April 8, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 24th-ranked Buckeyes scored five runs on five hits and starter Cory Luebke allowed one run on three hits as Ohio State downed Illinois 5-1 in the nightcap to sweep a doubleheader against the Illini. The teams will finish the series with another doubleheader Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Ohio State jumped out early scoring their five runs in the first four innings.
J.B. Shuck (Fr., Galion, Ohio/Galion), the do-everything player for Ohio State having made starts at first and on the pitcher’s mound, made his first collegiate start in the outfield, getting the nod in left. He led off the bottom of the first inning for the Buckeyes with a triple to the gap in right-center field. He scored on a wild pitch to give his team an early 1-0 lead.
The Buckeyes used a second triple and a wild pitch to add three runs in the bottom of the third inning to build a 4-0 lead. Shuck drew a lead-off walk and then moved to second on a ground out. He stayed at second on a lineout and a two-out walk by Ronnie Bourquin (Jr., Canton, Ohio/Canton South) and then Jedidiah Stephen (Sr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah drove in both runners with his third triple of the season to give his team a 3-0 lead. He scored on a wild pitch for the final run of the inning.
The two triples by Ohio State matched a season high. It was the fifth time this season the Buckeyes had two triples in a game. The team now has 15 triples on the year.
A lead-off walk by Jason Zoeller (Jr., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) to start the fourth inning turned into the fifth run of the game. He was bunted over on a sacrifice by Wes Schirtzinger (Jr., Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) and went to third on a ground out by Josh Hula (Fr., Castalia, Ohio/Margaretta) before scoring on a single to left by Shuck. That gave Ohio State five runs in the first four innings. Combine that with the three runs the Buckeyes scored in the first four innings of the earlier game of the doubleheader, Ohio State has now outscored its opponents 107-35 in the first four innings of 24 games this season.
Illinois scored its only run of the game in the seventh and final inning of the doubleheader. Luebke struck out the lead off batter and then got the next batter to fly out, but then he gave up two base hits and hit a third. The second single, by Aaron Ifft, scored Shawn Roof. Luebke stepped up facing Travor Huisinga and caught him looking at strike three to end the game.
Luebke, a sophomore from Maria Stein, Ohio (Marion Local), pitched a complete game and struck out seven batters. He allowed one run on three hits in improving to 4-2 on the year. Jake Toohey took the loss for Illinois, allowing five runs on five hits. He walked three and had three strikeouts.
Shuck finished 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Stephen was 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored. Bourquin had the team’s other hit. Roof was 2-for-3 for the Illini (14-11, 2-4).
Ohio State (18-6, 5-1) and Illinois will play another doubleheader Sunday beginning at 1:05 p.m. The teams will play a seven-inning game followed by a nine-inning game. Both games will be broadcast on AM 920 WMNI. The first 1,000 fans in attendance Sunday will get a free Nick Swisher bobble head. Swisher, currently an outfielder with the Oakland A’s played was college baseball at Ohio State and is the only current Buckeye playing Major League Baseball.