JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Every starter scored a run and nearly every starter hit a home run as Ohio State defeated Connecticut, 21-14, Saturday at Harmon Field to improve to 7-0 on the season. The 7-0 record ties for the third-best start ever for an Ohio State team with only two teams the 1917 team opened 10-0 and the 1991 won its first eight games opening the season with a better record.
The Buckeyes pounded 21 hits against five UConn pitchers. Seven of those hits were home runs, including five in the third inning that enable the Buckeyes to come back from a 4-2 deficit and take a 10-4 lead. The seven home runs increased the team’s total to 15 in 2009 after hitting only 19 the entire 2008 season.
In that third inning and with one out, Justin Miller hit a solo shot, Dan Burkhart walked and Cory Rupert homered. Then with two out, Michael Arp singled, Matt Streng homered over the scoreboard in left field, Zach Hurley singled, Cory Kovanda homered and then Michael Stephens homered. Single inning home run records are not tracked in the Ohio State media guide, so it is unsure whether a record was set.
Hurley added a two-run shot in the fourth inning and Streng, a sophomore from Upper Arlington in the starting lineup for only the second time, hit another towering blast in the seventh inning that made the score 21-13. Streng’s home runs were not only the first two of his career, but they came from both sides of the plate. No idea when if ever that’s been accomplished by a Buckeye.
Ohio State added five runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to maintain a goal-line-stand advantage over a Huskie team, now 3-3 on the year, that would not quit. Despite trailing by scores of 10-4 and 15-6, the Huskies kept swinging the bats against an array of Ohio State pitchers freshman Ross Oltorik made his first collegiate start and he was followed by Theron Minium, Jared Strayer and Drew Rucinski and closed the gap to 15-12 through six innings. The Huskies totaled 18 hits for the game with five players having two or more.
Minium, who entered the game in the bottom of the third with Ohio State trailing 4-2, picked up the win. He and Strayer joined Oltorik in seeing their first action of the 2009 season. Minium was pitching for the first time since the 2007 season as he red-shirted last year.
Jake Hale came in and finished his fifth game of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. UConn starter Greg Nappo gave up eight runs off eight hits in 2.2 innings and dropped to 1-1 with the loss.
Game Notes from Florida, Volume VI…