EVANSTON, Ill. – For the second time in three games, Ohio State scored 11 runs, defeating Northwestern 11-6 and picking up the series win Sunday afternoon in Evanston.
Zach Hurley, Dan Burkhart, Michael Stephens and Cory Rupert all had two hits for the Buckeyes. Hurley finished with four runs scored and an RBI while Burkhart drove in three. Dean Wolosiansky picked up the win to move to 2-3 on the season, pitching five innings, giving up three earned runs while striking out five.
Second baseman Trevor Stevens finished with three hits for the Wildcats, who dropped to 7-20 on the season, 1-2 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes used three two-out hits including an RBI single by Tyler Engle to drive in Rupert and a two-run double down the right field line by Hurley that plated Ryan Cypret and Engle to take a 3-0 lead after two innings of play. It was Hurley’s Big Ten leading 12th double of the season.
However, Northwestern answered back to tie it at three after three frames. Colby Everett and Chris Kontos recorded back-to-back singles to lead off the inning and a throwing error by Wolosiansky on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Geoff Rowan scored a pair as Rowan advanced to third as the ball sailed down the right field line. Rowan then scored the third run of the inning on a groundout by Wildcat leadoff hitter Arby Fields.
The Wildcats were able to get to Wolosiansky again in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead when a Zach Morton sacrifice fly drove in Chad Noble who doubled down the right field line to lead off the inning.
After Engle walked and Hurley was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth, Cory Kovanda reached on a fielder’s choice on a sacrifice bunt attempt but Northwestern starter Joe Muraski was unable to get Engle out at third as the throw was not in time. Muraski was then replaced by Matt Gailey who was greeted with a three-run, bases clearing triple down the right field line by Burkhart to give Ohio State the 6-4 lead. The damage could have been worse but Burkhart was thrown out at home plate by Fields after a fly ball to center by Stephens.
The Buckeyes added to their lead in the sixth, getting to the Northwestern bullpen. Rupert walked to lead off the inning and followed that up with a single through the left side before the runners were advanced on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Cypret. Rupert then scored the Buckeyes seventh run of the game on a sacrifice fly to left by Engle. DeLucia was then driven in on an RBI groundout to second by Hurley to give the Buckeyes an 8-4 advantage.
Northwestern got one back in the bottom of the sixth off Brett McKinney, who was making his first career appearance out of the bullpen. The freshman gave up a walk and a single to lead off the inning before striking out Kontos. Rowan then drove in Morton with a single to cut the Ohio State lead to 8-5. With two down in the inning, Trevor Stevens singled through the right side but DeLucia threw out Everett at the plate as the Wildcat second baseman was trying to score from second.
A towering two-run shot to left by Ryan Dew off Morton, who came on in relief for the Wildcats, in the seventh pushed the Ohio State lead to 10-5. The Buckeyes then added another in the ninth on an RBI single by Hurley that plated Cypret and the Wildcats tacked on one of their own in the bottom of the frame to cap off the scoring.
The Buckeyes (16-8, 2-1 Big Ten) return to Bill Davis Stadium Wednesday for a non-conference matchup against Xavier. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.
– The Buckeyes wore the all gray uniforms Sunday for the first time this season.
– After every Ohio State starter reached base at least once Friday, every Buckeye starter had at least one hit Sunday.
– Dan Burkhart finished the week 9-for-17 with four runs scored and five RBI.
– The triple was the fifth of Burkhart’s career and second this season.
– Five of six Big Ten games Sunday had at least one team with double-digit runs and two games had a team with 26 runs.
– Cory Kovanda extended his team-leading hitting streak to eight games Sunday.
– The Buckeyes outscored the Wildcats 10-1 in the first and second innings this weekend.
– Eight of nine Buckeye starters scored at least one run Sunday.