May 21, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Luke MacLean was 4-for-5 and batted in two runs to lead Minnesota to a 13-1 victory in the opening game of a four-game Big Ten Friday night at Siebert Field. With the loss in the opening game, the Buckeyes now must win the final three games of the series, which it has done two previous times this season, it they plan to win their first Big Ten championship since 2001. The Gophers can clinch their third straight Big Ten championship with one win in any of the final three games.
Minnesota starting pitcher Glen Perkins remained perfect against the Big Ten in the regular season with the seven-hit victory. He moved to 15-0 in two seasons with his fourth complete game of the season. He allowed only one run and struck out nine batters without a walk. He allowed only two runners to move into scoring position after the first inning.
Three of the seven Ohio State hits were in the first inning. Steve Caravati (Jr., Dover, Ohio/Dover), the NCBWA National Co-Hitter of the Week last week, knocked in Drew Anderson (Jr., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) with a single up the middle in the top of the first inning to give Ohio State an early 1-0 lead and extend his hit streak to nine games. Anderson led off the game with a single to left-center and then picked up his 18th stolen base of the season to move into scoring position.
Minnesota got three hits, including back-to-back base hits to score two runs giving the Gophers a 2-1 lead. Luke MacLean singled to center field with one out before OSU starter Josh Newman (Sr., Wheelersburg, Ohio/Wheelersburg) walked Matt Fornasiere to put runners at first and second. Jake Elder singled to right to score MacLean and tie the game and then Andy Hunter singled to short center field to give Minnesota a one-run lead. Both pitchers settled down after that as Perkins retired the next 11 batters he faced before Paul Farinacci (Jr., Westlake Village, Calif./Agoura) broke the streak with a single to left-center field to leadoff the fifth inning. Newman retired his next nine before a strikeout-wild pitch allowed Mike Mee to reach base in the fourth. The Gophers left runners at second and third.
A three-run fifth inning gave Minnesota a four-run lead. Newman walked Sam Steidl to leadoff the inning and then moved to third on a double by Luke MacLean. Steidl scored the first run on a ground out by Fornasiere. Elder drove in MacLean with a double to the gap in right-center field and then Mee scored Elder with a single to center to give the Gophers a 5-1 lead.
Minnesota took a six-run advantage on a two-run infield single by MacLean in the sixth inning. OSU shortstop Brett Garrard (Sr., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) got a glove on the grounder by MacLean, but the ball skidded into left field allowing both David Hrncirik and Tony Leseman, who both boarded by Newman walks, to score and make the score 7-1.
Six more Gopher runs crossed the plate in the eighth inning. After a fielding error on Farinacci allowed the first run to score, Hrncirik batted in a run and Leseman plated two runs. A wild pitch, the fourth on Ohio State pitching in the game, scored the final run of the game.
Newman departed the game after the sixth inning after reaching 106 pitches. He allowed seven runs on eight hits in 6.0 innings, struck out seven and walked four for the fourth time this season. He fell to 7-6 on the season. Jesse Paciorek (Jr., Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood) and Justin Myers (So., Scottown, Ohio/Symmes Valley) also pitched.
The loss was the worst conference defeat for Ohio State since 1989 when Michigan handed the Buckeyes a 14-2 setback on May 8.
The Buckeyes have won the final three games after dropping the series opener twice this season, winning the Michigan State series in East Lansing with three straight wins. Last weekend, Ohio State took the final three games to win the Northwestern series after a game-one loss. Michigan State was eliminated from contention for the Big Ten regular season championship after losing at home to Northwestern, 3-0, Friday afternoon.
The teams continue the series with a doubleheader Saturday at 3:05 p.m. (EDT). The series finale will be Sunday at 2:05 p.m. NPR 820 (WOSU-AM) will broadcast all three remaining games.