JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 14 Ohio State scored nine runs in the seventh inning en route to a 16-1 victory over Florida A&M Saturday in Jacksonville.
Freshman right-hander Brett McKinney impressed in his collegiate debut going five innings, giving up four hits, no runs and striking out eight.
For the second consecutive game to start the season, the Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead. After a one-out triple in the first by Cory Kovanda, Burkhart promptly drove him in on a groundout to first.
With Rattlers on second and third and one down in the top of the second, Zach Hurley turned in an early play of the year candidate. Scott Sheplak drove a fastball deep into the gap in left-center and Hurley turned his back, chased it down and made the diving grab on the warning track with his back to home plate. Both Rattler baserunners thought the ball was down and had to retreat to their respective bases and McKinney followed up by striking out Oscar Santola to end the inning.
Ohio State tacked on two more in the third to push the lead to 3-0. Chris Griffin scored on a wild pitch after leading off the frame with a walk and Hurley crossed home plate on a two-out single up the middle by Michael Stephens.
The Buckeyes continued to add on when Brad Hallberg launched a solo shot, the first of his career, down the left field line on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the fourth and extend the lead to 4-0. With two down in the inning Griffin made it 5-0, scoring his second run of the game on a bloop double by Hurley.
After the Rattlers scored their first run off three Buckeye errors in the seventh, the Buckeyes answered right back with nine runs on six hits in the bottom half of the inning including a two-run shot down the left field line by Stephens. Two more Ohio State runs in the eighth capped off the scoring.
Stephens finished 4-for-6 with five runs batted in and a run scored. All nine Buckeye starters reached base and Ohio State pounded out 16 hits in all.
The Buckeyes (2-0) will close out the weekend at 11 a.m. Sunday against the Richmond Spiders.
– Two different starters for the Buckeyes from Friday’s game: redshirt freshman Brad Hallberg got the nod at third base and senior Chris Griffin started in center field.
– After wearing the red jerseys with white pants Friday evening, the Buckeyes chose to go with the white sleeveless jerseys against the Rattlers.
– Freshman Brett McKinney, making his first collegiate start, promptly struck out the first three batters he faced.
– A little less chilly in the press box at first pitch as game time temperature was 66 degrees after 57 degrees at first pitch Friday.
– I don’t know of a better way to describe Hurley’s catch than Jim Edmonds-esque.
– The Buckeyes scored eight times before making an out in the seventh.
– 18 Buckeyes saw action in the game including Brett McKinney, Brian Bobinski, Hunter Mayfield and Ryan Cypret seeing their first game action at Ohio State.
– Buckeye pitchers have struck out 25 batters compared to just four walks over the first two games.
– The win was No. 999 for head coach Bob Todd.