SARASOTA, Fla. Ohio State and St. Louis battled through a scoreless game for six innings, but the Billikins scored four runs in the seventh to defeat the Buckeyes, 4-0, Wednesday at IMG Academy Park. The loss drops Ohio State’s record to 8-6. St. Louis improves to 8-8.
The loss spoiled a fine outing by true freshman Andrew Armstrong, who pitched 6.1 innings in his first start of the year. St. Louis countered with senior B.J. Rodrigue, who scattered 10 hits and walked just two in a complete game win that improved his record to 2-1. Armstrong is 0-1.
Ohio State had two runners on in the first but couldn’t plate a run. St. Louis challenged in their half of the fourth with a man on third and one out and eventually loading the bases. But J.D. Dunn was thrown out at home trying to steal the base and the two teams went into the fifth inning scoreless. Catcher Dan Burkhart took the high pitch from Armstrong and applied the tag just in time to erase the runner.
Armstrong worked out of tight situations with runners on base in the next two innings as well. He left a runner on second with one out in the fifth by recording a pop fly and a strikeout. SLU then had two men on in the sixth, but Armstrong used another strikeout and pop fly to get through six innings unscathed.
In the seventh, Armstrong got a groundout before the next two batters singled and walked. That drew head coach Bob Todd out to make the change and Armstrong’s initial start was in the books in most impressive fashion.
Senior Rory Meister came into the two-men-on situation but was only able to get one more out before leaving with the bases loaded. Alex Wimmers followed and got a strikeout to end the inning but the Buckeyes now trailed, 4-0. Armstrong’s line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO.
St. Louis’ Rodrigue, who pitched masterfully the entire game, continued to hold the upper hand by shutting the Buckeye bats down in order in the eighth and ninth to get the win.
The Buckeyes, now 3-2 on their Bradenton trip, take on Army Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Manatee Community College.
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