COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State used a five-run rally in the sixth inning Sunday to come from behind and defeat Minnesota, 8-7, at Bill Davis Stadium. With the win, Ohio State improves to 16-9 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. Minnesota falls to 13-14 and 3-5.
Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s brought out 1,631 fans, but the impressive crowd didn’t have much to cheer about early in the game. Minnesota scored two in the first inning and another in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Michael Kvasnicka had a two-run single and Matt Nohelty had an RBI single for the Golden Gophers.
The Buckeyes rallied in the fourth. Ryan Dew hit a two-run double to left to bring the Buckeyes to within 3-2. Scoring on the play was Cory Rupert, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and Ben Toussant, who walked.
The Golden Gophers extended their lead to 4-2 with a run in the sixth. Jeremy Chlan drove home Derek McCallum from second with a two-out single.
Ohio State’s bats came alive in the sixth inning with five runs off five hits to take a 7-4 lead. Singles by Rupert and J.B. Shuck, who came into the game to hit as the designated hitter after starting the game on the mound, and a walk to Dew loaded the bases with no outs. Dan Burkhart reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Rupert, and first-pitch-swinging Tyler Engle singled to left to score Shuck. Cory Kovanda then hit a bouncing single up the middle that scored Burkhart and Engle, making the score 6-4. Justin Miller drove in Tony Kennedy with a sacrifice fly to right, making the score 7-4.
Minnesota tied the game with one swing of the bat in the seventh. Jeff DeSmidt hit a three-run home run off Drew Rucinski, who replaced Shuck to start the inning, to tie the score at seven. Eric Best, who has been hot of late, then relieved and got a fly-ball out and a double play grounder to end the inning.
Ohio State came right back in its half of the seventh to re-gain the lead, 8-7. Burkhart hit a double to center that scored Dew, who reached on a single.
Shuck started for Ohio State and pitched 6.0 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Best allowed just one hit and no runs in 3.0 innings to earn the victory, improving his record to 1-1.
Engle had three hits to lead the Buckeye offense, and Dew and Miller each had two hits. Burkhart, Dew, and Kovanda had two RBI apiece.
Seth Rosin started for Minnesota and allowed four runs on six hits in 5.0 innings. Reliever Chauncy Handran (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs in one inning of work.
Game and Series Notes:
Freshman Ryan Meade, who has a 17-game hitting streak, missed all four games of the series due to illness.
Ryan Dew and Justin Miller led the team with four RBI apiece in the series. Cory Kovanda and Dan Burkhart each had three.
Michael Arp hit .750 (3-for-4). Cory Rupert, Kovanda and Miller hit .429, .417 and .417, respectively.
The series win was the third all-time for the Buckeyes versus Minnesota. Minnesota has six series wins.
Ohio State travels to East Lansing for a four-game set this weekend at Oldsmobile Park. Minnesota is at Northwestern.
Ohio State is 15-8 all-time vs. Minnesota at Bill Davis Stadium.