EVANSTON, Ill. It wasn’t a pretty game Sunday at Rocky Miller Park. Ohio State and Northwestern combined for eight pitchers, nine errors, 19 walks and 22 men left on base and the Wildcats came away with a 14-8 win to even the series at two games apiece.
The loss drops Ohio State, 22-18 overall, one-half game behind Illinois and into fourth-place in the Big Ten with a 10-9 mark. Northwestern, 16-19 overall, and Penn State are tied for fifth-place in the conference with 10-10 records, respectively.
Northwestern capitalized on a Buckeye error, two walks and three singles to score five first-inning runs to take a commanding early lead. Three more Buckeye errors in the second inning led to three more Wildcat runs and an 8-0 deficit for the Scarlet and Gray to overcome. Fortunately, there was still seven innings to play and the Buckeyes gave it there all in trying to rally.
Ohio State scored a run in the fourth as Ryan Meade came home on Dan Burkhart’s groundout. Then in the fifth, Ohio State scored three more runs off two hits and one Wildcat error. Michael Arp singled home Tony Kennedy, who led off with a double, and Cory Kovanda came around to score on the play when the right fielder’s throw to third went into the NU dugout. Arp advanced to third on the play and scored on Justin Miller’s sacrifice fly.
Trailing 9-4, Ohio State had its first two batters on base in the top of the sixth inning. A third walk in the inning loaded the bases with one out, sending Kovanda to the plate. He walked, scoring Rupert and inching Ohio State to 9-5. Reliever Matt Havey was able to get out of the inning with no more damage by coaxing an inning-ending double play.
The Buckeyes added two more runs in the seventh inning to make the score 9-7. Meade led off with his third hit of the day, a triple to right. After Zach Hurley walked, Meade scored on a single by Brian DeLucia. Two more walks, both with two out, scored Hurley.
But Northwestern came back with three runs off four hits and one error in its half of the inning to extend the lead to five runs, 12-7. The Wildcats added two more in the eighth and Ohio State would not be able to close the gap, although it did add another run in the ninth on a Kennedy double and a Kovanda RBI single.