May 19, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cleveland State scored three runs in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie and cruised to a 7-2 victory over Ohio State Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium. The loss dropped the Buckeyes to 31-21 overall as it closed out the regular season home schedule with a 15-9 record. Ohio State finished the season 7-4 during an 11-game homestand and now heads to Minneapolis needing to win three of four games at Minnesota to win the regular season Big Ten title.
The Buckeyes came out completely flat getting only six hits, including three in the first four innings, against 12 hits by Cleveland State, which overcame three errors to beat Ohio State for the first time since 1997.
Drew Anderson (Jr., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led off the Buckeye first inning with his 12th career triple and scored on a ground out by Jacob Howell (Fr., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) to give the Buckeyes on the scoreboard first. The dozen triples by Anderson tied the school record held by Jason Driscoll, who played at Ohio State between 1997-2000.
Jim Waller tied the game in the top of the second with a two-out home run over the fence in left-center field and then the Vikings took a 4-1 lead in the top of the third on a three-run home run by Gary Ball. Doug Besozzi got things started with a one-out single through the right side. Dominic Erney moved him over to third with a single to right field and then after the third strikeout of the game by OSU starter Dan DeLucia (Fr., Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Watterson), he gave up his long ball of the game.
Cleveland State added a fifth run in the fourth, again with two outs. Now facing reliever Brett Hatcher (Jr., Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine), Steve Chinn drew a walk and stole second before getting driven in by Mike Ochwat with a single over the head of Buckeye shortstop Brett Garrard (Sr., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg).
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Steve Caravati (Jr., Dover, Ohio/Dover) was retired for the first time in 10 straight plate appearances. He fell three short of the 1934 school record held by John Prosenjak when he flew out to left field. The last time Caravati, this week’s National Co-Hitter of the Week and the Big Ten Player of the Week, was retired happened in the first inning of game three of the Northwestern series last Saturday.
The Vikings turned a one-out double down the left-field line by Dominic Erney into the sixth run of the game when Ben Smith singled through the left side. The Buckeyes countered that run when Kelly Houser (So., New Holland, Ohio/Adena) crossed the plate on a single by Howell for the second run of the game.
But Cleveland State got that run back in the top of the eighth, also capitalizing on a one-out double. Chinn doubled to the gap in right-center field and scored on a single to shallow center field by Besozzi to give the Vikings a 7-2 lead.
Caravati and Ronnie Bourquin (Fr., Canton, Ohio/Canton South) led Ohio State getting two hits each in three at bats. Howell drove in two runs with a ground out in the first and a single in the seventh.
Cleveland State starter Matt Kaltenbach struck out eight and walked two, but picked up the win to improve to 4-6 on the year. DeLucia got the loss to fall to 2-3. Ohio State used a total of four other pitchers in the game and did manage to strike out seven batters as a staff.
Second-place Ohio State (31-21 overall, 18-10 Big Ten) now goes to Minnesota (33-19, 19-9), which also dropped a home weekday game Tuesday to Northern Iowa, 14-4, for a four-game series to decide the Big Ten regular season champion. The teams will play a single game Friday at 7:35 p.m. (EDT) before playing a doubleheader Saturday at 3:05 p.m. The series finale will be Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Trailing the Golden Gophers by one game, Ohio State must win three of four games to win its 15th regular season championship and first since 2001. NPR 820 (WOSU-AM) will broadcast all four games and Fox Sports Net North will televise the series opener.