JACKSONVILLE, Fla. No. 30 Ohio State picked up two wins Saturday to improve to 6-0 on the season. The Buckeyes defeated North Florida, 10-8, in the nightcap after defeating George Mason, 11-5, earlier in the day.
Against North Florida, Ohio State scored eight two-out runs while amassing double digit runs and hits for the third consecutive game. Ohio State built a 9-3 lead through its half of the sixth inning on the strength of four hits and three RBI from Zach Hurley and two hits and three RBI from Dan Burkhart.
North Florida (2-6), behind four home runs for the game and a five-run sixth inning, made it a game of it at 10-8 heading into the eighth inning. The Ospreys loaded the bases with one out, but Jake Hale got a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning and preserve the Buckeyes’ two-run lead.
After holding the Buckeyes in check in the top of the ninth, the Ospreys came right back and put two men on in the top of the ninth with nobody out. But Hale got an infield pop out, a ground-out force play at second off a heads-up play by Matt Streng, and a strikeout to secure his second save of the season and 13th of his career. Hale pitched the final 1.2 innings.
Starter Dean Wolosiansky got the win with 5.2 innings of work. The sophomore picked up his first win this year after allowing eight hits and six earned runs while striking out six and walking three.
Hurley led a spirited offensive attack for Ohio State with a career-high five hits and career-high four RBI. The junior from Cincinnati had a double, triple and three singles. Michael Arp had a couple of hits, a run and an RBI. A total of eight different Buckeyes had either an RBI or a run scored in the game.
In the first game Ohio State broke open a tight game with six runs off five hits in the fifth inning to defeat George Mason, 11-5. Hurley, enjoying a birthday weekend with the team along with pitcher Josh Barrera, led off the fifth with a home run to right field to increase Ohio State’s lead to 2-0. Then with one out in the inning, six consecutive Buckeyes reached base, including run-scoring singles by Burkhart, Cory Rupert, Ryan Dew and Arp. An RBI groundout by Tyler Engle drove in the sixth run of the inning and the Buckeyes cruised from there.
Starting pitcher Alex Wimmers went 5.2 innings to pick up his second win of the season. The sophomore from Cincinnati scattered eight hits, allowed just one earned run, struck out seven and walked three.
Wimmers wasn’t quite as sharp as he was one week ago in a win over Notre Dame, but he was effective when he needed to be. He got out of a two-out, bases loaded jam in the second inning and he loaded them up in the third, as well, with a hit and a pair of walks. With one out, he struck out Shane Davis and he followed with a ground out to get out of the inning without surrendering a run.
Ohio State grabbed the lead, 1-0, in the fourth as Rupert reached on a one-out infield single and Dew moved him to third with a perfect, hit-and-run single to left. Arp followed with a line drive single to right to drive in the first run of the game and the first run this season off Kevin Crum, a solid freshman starter for the Patriots who lasted 4.1 innings and dropped to 1-1 on the year.
Wimmers’ first easy inning he struck out the side in the fourth sparked the Buckeyes because one-half inning later they sent 10 men to the plate in the decisive, six-run fifth.
Dew homered for a second consecutive game, a solo shot in the seventh, for his third hit of the game. He led a middle of the lineup attack as the No. 6 hitter Rupert, No. 7 Dew and No. 8 Arp each had multiple hits against the Patriots while combining for four runs scored and five RBI. Arp had three hits and Michael Stephens had his first three-hit game as a Buckeye while contributing a pair of runs and steals, respectively.
The Buckeyes conclude their four-games-in-Jacksonville weekend by taking on Connecticut at 11 a.m. at Harmon Stadium…weather permitting.
Game Notes from Florida, Volume V…