COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State supported the pitching of freshman Andrew Armstrong by scoring nine times against five Pitt pitchers to win their 2008 home opener, 9-1, Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.
Armstrong, a southpaw from Bridgewater, Va., improved to 2-1 on the season by pitching 5.0 innings and allowing no earned runs. He struck out five and walked just two. He retired 10 consecutive batters at one point and those in relief Drew Rucinski and Eric Best extended that mastery to 15 of 16 Panther batters retired between the third and seventh innings. Alex Wimmers pitched the ninth inning to close the door.
“There is a lot of potential there,” Bob Todd, Ohio State coach, said of Armstrong. “It was obvious from the dugout that he was nervous, but it was good to see him pitch from the third inning on like we know he can. As a freshman, he’s not overpowering, but when he throws strikes and pitches ahead he can be effective.”
Offensively, Big Ten co-Player of the Week Cory Kovanda had two hits and two runs scored to lead the Buckeyes. Frehsman ryan Meade had two hits and three RBI and Cory Rupert had a pair of hits and he added to his team RBI lead with one. He now has 19 on the year.
Pitt scored an unearned run in the first to take a 1-0 lead, but Ohio State scored two in its half of the first and two more in the second to take a 4-1 lead right around the time that Armstrong was hitting his stride on the mound.
Kovanda knocked in Tony Kennedy with a first-inning double and Meade drove in Kovanda. In the second inning, Tyler Engle stroked a one-out single, moved to second on an error on the play and scored on a single by fellow freshman Dan Burkhart. Burkhart scored on a double by Tony Kennedy, who extended his season-long hitting streak to 16 games.
Kennedy also scored runs in the fourth and sixth innings, giving him three on the day. Ohio State put the game away in the sixth on four runs off two hits and one Panther error. Kennedy walked, Kovanda singled and J.B. Shuck walked to load the bases. All three base runners scored on Ryan Meade’s double, although the third run scored on a throwing error. Meade scored on Rupert’s groundout to make the score 9-1.
“We were emotionally ready to play, but we were tight probably because it was the home opener in Bill Davis Stadium,” Todd said. “When we got back to just playing baseball we were fine.”
Ohio State begins Big Ten Conference play this weekend with a home series against Penn State Wednesday at 2 p.m. against the Pitt Panthers. Game times and promotions for the weekend’s games follow:
Friday, March 28 vs. Penn State 6:35 p.m.
2008 Schedule Poster
80’s Flashback Friday Music/Entertainment
Saturday, March 29 vs. Penn State DH starts at 1 p.m.
Schedule magnet for first 1,000 fans
Sunday, April 30 vs. Penn State 1 p.m.
125th Anniversary mug and hot chocolate to first 300 fans
Four Pack Day: $26 buys 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas, and 4 popcorns
Post game autographs and kids can run the bases