COLUMBUS, Ohio – Michael Earley’s solo home run to lead off the 10th inning boosted Indiana to a 6-4 come-from-behind win over Ohio State Saturday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium.
Earley’s solo shot gave the Hoosiers the lead and Tyler Rogers scored an insurance run after a one-out triple to give Indiana an insurance run. Ohio State managed to get a man on in its half of the 10th, but was unable to score.
Both starting pitchers threw well enough to earn the win in a game that included seven errors and every one of them was big. Ohio State’s Drew Rucinski went 7.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out four. The Hoosiers’ Drew Leininger came into Saturday leading the Big Ten with a 1.66 earned-run average and did not disappoint, tossing nine innings, giving up four hits and no earned runs while striking out eight Buckeyes. He did not give up a hit after Zach Hurley’s leadoff single in the fifth.
Eric Best picked up the loss for the Buckeyes, evening his record at 2-2 on the season while Chris Squires picked up his fifth save of the season for Indiana. Hurley, Cory Kovanda, Cory Rupert and Brian DeLucia each had a hit for Ohio State.
Micah Johnson came around to score the first run of the game, scoring on an RBI single by Alex Dickerson. Johnson walked to lead off the first, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved over to third on a groundout before Dickerson’s single through the left side gave the Hoosiers the 1-0 lead.
Johnson proved to be a thorn in the side of the Buckeyes again in the third, doubling to left-center to lead off the inning and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Jerrud Sabourin. Rucinski then induced a fly ball to center by Dickerson that would have ended the inning but Michael Stephens was unable to come up with it as Dickerson reached second on the error. The Hoosiers’ sophomore left fielder then scored Indiana’s third run on a two-out single by Earley.
The Buckeyes then used a pair of Indiana errors to put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Rupert then blooped a single to right and DeLucia jumped all over a first-pitch fastball and drove it over the center field wall for a grand slam, putting the Buckeyes up 4-3 after four frames.
Rucinski then settled down after the third, not allowing a batter to reach second base until two outs in the sixth. Hoosier designated hitter Josh Lyon walked followed by a Rogers bloop single to put runners on first and third with two down in the top of the sixth, but Rucinski punched out Indiana shortstop Michael Basil to end the threat.
However, the Hoosiers were able to tie the game up without a hit in the eighth. After Rucinski retired the first two batters of the inning, the third Buckeye error of the game allowed Rogers to reach second. After a walk to pinch-hitter Ethan Wilson, Dylan Swift hit a slow roller back to Rucinski but his throw to first sailed over the head of Ryan Dew and allowed Rogers to score the tying run. Best then came in to relieve Rucinski with runners on second and third and was able to retire Johnson for the first time in the game to get out of the inning and set the stage for the 10th.
The Buckeyes (18-9, 3-2 Big Ten) and Hoosiers (15-14, 2-3 Big Ten) will wrap up the series at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
– Cory Kovanda extended his hitting streak to 11 with a single in the first inning.
– The grand slam by DeLucia was his fourth home run of the season.
– It was the first grand slam by a Buckeye since Justin Miller hit one April 25, 2009 in an 11-7 win over Northwestern.
– Saturday marked the longest outing of Drew Rucinski’s career. His previous long was 6.0 innings against Dartmouth earlier this season.