COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State and Michigan State split a pair of one run games Sunday at Oldsmobile Park: the Buckeyes winning the first, 5-4, and MSU taking the second, 1-0, in eight innings. With the split, Ohio State wins the series, 2-1, and improves its record to 18-11 overall and 7-4 in the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State is 13-16 overall and 4-7 in the Big Ten. All three games in the series were decided by one run.
Starters J.B. Shuck for Ohio State and Chris Cullen for Michigan State were in control throughout Game 2. Cullen allowed just one hit and two batters to reach base through five innings. Ryan Dew had a single to right in the fifth.
Shuck was equal to the task: he pitched 4.2 hitless innings before Jonathan Roof singled to center. Heading into the sixth inning the ball game was still scoreless.
In the sixth, Cullen’s first walk of the day Zach Hurley gave the Buckeyes two men on with two out, but he induced a fly -ball out to end the inning.
Shuck came back with a three-up, three-down sixth to send the two teams into the seventh tied and both teams with just one hit on the day.
In the seventh, A.J. Shindler reached on a two-out infield single, but Shuck caught him trying to steal second with first baseman Justin Miller firing to Cory Rupert, who was covering second, to apply the tag and send the second of the weekend’s games into extra innings.
The Buckeyes had two men on with two outs in the eighth but couldn’t score. Shuck came out for the eighth and with one on and one out, he walked Steve Gerstenberger and Dennis Jones reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Alex Wimmers came in from the bullpen to face pinch hitter Eric Roof. He struck roof out, but then Chris Roberts walked on four pitches to send home the winning run.
Shuck pitched 7.1 innings and allowed just four hits. He walked three, struck out seven and dropped to 4-2 with the loss. MSU’s Cullen went 8.0 innings allowing just two hits, two walks and he struck out five in improving to 4-0.
In game one, won by Ohio State, 5-4, both teams had two more formidable pitchers on the mound. The Buckeyes started freshman Dean Wolosiansky and the Spartans countered with senior Mark Sorenson, son of 10-year MLB pitcher Larry Sorenson.
Don’t know if it was the dominance of the pitcher of the result of playing in 30 degree weather with a stiff breeze blowing in from center field (probably both), but the two teams didn’t have much to say offensively at first. Ohio State didn’t have a base runner in the first two innings and Michigan State’s two runners one in the first and one in the second were each stranded at first.
Cory Rupert led off the third with a single to right, but with one out he was thrown out at second trying to steal.
The Buckeyes got to Sorenson, who had shoulder surgery this past fall, in the fourth by scoring five runs off six singles and a walk. Tony Kennedy led off with a single. Cory Kovanda walked. J.B. Shuck worked out of an 0-2 count to stroke an RBI single to left center and Justin Miller, Zach Hurley and Ryan Dew all followed with run scoring singles. Dan Burkhart’s fielder’s choice scored Miller and Hurley scored on Tyler Engle’s single, making the score 5-0.
The Spartans scored a run in their half of the fourth and it could have been more if not for a diving catch by right fielder Zach Hurley of a ball that could have been a two-run triple.
MSU added another run in the fifth and when coach David Grewe opted for a left-handed pinch hitter, Ohio State coach Bob Todd brought in lefty Andrew Armstrong in place of Wolosiansky. Armstrong got Eli Boike to fly out to right to end the inning.
Wolosiansky, who got the win to improve to 4-2, had another fine effort for the Buckeyes, scattering seven hits and allowing just two earned runs while striking out one and walking just one in 4.2 innings.
An infield fly lost in the sun yes, the sun did shine in Lansing this weekend momentarily an error and two hits, including the first extra base hit of the game, helped MSU score two more in the sixth inning to make the score 5-4 entering the seventh.
Eric Best came on in the seventh and pitched 1-2-3 inning to preserve the win and record his fourth save of the season.