STATE COLLEGE, Pa. It was a nasty day cold with a semi-constant drizzle and not a very pretty game 18 combined walks and 10 pitchers and Penn State made the most of the situation by taking the third and final game of this Big Ten series, 15-11, over Ohio State Sunday at Medlar Field.
The Nittany Lions countered a five-run Ohio State fifth inning, which gave OSU an 8-7 lead, with six runs in its half of the fifth and two more in the eighth to improve to 14-10 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten. Ohio State, No. 16 nationally, had its three-game win streak snapped and drops to 20-4 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten.
Ohio State started two-time Big Ten pitcher of the week Alex Wimmers, but the talented sophomore managed just 2.1 innings and was followed on the mound by Andrew Armstrong, Theron Minium, Drew Rucinski and Jake Hale.
Early on it was a pedestrian, 2-1, game entering the bottom of the third inning with Ohio State in the lead thanks to a two-out, Cory Kovanda double that scored Matt Streng and Zach Hurley.
Wimmers had worked in the drizzle with a man on and nobody out in the first and second innings, allowing just one second inning run on a weak grounder to third that ended up ricocheting off the bag for an RBI hit.
The drizzle, which had stopped for Ohio State’s third inning at-bat, returned and Penn State loaded the bases with one out on a walk, bloop single and a hit-by-pitch. Another walk tied the score and when Ben Heath cleared the bases with a double to right center field, Wimmers’ day was done.
Armstrong came in but when the third inning had ended, the Nittany Lions had scored six runs off just two hits, but had benefited from six walks and the hit batsmen to take a 7-2 lead.
Ohio State came back. Tyler Engle had a two-out, RBI single in the fourth to bring the Buckeyes to within 7-3. When Michael Stephens spanked a double to right center in the fifth to score Hurley and Kovanda, who had walked and reached on a sweet bunt single, respectively, there was a new ball game at 7-5. Dan Burkhart followed with a single to right center that scored Stephens, made the score 7-6, and chased Penn State starter Calvin Brumley.
Michael Arp drew a walk off reliever Mike Lorentson and Ryan Dew singled to load the bases. Engle followed with a walk that tied the score and then Matt Streng walked for an 8-7 Ohio State lead and a successful comeback for the time being from five runs down.
Penn State responded with a six-run fifth inning off five hits to take a 13-8 lead. The big hit was a two-run double by Michael Glantz.
Scoring in its fourth consecutive inning, the Buckeyes got two runs back in the sixth off a Michael Arp sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Dew.
After Rucinski set the Penn State hitters down in order in the sixth, Ohio State scored one in the seventh an RBI single by Stephens to creep to within 13-11. To help the cause, Rucinski had a second consecutive 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to keep the Buckeyes within striking distance.
A second comeback in this marathon game wouldn’t happen, though. Ohio State went down in order in the eighth and had two runners on in the ninth, but couldn’t score.
Kovanda led Ohio State offensively with four hits, two runs and two RBI. Stephens had two hits and three RBI and four other Buckeyes had multi-hit games as the Buckeyes had 15 hits. Penn State scored its 15 runs off 12 hits.
Reliever David Lutz pitched 2.0 innings to pick up the win and improve to 3-0. Ryan Ignas his second save by striking out the two batters he faced in the ninth with men aboard. Reliever Theron Minium gets the loss (0-1).
Game Notes and Good Stuff: