COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State and Penn State took part in a classic pitchers duel Sunday with the edge going to Ohio State’s J.B. Shuck, who pitched the team to a needed 2-0 win over Penn State at Bill Davis Stadium. The win evened Ohio State’s record in the Big Ten at 2-2 and improved its overall mark to 12-8. Penn State is also 2-2 in the Big Ten and is 7-14 overall.
Shuck (4-1), an intense and terrific athlete who was beaned high in the shoulder in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader, chose to dominate the Nittany Lions rather than retaliate. The junior from Galion, Ohio struck out a career-high 13 batters while scattering four hits and not allowing a run in a season-high 8.0 innings pitched.
“I thought J.B. Shuck was outstanding,” Bob Todd, Ohio State head coach, said. “He mixed his pitches really well and, most importantly, he spotted his change-up. The change-up was his most effective pitch today.”
Ohio State broke the scoreless tie with a single run in the fifth inning. Dan Burkhart walked to lead off, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a groundout. Tony Kennedy then beat out an infield hit to third that scored Burkhart, giving the Buckeyes a tenuous, 1-0 lead.
Two more hustle plays gave the Buckeyes some breathing room and a 2-0 lead. Cory Rupert reached base on a throwing error with two outs in the sixth, and he raced around the bases on Zach Hurley’s triple over the center fielder’s head.
“We captalized on opportunities,” Todd said. “The team today did what it needed to do offensively to score some runs.”
Hurley came back to make the defensive play of the game in the eighth inning. With a man on first and one out, Hurley chased down a sure triple to center by Joe Blackburn and made a diving grab. He threw to Cory Kovanda who caught the Penn State runner off first base for the double play.
Penn State starter Ryan Stobart (0-2) pitched well in the loss, throwing a complete game (8.0 innings), allowing six hits, two runs (one earned) with three walks and five strikeouts.
Game Notes and Good Stuff:
The win was the 200th for the Buckeyes in 12-year-old Bill Davis Stadium. Ohio State now has a 200-88 (.694) record in the stadium.
Freshman Ryan Meade extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a second inning single.
Buckeyes have also had now-ended hitting streaks of 17 games by Tony Kennedy and 11 games by Cory Kovanda this season.
J.B. Shuck has set new career highs for strikeouts twice this season. He had nine in a 1-0 win over Memphis during the first weekend of the season and then struck out 13 today against the Nittany Lions.
Shuck leads all Ohio State pitchers in wins (four), innings (30.0) and strikeouts (34). His eight scoreless innings today lowered Shucks’ ERA from 4.09 to 3.00.
Hurley’s triple was his second of the season, and he has two of team’s three triples on the season.
The shutout was the third for the Buckeyes this season. Ohio State also shut out Memphis, 1-0, on Feb. 23, and Penn State on Friday, 15-0. Ohio State did not have a shutout during the 2007 season.
Ohio State now has scored three runs or less in five games this season. The Buckeyes have a 2-3 record in those games.