COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to pick up a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Toledo in the home opener Wednesday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium.
Eric Best tossed two perfect innings in relief to improve his record to 2-1 on the season while Drew Rucinski pitched a flawless ninth for his fourth save of the season. Dan Burkhart, Cory Kovanda and Ryan Dew each had two hits for the Buckeyes.
Burkhart gave the Buckeyes the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when his double to left-center drove in second baseman Kovanda. Toledo shortstop Jared Hoying kept the Buckeyes from adding to that lead when he ranged far to his left behind second base, made a diving stop and threw out Dew to end the inning.
Toledo right fielder Dan Sherwood tied it up for Toledo with a one-out, solo home run to left in the top of the second then took a 2-1 lead in the third on a solo shot to left by second baseman Tom Krofcheck.
However, the lead would be short-lived as Ohio State responded with a run of its own in the bottom half of the frame. After Zach Hurley and Kovanda produced back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, Hurley advanced to third on a fly ball by Dan Burkhart and scored on an errant pickoff throw by Toledo starter Cody Umbright.
After freshman Cole Brown replaced Wolosiansky in the top of the sixth, the Rockets took the lead once again at 3-2 on a sacrifice fly by Matt Delewski that scored Joe Corfman.
The Buckeyes loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an error with nobody out in the sixth but Cory Rupert struck out and Chris Griffin hit a liner at first baseman Jim Vahalik who doubled Dew off first base.
After a one-out walk by Burkhart in the eighth, Michael Stephens knotted the game up at three with a double to center and Dew drove him in on a single through the right side to put the Buckeyes on top for good.
The Buckeyes (14-7) will travel to Evanston, Ill. to take on Northwestern in the first Big Ten series of the season Friday through Sunday. Friday’s first pitch is set for 4 p.m. EST.
– Perfect day for baseball in Columbus. Mid 60s and sunny is better than the majority of the spring break trip in Florida.
– The Buckeyes have now won the last 17 matchups against the Rockets.
– Heading into Wednesday’s matchup, Ohio State has averaged 15.5 runs per game in the last 10 matchups against Toledo.
– Eight Buckeye regulars were hitting over .320 heading into Wednesday.
– Freshman right-hander Cole Brown made his first career appearance on the mound for the Buckeyes.
– Fantastic defensive play by second baseman Cory Kovanda in the top of the sixth. The senior co-captain ranged far to his left, made the diving stop in shallow right field and threw out Toledo’s Dan Sherwood by a step at first base.
– After notching multi-hit games in four of seven games in Florida, Ryan Dew came through with a pair of hits Wednesday.