STATE COLLEGE, Pa. Eric Best pitched a career-best 6.0 innings and Matt Streng hit two home runs in a game for the second time this season to lead No. 16 Ohio State to a 12-2 win over Penn State Saturday at Medlar Field. Ohio State is now 20-3 on the season and 2-0 in the Big Ten. Penn State is 13-10 and 0-2.
Best scattered six hits, gave up just two earned runs and struck out four while improving his record to 4-0 this season with the win. Drew Rucinski closed out the seventh inning and Jake Hale retired all six batters he faced in the final two innings and finished his 12th consecutive game without allowing a run.
Streng, who hit two home runs against UConn March 1, hit a solo shot in the third and a two-run blast in the seventh that gave the Buckeyes a 7-2 lead. He also had a single in the sixth (and four RBI) to lead an 18-hit Ohio State attack. Ryan Dew had four singles and scored two runs. Dan Burkhart, Justin Miller, Zach Hurley and Michael Stephens also had multi-hit games with two apiece. Streng (three runs scored) and Tyler Engle, Burkhart and Hurley (two runs apiece) joined Dew with multi-runs scored. Engle also had a pair of RBI.
Ohio State scored a run in the first and another in the third to take a 2-0 lead. Hurley scored from second base on a Stephens first-inning single and Streng sent a Scott Kelley (3-3 with the loss) pitch deep into the right field stands for a solo home run in the third, his fourth of the season.
Hurley saved a run in the fourth inning by ranging to his left into deep left center field to make a diving grab of a Jordan Steranka liner. Cory Wine would have scored from second had Hurley not made the play that preserved a 2-0 lead.
Best cruised through the first four innings by allowing only two hits and getting four strikeouts. He issued his only two walks of the game with one out in the fifth and he gave up his first run when Bobby Jacobs singled. But he got the next two hitters on ground outs to close the fifth inning with Ohio State still in the lead at 2-1.
Three consecutive two-out singles by Dew, Tyler Engle and Streng in the sixth inning, plus a throwing error, netted two more runs for the Buckeyes and increased the lead from 2-1 to a less-tenuous 4-1. Engle’s hit was the key hit. Making only his seventh start of the season due to injury and with just 14 at-bats, he laced a single to center to score Burkhart, who had singled earlier in the inning, from second. When the throw to the plate sailed high, both Dew and Engle moved up with Dew eventually scoring on Streng’s wicked-bounce shot off the first baseman’s chest.
Three more runs in the eighth and five more in the ninth iced the victory. Streng’s home run was the big blow in the eighth inning and the ninth-inning runs were compliments of three singles, two walks and an error.
Game Notes and Good Stuff: