WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Maine starting pitcher Joe Miller pitched 8.0 strong innings and the Black Bears capitalized on Ohio State miscues to score an 8-7 victory over the Buckeyes at the Santaluces Sports Complex. The win stopped a three-game losing streak for Maine and extended an Ohio State streak to three consecutive defeats. Maine is now 5-6 on the year and the Buckeyes are 4-4.
Miller picked up the win to go 2-0 on the season. He gave up six runs, four of them earned, but got enough help at the plate from his teammates to gain the win. Matt Jebb recorded the final out of the game, after Ohio State had scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth and still had two runners on base, to record his first save of the season.
Ohio State starter Dean Wolosiansky pitched 6.0 innings and gave up six runs with four of them earned. He struck out two and walked five and his record drops to 2-1 on the season. Offensively, the Buckeyes managed just eight hits with five players having one RBI apiece. Maine had just nine hits but capitalized on four Buckeye errors and three passed balls.
The game was scoreless through four innings. Maine opened the scoring with a single run in the fifth. Joe Mercurio, the No. 9 hitter, led off with a single, was sacrificed over to second, reached third on a fielder’s choice and scored when Wolosiansky was called for a balk.
Right back came the Buckeyes, though, as they have done so many times this season. The team scored three runs off three hits and an error in its half of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Tony Kennedy and Brian DeLucia led off with singles. Kennedy would later scored on an error. DeLucia scored on an RBI groundout by J.B. Shuck. And Cory Rupert hit a sacrifice fly to score Cory Kovanda, who also reached on an error.
Maine tied it in the sixth with two runs off no hits and two Buckeye errors. After a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth for Ohio State, the two teams headed into the seventh inning tied at 3-apiece.
Maine went right back to work in the seventh, loading the bases with two singles and a walk. Wolosiansky was pulled at this point for left-hander Josh Edgin. Joey Martin worked an 0-2 count to full and then stroked a two-run single to left field to make the score 5-3 with nobody out. A series of three passed balls and a walk later and the Black Bears were leading 7-3.
Ryan Dew hit an RBI single in the seventh, scoring Shuck who had a two-out single, making the score 7-4.
Ohio State tried its hardest to come back in the ninth. The team loaded the bases with one out, finally chasing Miller after he hit DeLucia and walked Kovanda to open the inning. Kyle Benoit got Ryan Dew to swing at strike three for the second out of the inning. DeLucia scored on a passed ball and Justin Miller and Ryan Meade followed with back-to-back singles to make the score 8-7 with two out and runners on first and second. Zach Hurley then flied out to center to end the game.
The Buckeyes meet UConn Sunday at noon in their final game of the Papa John’s Baseball Challenge.