ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – No. 13 Ohio State picked up a 4-2 comeback victory over South Florida behind a strong performance by ace Alex Wimmers Friday evening in St. Petersburg.
Wimmers went eight innings, giving up five hits, one earned run and punching out six. Ryan Dew led the offensive attack, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, one being the go-ahead tally.
The Buckeyes faced their first deficit of the young season after Ryan Lockwood led off the first with a single, stole second and scored after Junior singled and advanced to second on an error by third baseman Brad Hallberg. Carlin advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and eventually scored on a ground ball to make the score 2-0 before the Buckeyes came up to bat.
Ohio State answered back in the bottom of the second and cut the lead in half when Brian DeLucia doubled home Dew with two down in the inning.
However, after the DeLucia double, Fontanez sat down nine of the next 10 Buckeye hitters. Tyler Engle led off the bottom of the sixth for Ohio State with a double but Fontanez promptly punched out Zach Hurley and Cory Kovanda before inducing a ground ball to short by Dan Burkhart to end the threat.
After Michael Stephens and Dew led off the seventh with back-to-back singles, Stephens stole third and scored the tying run when USF catcher Eric Sim’s throw sailed wide of third and down the left field line while Dew advanced to third with nobody down. It looked like Fontanez might get out of the jam after he forced a Hallberg ground out and DeLucia strikeout, but Matt Streng drew a walk and a wild pitch brought home Dew to give the Buckeyes the 3-2 advantage.
Burkhart tripled with one down in the bottom of the eighth and Stephens drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left to give the Buckeyes the insurance run and cap off the scoring.
Closer Drew Rucinski came in and shut the Bulls down in order in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
The Buckeyes (4-0) will be back in action Saturday when they take on Notre Dame at Bright House Field in Clearwater. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. Collegebaseball360.com will webcast the game at http://collegebaseball360.com/live-college-baseball-coverage/.
– First pitch was delayed 50 minutes after the previous game between Penn State and Cincinnati went to extra innings.
– Al Lang Field at Progress Energy Park is a pretty nice venue. Palm trees everywhere, right on the bay and, most importantly, right across the street from the team hotel.
– Unfortunately for junior Dean Wolosiansky, the Buckeyes were sporting new batting practice jerseys. As we know, Dean’s a big kid and the 6’5″, 225-pounder looked like he was wearing his little league jersey as the sleeves barely covered his shoulders.
– St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster threw out the first pitch before the matchup between the Buckeyes and Bulls.
– Friday afternoon, the Buckeyes enjoyed the pregame meal of the year to this point. Caesar salad, green beans, breadsticks, penne pasta and chicken marsala.
– A number of nice defensive plays by the Buckeyes in the game. Two highlights were a diving snag of sinking liner in the second by Brian DeLucia. Cory Kovanda might have topped that in the fourth when he ranged far to his left in shallow right field, made the diving stop and threw to first to get the runner.
– The game ended up being the fastest of the first four games, taking just two hours and nine minutes.