Lexie Handley pitches Ohio State Buckeyes past Illinois in Big Ten softball quarterfinals

Staff reports

Lexie Handley pitched seven strong innings and Ohio State defeated third-seeded Illinois 5-1 on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten softball tournament in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Buckeyes, seeded No. 6, will face No. 2 Nebraska at 2 p.m. Friday. Nebraska defeated No. 7 Penn State 3-1 on Thursday.

Handley allowed six hits as OSU improved to 35-14. Melina Wilkison homered in the seventh to cap the Buckeyes' scoring.

The Buckeyes jumped to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Kaitlyn Farley singled and moved to second when Jaycee Ruberti walked with two outs. Farley scored when Sam Hackenbracht reached on a throwing error.

After Niki Carver was intentionally walked, McKenzie Bump singled in Ruberti and Hackenbracht. Carver then scored to make it 4-0 when Kami Kortokrax reached on a fielding error.

The Illini had one run on three hits in the seventh.