CORAL GABLES, Fla. A trio of Ohio State pitchers, led by starter and winner Alex Wimmers (now 5-0), one-hit the No. 2 Miami Hurricanes and the Buckeye bats did more than enough to secure a 7-1 victory Tuesday before 1,755 fans at Alex Rodriguez Park. Ohio State, ranked 16th in the Collegiate Baseball poll, improves to 18-3 with the win while Miami, No. 2 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, falls to 18-5.
Wimmers, pitching on three days rest for the first time as a collegian, was a warrior, pitching 5.0 innings without allowing a base hit. He exited with the Buckeyes up, 6-1, with a first inning Miami run unearned and set up by two errors and a walk. Wimmers walked five and struck out two for the game.
He was replaced in the sixth by Drew Rucinski, who worked 3.0 innings with his only base runners the result of a first-batter-faced single and a walk allowed in the seventh.
Hale then came in and slammed the door shut on a win for the 11th time this season. He struck out two of the three batters he faced. In all, Hale and Rucinski faced 14 batters and allowed just one hit and one walk.
“We pitched Alex on three days rest and we didn’t expect that he was going to give us a complete game, but he competed and when he left in the fifth inning he hadn’t given up a hit,” Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. “We were also being very conscious of the fact that we have conference play this weekend at Penn State.
“So Drew Rucinski came in and gave us three quality innings and, most importantly, he was able to throw strikes with three pitches. And it’s great to see that Jake Hale has bitten into the idea that he wants to be our closer and he did a great job, too.
“Any time a team has confidence in a pitcher in the late innings, it really helps the psyche of the team and they play with much more confidence.”
Ohio State scored four times in the top of the third inning off five hits and one error to chase Miami starter Daniel Miranda (1-2) and claim a 4-1 lead. Ryan Dew and Matt Streng opened with doubles down the opposite lines to tie the score at 1-1. Zach Hurley singled and Cory Kovanda walked, and after both moved up on a nicely executed sac bunt by Michael Stephens, both scored on a soft, two-out single to right center field by Dan Burkhart, with Kovanda hustling and diving head first to beat the throw to the plate.
Four Buckeye errors through the first five innings hurt the team’s pride more than the score. Two first-inning errors allowed Miami to score without getting a hit. In the fourth inning, another error put the leadoff runner on board, but a 6-4-3 double play erased the error, and Wimmers was able to get another ground out to escape the inning with a 4-1 lead.
Another heads up play got the Buckeyes out of the fifth inning unscathed after Wimmers walked the leadoff batter. Cory Rupert leaped to snare a high line drive. He threw wide to first, but Matt Streng chased the ball down and fired a strike to Kovanda at second who tagged out the sliding runner.
Ohio State increased its lead to 6-1 off a two-run home run from Michael Arp his third of the season to deep left field in the top of the sixth inning. Also scoring on the play was Burkhart, who led off with a single.
Ohio State’s final run came off a throwing error by the Miami second baseman in the ninth. Arp peeled around from second to score after he walked and was sacrificed over by Ryan Dew.
For the game, Ohio State had seven runs, eight hits and four errors. The Hurricanes had one run off one hit and committed two errors.
Burkhart had two hits, an RBI and a run scored and Arp had two runs scored and two RBI to lead the Buckeyes’ offensively.
The Final Volume No. XVIII of 2009 Game Notes from Florida …