run, then first-year infielder Kami Kortokrax hit a sacrificial fly to score second-year outfielder Kirsten Eppele. Senior outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman scored a single to score Carver and give Ohio State a 5-2 lead.

Junior outfielder Tegan Cortelletti hit an RBI single the next inning to add another insurance run and help the Buckeyes win 6-2.

Handley dominated Friday’s game, pitching all seven innings while allowing just six hits and two runs, striking out 13. The southpaw hit a career milestone of 500 strikeouts and earned his 16th victory of the season.

Game 2

After a close game, the Wolverines prevailed in the bottom of the seventh inning in walk-off mode.

The Buckeyes came first on the board in the second inning. Senior outfielder Meggie Otte singled down the middle to score Carver. After that, both teams’ offenses were quiet until Michigan’s picked up in the fifth quarter.

Senior outfielder Lexie Blair picked the right side to start a run and tie the ball game. Graduate utility Melina Livingston hit a sacrificial fly to tackle the go-ahead, making it 2-1 at Michigan.

A brace from junior receiver Sam Hackenbracht scored two runs as the Buckeyes regained their lead in the top of the seventh inning. However, in the bottom half of the frame, Wolverines could not be contained as Taylor Bump tripled to score the points to give them the 4-3 victory.

Handley pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs before sophomore right-hander Allison Smith came in relief, allowing two hits and a run.

Game 3

Ohio State scored its four runs in the first inning on Sunday but allowed five on the far side of the ball to give Michigan the series win.

With bases loaded, Kortokrax chose a single, scoring two runs on an error. Otte reached on an error, which gave the Buckeyes two more points and a 4-0 early lead.

Michigan responded immediately, when senior utility Hannah Carson hit a sacrificial fly to bring the Wolverines two steps closer to cutting the Buckeyes’ lead as two runs were scored on an error.

After a first hat-trick by graduate outfielder Kristina Burkhardt, she scored after Blair retired to the ground late in the third inning.

Smith came in relief from her sophomore teammate Emily Ruck in the fourth frame with two runners. She gave up a brace to Blair, who scored both runs, giving Michigan the lead they wouldn’t give up.

Handley was perfect in the bottom of the sixth in addition to allowing a walk.

Storako was stellar when she came in relief in the second set. She pitched the remaining six innings while allowing only three hits, preventing the Buckeyes from making a comeback.

Ohio State is back in action in Columbus on Tuesday, playing a double against Penn State starting at 2 p.m.

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