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Feb. 23, 2007

Box Score

Box Score .PDF

TAMPA, Fla. – Ohio State opened its 124th baseball season with an 8-6 victory over James Madison at the New York Yankees Player Development Complex Friday. The Buckeyes used a five-run fifth inning to beat the Dukes, which featured Kellen Kulbacki the 2006 Collegiate Baseball Co-National Player of the Year.

The Dukes’ right fielder gave his team a 1-0 lead with a two-out solo home run in the top of the first inning. Dan DeLucia (Sr., Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Watterson), who played with Kulbacki with the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League last summer, lost the early battle against his former teammate who deposited the 2-1 offering over the right-field fence.

The Buckeyes tied the score in the bottom of the second inning, turning a lead-off single by Justin Miller (So., Dayton, Va./Turner Ashby) into the tying run. He went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a ground out by Jason Zoeller (Sr., Shady Side Academy) before scoring on a single up the middle by Tony Kennedy (Jr., Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) to make the score 1-1.

It appeared runs would be hard to come by, so when Kennedy led of the bottom of the fifth inning with an infield single, OSU coach Bob Todd elected to bunt him over to second on a sacrifice by Cory Rupert (Fr., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison). Kennedy scored the go-ahead run when a line drive by Matt Angle (Jr., Whitehall, Ohio/Whitehall-Yearling) glanced off the glove of Dukes’ second baseman Mike Fabiashi and rolled into right-center field. That run was just the beginning.

Ohio State went on to score four more runs in the inning to build a 6-1 lead. Designated hitter Jacob Howell (Sr., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) sent Angle to third with a single to right-center field and Eric Fryer (Jr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) drove him in with a base hit to right-center field. Miller drew a walk to load the bases for freshman Ryan Dew (Croton, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne). Dew, who had flied out and grounded out in his first two at bats in the game, cleared the bases with a double just to the right of center to cap a five-run inning.

James Madison tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the sixth thanks to Kulbacki’s two-run single that pulled the Dukes within a 6-3 score. It hit was Kelbacki’s third hit against DeLucia.

The Buckeyes added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Fryer led off the inning with a triple to the right-field corner and scored on a double to right-center field by J.B. Shuck (So., Galion, Ohio/Galion). Shuck scored on a sacrifice fly by Zoeller after moving to third on a single by Miller.

DeLucia left the game after six innings, but even with him in the dugout, Kulbacki again found a way to drive in a run. Now facing Theron Minium (Fr., New Cumberland, Pa./Cedar Cliff), the Dukes’ rightfielder sent a shot to the warning track in centerfield that was reeled in by Angle. The sacrifice scored Fabiaschi. Mitchell Moses drove in two more with a double to pull JMU within two runs, 8-6.

DeLucia allowed three runs on six hits as the opening-day starter. He struck out six and walked one to win the 20th game of his career. Minium allowed three runs on two hits and a pair of walks in 1.1 innings before giving way to closer Rory Meister (Jr., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison), who went the rest of the way to pick up a save. JMU starter Kurt Houck got the loss (0-1).

Kennedy finished with three hits and Angle, Howell, Fryer and Miller each added two though it was Dew’s three RBI that broke open what had been a close game. Kulbacki finished 3-for-3 with four RBI. Ohio State had to overcome one error and outhit the Dukes 13-8.

A total of three true freshmen – Dew, Rupert and Minium – saw action in the game. The Buckeyes improved to 11-9 in home openers under Todd, now in his 20th season as the Buckeye skipper.

Ohio State continues action at the Buckeye Baseball Classic Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with a doubleheader against Kansas State, while James Madison will play two games against Seton Hall. The start time for each doubleheader was pushed up by 30 minutes to make sure the teams can play two nine-inning games. None of the four fields at the Yankee complex has lights. The Wildcats were 4-2 winners over Seton Hall Friday. The Classic concludes Sunday with a single game between Ohio State and Seton Hall and another pitting James Madison and Kansas State.