JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 14 Ohio State opened the 2010 season with a 4-2 win at North Florida Friday night behind strong pitching performances by Alex Wimmers and Drew Rucinski.
Wimmers picked up the win, going six innings, giving up one hit and allowing just two balls out of the infield. He punched out nine and gave up just one free pass. Rucinski pitched the final three innings to earn the save, striking out five and giving up two unearned runs.
With two down in the top of the second, shortstop Tyler Engle doubled in Cory Rupert, who doubled earlier in the inning, for the Buckeyes’ first run of the 2010 campaign.
Wimmers found himself in his first jam in the bottom of the third. After a walk and an error put runners on first and second to start the inning, the preseason All-American sent a pair of Ospreys back to the dugout on strikes before a fielders’ choice ended the threat.
The Buckeyes increased their lead to 2-0 in the fifth when Zach Hurley scored on a double play ball hit by Dan Burkhart after leading off the inning with a walk.
North Florida tried to answer back in the bottom half of the inning after Justin Preckajlo reached base safely via a wild pitch after Wimmers struck him out. Preckajlo went to second after an errant pickoff throw by Wimmers and then stole third but the right-hander answered back by striking out a pair and induced a fly out to end the inning.
The Ospreys put the leadoff man on again in the eighth, but reliever Drew Rucinski struck out Sam Perry and Burkhart hosed Andrew Hannon who was trying to steal, the second base stealer he threw out in the game. Rucinski then punched out leadoff hitter Michael Smith, ending the North Florida threat.
Kovanda finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and Burkhart also started the season out on a high note, also going 3-for-5.
– The Buckeyes’ choice when watching sports on the bus? Curling. The team wasn’t too happy when the United States lost another heartbreaker Thursday afternoon.
– Most interesting sight of the first two days? Difficult decision but the slight edge goes to Jared Strayer’s conversation with the Jonas Brothers over Michael Stephens’ black velvet coat and assistant coach Pete Jenkins’ pregame meal of mac and cheese topped with loads of pico de gallo.
– Jacksonville natives were not too happy with the first pitch temperature of 57 degrees, 30 degrees higher than Columbus.
– First pitch was delayed 14 minutes after the outfield lights turned off just before the scheduled first pitched of 7 p.m. If that wasn’t bad enough, the lights went out again in the top of the sixth resulting in a 15 minute delay. In all, there were three delays caused by the lighting.
– Buckeye fans traveled well as at least one third of packed Harmon Stadium donned scarlet and gray.
– Seven of nine Buckeye starters recorded at least one hit.
– The win was the 998th in the career of Ohio State head coach Bob Todd.