April 12, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State shortstop Jedidiah Stephen homered twice, including a three-run shot in the first inning as the 24th-ranked Buckeyes won for the 20th time this season with an 8-5 victory vs. Central Michigan Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.
The Buckeyes had built an eight run lead on eight hits and rode the arm of midweek starter Dan Barker (So., Dayton, Ohio/Northmont), who kept the Chippewas hitless through his five innings of work. But Central Michigan scored one in the sixth, three in the seventh and added a run in the eighth. Closer Rory Meister (So., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison) walked two and gave up a hit to load the bases in the top of the ninth, but he got a line out and struck out Tyler Stovall to end the game.
Ohio State wasted little time, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. J.B. Shuck (Fr., Galion, Ohio/Galion) led off the inning with a double to left center before Matt Angle (So., Whitehall, Ohio/Whitehall-Yearling) drew a walk. A fielder’s choice by Eric Fryer (So., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) nabbed Shuck at third, but Angle would score on a single to right by Ronnie Bourquin (Jr., Canton, Ohio/Canton South). Fryer went from second to third on a fielding error on Central Michigan right fielder J.T. Jones, who did not field the ball cleanly. The error was of little consequence, however, when Jedidiah Stephen (Sr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) took a 1-0 offering from CMU starter Andy Wingert and sent a no-doubter over the fence in left-center field to score three runs.
Wes Schirtzinger (Jr., Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) had a two-out triple to give the Buckeyes a team cycle in the first inning. The triple was the 16th by Ohio State this season.
In Stephen’s next at bat, he went long again. This time it was a solo shot to nearly the same place to lead off the third inning. It was the second time in his career he had two home runs in a game. He did it the first time in 2004 in a game against Michigan State, which also was the last time a Buckeye hit two home runs in a contest.
The Buckeyes plated two more runs in the fourth inning to take a 7-0 lead. Jonathan Zizzo (So., Youngstown, Ohio/Sarasota [Fla.]) led off the inning with a single to right and then went to third on a one-out single through the right side by Angle. Zizzo scored on a wild pitch that also sent Angle to second. He then stole third and scored on a ground out by Fryer.
In the fifth, Ohio State built an 8-0 lead when Adam Schneider (Jr., Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura) scored an unearned run when a ground ball off the bat of Schirtzinger went between the legs of CMU second baseman Noah Lankford. Schneider had reached on a one-out throwing error by the Chippewas shortstop.
Barker won for the fourth time this season (4-0) with four strikeouts in a walk, but OSU coach Bob Todd knew he would be needed in Big Ten play this weekend at Michigan, so he handed the game over to Trey Fausnaugh (Jr., Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) to start the sixth. Then the Chippewas came to life.
Central Michigan scored one run on three hits in the sixth and then got three more runs in the seventh, including a lead-off home run by Lankford, who cleared the fence in right-center field. The final two runs scored with two outs on RBI singles by Jones and Troy Moratti. Another CMU run scored one run to pull within three runs, 8-5, in the eighth when Bryan Resnick delivered a two-out single to score Lankford.
Fausnaugh gave up four runs on eight hits in 1.2 innings and left with two out in the seventh. Matthew Selhortst (Fr., Westerville, Ohio/St. Charles) came in from the bullpen, but Todd instead went to Meister. He pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing the final Chippewa run in the eighth before working himself into and out of a jam in the ninth.
Central Michigan outhit Ohio State 10-9 in a far from stellar fielding effort by either team. The Buckeyes committed five errors to four by the Chippewas. Stephen led the Buckeyes with two hits and four RBI, while the team also had RBI from Fryer and Bourquin. Moratti was 3-for-5 to lead Central Michigan.
First-place Ohio State (20-7 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten) will resume conference play this weekend with a four-game series at Michigan (16-12, 4-4). The teams will play a single game Friday at 6:35 p.m. followed Saturday with a doubleheader at 4:05 p.m. The series concludes Sunday with a single game at 1:05 p.m. Games one, three and four will be broadcast on AM 920 WMNI.