Feb. 22, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Ohio State baseball team came back from a two-run ninth-inning deficit and outlasted Central Florida in 13 innings for a 9-3 win Friday at Jay Bergman Field in Orlando, Fla. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 3-2 while the Knights fall to 3-2.

“It’s always good to beat the home team at their own tournament on Friday night so it’s a big win for us,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “More importantly is how we won the baseball game. The depth really shined tonight. We had depth in our bullpen and our bench. We used a lot of different pieces to win the game tonight and that’s the most satisfying part for me.”

Ohio State threatened in the top of the second against UCF starter Eric Skoglund when Ronnie Dawson reached on an infield single and Zach Ratcliff followed with a line-drive single to left to put runners on first and second with one down. However, UCF third baseman Kam Gellinger made a nice diving stop on a grounder in the hole by Aaron Gretz to start a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play to keep the game scoreless.

The Buckeyes put runners on first and second with one down in the top of the third when Craig Nennig reached on an error and Troy Kuhn walked but Skoglund pitched out of it once again by striking out Jacob Bosiokovic and getting Pat Porter to fly out to left to end the inning.

Ohio State then broke through in the top of the fourth. Skoglund hit Josh Dezse to lead off the inning and Dawson continued his hot start to his collegiate career, driving an RBI double to right-center for the 1-0 Buckeye lead. Ratcliff then reached on an infield single and Gretz sacrificed the runners to second and third. Nennig followed with a line out to short for the second out of the inning and Tim Wetzel was hit by a pitch to load the bases but Kuhn grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice as it stayed a 1-0 game.

UCF’s first chance came in the bottom of the fourth. Ohio State starter Greg Greve retired the first two batters of the inning but hit Erik Barber to put a runner on. Jordan Savinon followed with a single to right but was caught off first base for the third out of the inning as the Buckeyes preserved the 1-0 lead.

The Knights threatened again in the bottom of the fifth when Matt Diorio walked and Derrick Salberg singled to center to put runners at the corners with one out. Greve looked like he was going to get out of it when Dylan Moore grounded a hard-hit ball to third but the Buckeyes were unable to turn the double play as Diorio came around to score to tie the game at 1-1.

UCF then took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Tommy Williams led off the inning with a solo home run to left for the 2-1 advantage. James Vasquez followed with a single to center and was sacrificed to second by Barber before Greve was lifted in favor of left-hander Tanner Tully. The freshman walked Savinon but was able to get pinch-hitter Bret Gordon to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.

The Knights then tacked on another in the bottom of the seventh. Salberg reached on an infield single and Moore singled to right-center to put runners at the corners with one out. A fielder’s choice by JoMarcos Woods then plated Salberg to extend the UCF lead to 3-1.

Ohio State answered back to tie it in the top of the ninth. Dawson led off the inning with a single through the right side to chase Skoglund. Right-hander Zac Favre came on and walked Ratcliff to put runners on first and second with nobody out. After Jake Brobst pinch-ran for Ratcliff, Gretz sacrificed both runners into scoring position before Favre struck out Nennig for the second out of the inning. However, Wetzel responded with a single back up the middle to plate a pair and tie the game at 3-3.

The Knights threatened to win it in the bottom of the frame when an error and an infield single put runners on first and second with two out but Tully was able to get Woods to foul out to Bosiokovic at third as the game headed to extras.

Things stayed quiet until the Buckeyes were able to jump ahead in the top of the 13th of UCF left-hander Parker Thomas. Dezse walked to lead off the inning and pinch-runner Troy Montgomery was moved to second on a groundout by Dawson. Ryan Leffel, who had come on to play first in the top of the 10th, followed with a line-drive single to left-center to score Montgomery for the 4-3 Buckeye lead.

After right-hander Jarrod Petree came on to relieve Thomas, Nennig reached on a bunt single and Savinon, the UCF catcher, had his throw sail down the right field line to allow Leffel to score. Wetzel then walked to load the bases before a wild pitch allowed Gretz to score. Kuhn followed with a walk to load the bases and Bosiokovic then doubled to right-center to plate a pair. Porter then capped the scoring when he scored Kuhn with a sacrifice fly to left to extend the lead to 9-3.

Dawson finished the game 4-for-6 with a double, an RBI and a run scored to pace the Buckeyes offensively.

Both starting pitchers pitched well without factoring in the decision. Greve allowed two earned runs on five hits over 5.1 innings pitched while Skoglund allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out five over 8.0 innings.

The Ohio State bullpen was excellent in relief of Greve, allowing one earned run over 7.2 frames. Tully allowed one earned run on four hits over 3.2 innings, while Lakins pitched three scoreless, hitless frames and Dempsey tossed a scoreless 13th inning.

Ohio State takes on The Citadel at 12:05 p.m. Saturday.

– The game marked the Buckeyes first extra-inning game since May 17 of last season and their first win since a 7-6, 10-inning win over Illinois April 20 of last year.
– Dawson has been excellent in his first three collegiate games, going 9-for-14 with two doubles, a home run, four RBI and four runs scored.
– Lakins has pitched well over his first two appearances, picking up a win and a save while striking out four and allowing one hit over 6.0 scoreless innings.
– The game was delayed 45 minutes because of a severe pregame thunderstorm that swept through the Orlando area.