The Bucks are hot, as they say.
The Ohio State softball team built upon its first-round victory over Purdue on Wednesday by following it up with a 5-1 win over No. 3 seeded Illinois on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Big Ten softball tournament.
For the second-straight game of the tournament, the Buckeyes struck first. Both teams went scoreless through the first two innings, but the Illini committed a two-out error in the top of the third inning that proved to be costly. Instead of getting out of the inning, Illinois gave OSU a second life that it made good on, plating four runs in the inning to jump ahead 4-0.
Sam Hackenbracht got it started on a grounder that was thrown away with two on. It led to one run and kept the inning going for McKenzie Bump who hustled out an infield single that scored two more on another throwing error. The Illini then committed its third error of the inning when Kami Kortokrax dribbled a ball that the shortstop couldn’t handle, scoring Niki Carver.
Things remained scoreless until the top of the seventh inning behind another strong showing by Lexie Handley until Melina Wilkinson launched a solo shot to give Ohio State a 5-0 lead. Illinois would add one run in the bottom of the inning, but it was too little too late.
𝙎𝙀𝙀 𝙔𝘼 𝙄𝙉 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙎𝙀𝙈𝙄𝙎
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) May 12, 2022
With the win, the Buckeyes will now head into tomorrow with an opportunity to win a game to get to the tournament championship game. They will face off with No. 2 seed Nebraska at 2 pm ET. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.