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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind 17 hits and solid relief pitching, Ohio State defeated Xavier, 12-7, Wednesday evening at Bill Davis Stadium.

Freshman right-hander Brett McKinney picked up the win, tossing four scoreless innings in relief, scattering four hits and striking out a batter. Brian DeLucia led the Buckeyes offensively, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Zach Hurley went 2-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored while Ryan Dew drove in four, tying his career high.

After Ohio State starter Eric Best got the first out in the first inning, the Musketeers answered back with a pair of singles by Drew Schmidt and Ben Thomas before a sacrifice fly to center by Bobby Freking drove home Schmidt to give the visitors a 1-0 lead after half an inning.

The Buckeyes answered right back to take the lead in the bottom of the frame. After Hurley reached on an error to lead off the inning and Cory Kovanda and Dan Burkhart both flew out, Michael Stephens singled and Dew blasted a three-run home run to right, his third of the season and second in as many games, to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead after one.

However, Xavier got to Best again in the second, with the help of a pair of Ohio State errors by Tyler Engle, scoring four runs on four hits before Engle redeemed himself with a solo shot to left on the bottom half of the inning, cutting the Musketeers’ lead to 5-4 after two. Xavier added another run in the top of the third off Ohio State freshman reliever Cole Brown, taking advantage of two singles and a pair of hit batsmen but the Buckeyes responded with a run on an RBI single by Matt Streng driving in Stephens to make it a 6-5 Xavier advantage after three.

After McKinney came in to relieve Brown and tossed a scoreless fourth, Hurley led off the bottom of the inning with a solo bomb to right of Xavier reliever Jake Clear to tie the game at six. Two batters later, Burkhart doubled down the right field line and Stephens drove him in with a single to left, giving the Buckeyes a 7-6 lead after four frames.

Ohio State added to the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Hurley drilled a two-out, two-run double to left-center to drive in Streng and Engle who had both singled. Kovanda then singled in Hurley before Burkhart singled, Stephens was hit by a pitch and Dew walked to plate Kovanda and give the Buckeyes an 11-6 advantage after five. The Buckeyes pushed the lead to 12-6 in the sixth when Engle drove in DeLucia on a sacrifice fly to center.

Xavier added one in the ninth and loaded the bases but Theron Minium was able to shut the door on the Musketeers.

Ohio State (17-8, 2-1 Big Ten) hosts Indiana this weekend for a three game series beginning Friday at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium.

NOTES

– It was good to hear Brian Bobinski’s father, Mike, at the game. Mike is in his third year as Athletic Director at Xavier and played baseball at Notre Dame. Hopefully he was cheering for the good guys Wednesday.
– The home run was Tyler Engle’s first of the season and third of his career.
– It was the second career appearance for freshman Cole Brown, both coming on back-to-back Wednesdays.
– Both pitchers that relieved starting the fourth inning, Ohio State’s Brett McKinney and Xavier’s Jake Clear, were seniors in high school at Hamilton Badin last year.
– The first strikeout of the game did not happen until one out in the top of the fifth when McKinney punched out Mark Elwell.
– Every Buckeye at least one hit and seven had two hits by the end of the fifth inning.
– The Buckeyes also batted around in the bottom of the fifth.
– Ohio State scored each of the first six innings for the second time this season. The first was game one of a doubleheader against St. Louis March 16 that the Buckeyes won 15-9.
– Wednesday marked the eighth time in 2010 that the Buckeyes tallied at least 17 hits.
– The 12 runs scored were the most four Ohio State since the Buckeyes scored 12 against Army March 20.