BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Ohio State coach Greg Beals stressed the importance of “team” at the ball park Saturday. He told his troops, who had lost six consecutive games coming into a series finale with CSU Bakersfield, to fight their tails off for the team and to get it done as a team. The team listened.
Capitalizing on opportunities, seven Roadrunner errors, five RBI from Ryan Cypret and runs scored from seven different players, Ohio State snapped its losing streak and closed out its six-game California spring trip with a 10-8 win in front of 723 fans at Hardt Field. The win improved OSU’s record to 7-10 and it snapped a seven-game win streak for CSU Bakersfield and dropped its record to 18-6.
The game was scoreless into the fifth inning and Ohio State only led 2-1 into the seventh. That’s because the Buckeyes got 3.0 solid innings from starter Theron Minium – one hit allowed, four strikeouts and no walks – and a series of three more relievers kept the Roadrunners from mounting any kind of threat.
Ohio State got on the board first Brian DeLucia ripped a double to center and Tim Wetzel stroked a first-pitch single to center to score DeLucia with Wetzel taking second on the throw. Cypret then followed with a single to center that scored Wetzel.
The Roadrunners scored one in the fifth and then threatened with runners on second and third and one down in the sixth. But David Fathalikhani got a foul fly to the catcher and a wicked swinging strikeout to get the Buckeyes out of the inning clinging to their 2-1 lead.
Ohio State struck for three more in the seventh inning. A couple of errors extended the Buckeye inning and with DeLucia and Joe Ciamacco on base, Cypret turned on a two-strike breaking ball and sent it out of the ball park in left field for his team-leading second home run of the season.
These Roadrunners are 18-6 for a reason, though: they battle. And back they came in their half of the seventh to tie the score with four runs. Fathalikhani loaded the bases in his second inning of work and Jeremy Rodriguez greeted Josh Dezse with a three-run double to close the lead to 5-4. Two batters later Rodriguez scored on a single up the middle.
The Buckeyes came right with five more runs in the eighth off just two hits and three Roadrunner errors. Three of the runs in the inning were scored on fielder’s choice plays plus errors – two on the catcher and one on the second baseman – trying to get the runners at the plate. DeLucia had an RBI double and Cypret had his career high fifth RBI of the game on a fielder’s choice (with no error on the play).
CSU Bakersfield added three more runs in the ninth inning – none of them earned – and had the tying run at the plate, but Dezse got the final out of the game on a strikeout. Dezse picked up the win with 2.2 innings of work and he improves to 2-1 on the season.
DeLucia scored three runs while batting from the leadoff position. He was the only other Buckeye besides Cypret with multiple hits.
Ohio State opens its home season Tuesday against Xavier at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
Some Final Spring Trip Thoughts: