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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Ohio State baseball team got the 2018 campaign off to a strong start with a doubleheader sweep at the Snowbird Classic Friday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Buckeyes (2-0) came from behind to defeat Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 11-7, in game one before taking down Canisius, 6-4, in game two of the twinbill.
“I liked a lot about our offense today,” head coach Greg Beals said. “We had eight extra-base hits and several stolen bases in a doubleheader. I wanted to have some action in our lineup and I wanted to hit doubles and we did that. I thought the tale in the first game was we didn’t get a two-out hit when we needed it then, but the back half of the game we had those two-out rallies. I was a little disappointed we got all of our runs in game two in the opening innings, but I really liked how our bullpen was able to nail things down for us today.”
Senior first baseman Noah McGowan went 4-for-9 with three runs scored, double, home run, walk and an impressive 10 RBI in the two games, while Tyler Cowles was 4-for-7 with a double, walk and four RBI. All 10 RBI by McGowan came with two outs too.
— Ohio State Baseball (@OhioState_BASE) February 17, 2018
GAME ONE: OHIO STATE 11, WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE 7
The Buckeyes (1-0) rallied with five runs in the bottom of the eighth to claim its fifth straight opener win. McGowan and Cowles combined to score 10 runs in the win over the Panthers. McGowan went 2-for-4 with a double, walk and six RBI, while Cowles was 3-for-5 with a double and four RBI. The first five OSU batters plated a run, including Dominic Canzone, Kobie Foppe, Conner Pohl and McGowan each with two. Seth Kinker earned the win in game one, tossing one inning and allowed one unearned run on two hits.
BUCKEYES SCORE FIRST
Ohio State plated two runs in its first at-bat of the season when McGowan hit a looping single over the UWM second baseman to push Canzone and Foppe around the dish. Both of them reached with walks to start the momentum.
COWLES SHOWS OFF THE ARM
Cowles helped out his starting pitcher with two assists on double plays in the second and third innings, respectively. After he caught a lazy fly ball in shallow left, he threw out the runner on second base, who was stretched too far off the bag. In the top of the third, Cowles snagged a hard liner with his momentum behind him and came up firing, throwing a laser to home plate to junior catcher Jacob Barnwell who applied the tag on Matt Quartel to end the frame.
PANTHERS TAKE THE LEAD
Milwaukee knocked four hits for three runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead. Colin Kreiter hit a RBI triple off the wall in right center for the first score. RBI singles by Oakland Scanlon and Joe Vyskocil made it a 3-2 contest. The Panthers added two more runs against the Buckeye bullpen in the top of the seventh with two infield singles for a 6-2 advantage.
BUCKEYES RALLY IN THE SEVENTH
The OSU bats came alive in the bottom of the seventh against the Milwaukee bullpen. UWM reliever Conner Goodman loaded the bases after back-to-back singles by Foppe and Brady Cherry and a walk to Pohl. McGowan then worked a full count vs. the UWM left-hander and pushed home a run with a free pass. Cowles had the big hit in the stanza with a bases-clearing double to the gap in left center on the first pitch he saw vs. Goodman.
MILWAUKEE ANSWERS WITH SMALL BALL
But the Panthers kept battling and found a seventh run by ways of the small ball game: bunt single, throwing error, sac bunt and another bunt single, this time on the squeeze play against right-handed reliever Seth Kinker.
OHIO STATE PUNCHES BACK
Down one and running out of outs, the Scarlet and Gray didn’t press the panic button and scored all five runs in the rally with two outs. Jacob Barnwell started it with a lead-off double. The Buckeyes then had runners on the corners and nobody down when Barnwell sprinted and beat the advancing throw by reliever Reed Blake to third base on the sac attempt by Jones. With two outs and the bases loaded, Pohl walked on four straight pitches vs. lefty reliever Alex McIntosh to tie it at 7-all.
The big knock came from McGowan with a three-run double to left center to clear the bases. A RBI single by Cowles made it 11-7.
ON THE MOUND
Junior left-handed pitcher Connor Curlis made his first Friday start of his career today. In five innings of work, Curlis allowed three runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts, facing 22 Panther batters. Fifth-year senior right-handed reliever Austin Woodby pitched the next two innings and allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts. Kinker tossed the eighth and fifth-year senior Curtiss Irving threw a scoreless ninth.
GAME TWO: OHIO STATE 6, WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE 4
McGowan crushed a three-run home run in the bottom of the second, while the Buckeye bullpen limited the Golden Griffins to no runs or hits in the final four innings to help the Scarlet and Gray claim the doubleheader sweep.
TEAMS TRADE RUNS IN THE FIRST
The Buckeyes and Golden Griffins each scored two runs in the first inning. Down 2-0, McGowan continued his hot bat into the matinee game with a RBI single to right center to score Canzone. A bases-loaded walk by Nate Romans made it 2-2.
— Ohio State Baseball (@OhioState_BASE) February 17, 2018
FOUR SPOT IN THE SECOND
Cherry roped a double to the gap in left center to score Foppe to start the bottom of the second. McGowan then crushed a 1-2 pitch off right-hander Andrew Sipowicz over the 375-foot alley sign in left center to push the lead to 6-2.
GRIFFS TRIM THE LEAD
Canisius cut the OSU advantage to two runs in the top of the third after a bases-loaded walk and a RBI single to left field by Preziuso with two down.
Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Feltner received the win to improve to 1-0 on the year. He tossed five innings on four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
BULLPEN WAS NAILS
Freshman left-handed pitcher Griffan Smith was strong in his collegiate debut, sending down all six batters he faced in the sixth and seventh inning. Kyle Michalik and Kinker combined to throw two scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Kinker struck out the side in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.
Ohio State and Canisius meet at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at North Charlotte Regional Park. Right-hander Adam Niemeyer gets the ball for the boys.
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