March 16, 2018

CANZONE’S FIFTH HIT LEADS BUCKEYES TO WALK-OFF WIN IN HOME OPENER

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COLUMBUS, Ohio  –  The tone has been set at home for the boys. Led by a five-hit performance by sophomore outfielder Dominic Canzone, the Ohio State baseball team won, 2-1, over CSUN in 12 innings in its 2018 home opener on a chilly Friday night at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. Canzone drove in redshirt junior Nate Romans in the bottom of the 12th when he knocked an opposite field single to left field. Romans executed the head-first slide to perfection, tapping his left hand around the attempted tag on the play at the plate to win the game. Seth Kinker claimed the win, throwing 4.2 scoreless relief innings with a career-high seven strikeouts. With the extra-inning win, the Buckeyes (12-6) improve their win streak to four straight games, while the Matadors drop to 9-8 overall in 2018.

NO GAME SATURDAY, DOUBLEHEADER SUNDAY
Due to predicted weather, the Buckeyes and Matadors will not play on Saturday and are scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. Further updates to come on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

QUOTE FROM COACH
“He was just trying to put the ball in play,” head coach Greg Beals said. “He’s just a great competitor. We won today with that competitive nature in guys like Canzone, Kinker and please let’s not forget about Kyle Michalik’s two outs in the seventh inning. Those outs were huge for us. We had a guy on third and he comes in with one out in a one-run game and gets us out of it. For me, managing a game, it was huge because it kept Kinker in play. I also want to comment on Roman’s slide. That was exactly how we teach our guys how to slide, hard and late and outside hand swipe. I told our guys tonight, with our competitive spirit, we will outlast teams. We need to keep that competiveness going. He managed his ball club very, very well, but our guys were able to execute at the end of the day.”

CANZONE, ROMANS CLAIM THE WIN
Canzone, from Sagamore Hills, Ohio, had his first career five-hit game. He stayed back on a changeup from CSUN right-handed reliever Hayden Shenefield and slapped a 1-2 pitch into left field to push Romans around for the game-winning run. Romans led off the inning with a check-swing single down the left field line and stole his first career base to set up Canzone, who collected his ninth multi-hit game of the year. He has nine hits in the last two games.

“I was more just thinking about my approach and what was going to come the next pitch,” Canzone said. “Once he threw the fastball away, I knew he was going to come back with something soft and low, I was looking that direction and got the pitch I wanted and got it done. I was so happy. It was freezing.”

“We’re taught in practice to slide late and outside and get that hand in,” Romans said. “It was the perfect opportunity tonight. I saw it and I was going as fast as I could to put the decision in Coach Beals’ hand. I wasn’t going to be slow and kind of make him hesitate.”

KINKER CAREER RELIEF OUTING
The Buckeyes’ go-to reliever, Kinker was once again a bulldog on the mound tonight. He relieved Michalik in the top of the eighth with one down. He left two runners on with a strikeout. In the tenth, the OSU senior reliever left the bases loaded when he got a fly out to Canzone in right. He finished with a career-high seven strikeouts and improves to 3-1 on the year.

“Everything was working tonight,” Kinker said. “It just felt like anywhere I needed to put it, the ball was going there. I had some frustration in the middle innings but I kept working and my defense played well behind me. Tonight is a momentum win.”

DON’T FORGET ABOUT CURLIS EITHER
A lot happened after he left the game, but junior left-handed starting pitcher Connor Curlis had a career day on the mound in a no decision performance. He tied his career with eight strikeouts and walked none in 6.1 innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits in his fifth start of 2018.

OHIO STATE FINDS A RUN IN THE SIXTH
Ohio State got the first run on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Cherry knocked a RBI single to centerfield to score Canzone, who led off the inning with an opposite-field double.

CSUN ANSWERS
The Matadors struck right back with a run in the seventh when Albee Weiss hit a RBI double to the gap in right center to score Trevor Casanova.

MICHALIK COMES UP BIG IN THE SEVENTH
Coach Beals gave the ball to his experienced bullpen with one out in the seventh. Michalik got two big back-to-back ground outs to leave a runner on third. He tossed one scoreless inning.

GAME NOTES

– Ohio State improves to 2-1 all-time vs. the Matadors. It marked the first meeting in Columbus between the two schools and first meeting since 1994.

– The Buckeyes claim their first walk-off win of the year and their first extra-inning game of 2018.

– The OSU pitching staff had a season-high 15 strikeouts and walked none. Curlis tied his career high eight strikeouts and Kinker set a career high with seven punch outs

– Canzone had a career-high five hits.

– Hit streaks extended: Canzone (3).

– Cowles extended his career-high reached base streak to 18 games. Pohl also extended his career-high reached base streak to 15 contests.

– Kinker claimed his third win of the year and 12th of his career.

RANDOM NOTES FROM AROUND THE BALL PARK

– The home white uniforms sparkled in the clubhouse this afternoon. Great vibes all around today. And why wouldn’t they be? The boys were home after four long weeks on the road. It was great to see all the gameday staff walk into the park, wave and say hello. Especially event manager Larry “Mother Nature” Romanoff. His radio was ready for the opener.

– The bass was booming at Bill Davis. The big boy speakers rocked pregame. Captain Kyle Michalik put together an electric mix for 2018. A little country. A little pop. And a lot, a lot of 2000s rap and hip hop. The glory years for the OSU SID and several others on staff.

– Also noticed at the ball park was Ohio State Baseball radio play-by-play announcer Matt Andrews. Big baseball guy. Loves his mechanical pencil (.7 lead). Don’t borrow it. That’s not cool. He is a busy guy too right now, covering the Big Ten champion Ohio State women’s basketball team in the NCAA Tournament in Columbus. You can listen tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET on The Ohio State IMG Sports Network.

– Opening Day. Everyone has to dust off the rust. Even the public address announcer. Matt Leininger, who is the talented PA for the Columbus Clippers, was on the mic today and forgot what inning it was. He announced to the fans it was the seventh inning stretch. But it was only the end of the sixth inning. Woops. His voice is still majestic. It probably was the first time in recent baseball history at any level there were two “Take Me Out To the Ball Games” played in one game. We’re just trend-setters at Bill Davis Stadium.