EAST LANSING, Mich.– Ohio State rode solid pitching from All-American Alex Wimmers, timely hitting up-and-down the lineup and dirt-eating hustle to defeat Michigan State, 10-1, in this first of three games between the Big Ten Conference leaders. Game two of the series will be televised live on the Big Ten Network Saturday at 1 p.m.
Wimmers scattered seven hits through eight innings while allowing just one run to improve to 8-0 this season and to 17-2 the last two years. He struck out seven and walked just two. Eric Shinn relieved in the ninth and recorded two backward Ks in his scoreless inning to finish the game.
The Buckeyes wrapped 16 hits, including 13 against MSU starter A.J. Achter (4-2), who pitched into the eighth inning. Cory Rupert had three hits and two runs batted in and Tyler Engle had three hits, a run scored and an RBI to stoke the hot-hitting Buckeyes. Zach Hurley, Dan Burkhart and Matt Streng each had a couple of hits in support and Michael Stephens and Ryan Dew contributed a pair of RBIs apiece.
The biggest and most decisive hit of the game came off the bat of junior Brian DeLucia, who extended his hitting streak to eight games by stroking a three-run home run to right in the second inning to give Ohio State a quick, 3-0 lead. DeLucia now has 11 RBI the last three games. The home run was his fifth this season…a line drive shot that never appeared to be more than 20 feet off the ground and it scored Stephens, who was hit by a pitch, and Dew, who reached on an error.
Burkhart led off the third with a triple to right center and Dew singled him home with one out to increase Ohio State’s lead to 4-0.
Engle had the hustle play of the day, an effort that ended up resulting in two fourth inning runs to give Wimmers and the Buckeyes a commanding 6-0 lead. His low, one-hop liner was reached by shortstop Jonathan Roof diving to his right. He got up firing and Engle dove, slid and crashed into the bag just ahead of the throw. Covered in dirt head to toe and tasting it as well, Engle would later score – along with Cory Kovanda, who reached on a bunt single – on a Stephens single.
The Buckeyes tacked on three more runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth. Michigan State scored its only run in the sixth inning on three hits.
Ohio State improves to 20-9 with the win and sits in first place in the Big Ten with a 5-2 record. Michigan State is now 22-8 and 4-3 in the conference.
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