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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – No. 27 Ohio State picked up a pair of wins, a 7-6 decision over Eastern Illinois and a 9-7 victory over Bucknell, Friday afternoon in Winter Haven.

Ryan Dew finished the day 5-for-8 with four runs scored and pair of RBI while Zach Hurley went 5-for-8 with six runs scored and an RBI. Eric Best and Drew Rucinski each picked up wins for the Buckeyes.

GAME ONE

The Buckeyes won a back-and-forth battle with Eastern Illinois, 7-6, in game one Friday afternoon.

After leading off the bottom half of the eighth with a single, first baseman Dew advanced on a pair of wild pitches and scored the game-winning run on a passed ball.

Dew finished 3-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and an RBI. Best picked up his first win of the season in relief, going 1.2 hitless innings, striking out one and walking one.

After McKinney pitched a perfect top half of the first, Zach Hurley put the Buckeyes on the board with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the first. Dew put Ohio State up 2-0 when he led off the second with a home run to right, his first of the season.

However, the Panthers answered right back with a three-run home run in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Ohio State would respond with four straight singles and a sacrifice fly by Tyler Engle in the fourth to jump in front 4-3 after four frames.

After the Buckeyes made it 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Eastern Illinois knotted the game up at five in the sixth despite a couple of great Ohio State defensive plays. With nobody out, Brian DeLucia robbed EIU’s Richie Derbak of a two-run home run with a leaping grab over the right field wall. Two batters later third baseman Cory Rupert made a diving stop on a ground ball between short and third and threw out the runner at first.

The Buckeyes took a 6-5 lead right back in the bottom of the frame. After DeLucia singled and advanced to second on an error to lead off the inning, the junior advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.

The Panthers took advantage of a hit batter and a pair of walks to tie the game at six in the top of the eighth before Dew scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame.


GAME TWO

The Buckeyes scored four runs over the first three innings and cruised to a 9-7 win over Bucknell in game two Friday afternoon in Winter Haven.

Drew Rucinski earned the win in his first start of the season, going 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out five. Zach Hurley finished 3-for-4 with four runs scored in game two.

Hurley led off the game with a single and came around on a fielders’ choice to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead after one. Michael Stephens extended that lead to 4-0 with a three-run long ball to right in the top of the third.

The Bison took advantage of a leadoff single followed by a triple to cut the lead in half at 4-2 in the fourth but Rucinski struck out the side to limit the damage and preserve the two-run lead.

The game would stay at 4-2 until the Buckeyes used five singles to tack on three more runs to make it 7-2 after the top of the seventh before the Bison added one of their own to cut the lead to 7-3 after seven innings.

Ohio State added a pair in the eighth to make it 9-3 heading into the ninth. Bucknell then scored four in the ninth before Dean Wolosiansky came in to pick up the first save of his career.

The Buckeyes (11-4) will be back in action Saturday, taking on Army at 6:30 p.m. in Winter Haven.

Notes

– Chain of Lakes Park doesn’t seem to be much of a hitter’s park (340 down the lines and 420 to dead center) but the ball was flying out to right today.
– It was the return of the black velvet jacket for Michael Stephens Thursday on the trip down.
– The Buckeyes were nice enough to participate in a photo op with a cheerleading team from Columbus while in the airport Thursday.
– Due to an exam immediately before the bus ride to the airport yesterday, I was able to witness Dean Wolosiansky without food in his hand while on the bus for the first time this season. I don’t expect it again.
– A certain SID at Ohio State was not kidding about bringing a towel to the stadium as the tables in the open press box were caked with dust.
– With nobody down in the fifth inning against EIU, Tyler Engle dazzled with the glove once again, this time making a diving stop on a hard-hit ball up the middle.
– Second baseman Cory Kovanda made a diving grab on a pop-up in shallow center with nobody down in the ninth. Unfortunately, his foot met the head of Engle as the two both dove for the ball. Needless to say, Tyler has a decent welt and a bit of a headache.
– D.J. Hanlin earned his second start of the season behind the plate in game one.
– The three-hit game for Ryan Dew in game one was his fifth game with three or more hits so far this season.
– Head coach Bob Todd improved his record to 3-0 all-time against Eastern Illinois and 4-0 all-time against Bucknell.
– With hits in both games today, Michael Stephens has hit safely in all 12 games he was played in so far this season.
– The five innings Drew Rucinski pitched in game two represented the longest outing of his career.
– Eric Best was impressive in relief in two appearances in the doubleheader, going 3.2 innings, giving up two hits, one earned run and striking out four.
– The Buckeyes moved to 11-1 on the season when giving up less than 10 runs in a game.
– Ohio State pounded out 27 hits over the two games.