COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State dropped its first Friday night game of the season in Big Ten play, 4-1 to Michigan at Fischer Stadium, in a game that was a pitcher’s duel but not with the parties involved that everyone expected.
Alex Wimmers, Ohio State’s All-American ace, tweaked a hamstring, according to coach Bob Todd, literally moments before the start of the game, forcing the Ohio State coaches to scramble for a starter. Junior left-hander Theron Minium got the call to make his first start of the season and just his second in the last three years.
Minium worked through a perfect first inning, getting two strikeouts looking, but he walked the first two batters of the second inning. A couple of hard-hit doubles followed, plating three runs, and the coaches called in junior Dean Wolosiansky, who got the final three outs of the inning.
Wolosiansky then took over the game from an Ohio State standpoint, pitching the final 7.0 innings while allowing but one earned run, three hits and only one walk. He also struck out three Wolverines.
But as good as Wolosiansky was, Michigan’s trio of pitchers were even more effective in giving up just five hits to the Buckeyes while allowing only one earned run despite surrendering six walks. Led by winner Eric Katzman, who improved to 4-1 this season with the win and to 3-0 lifetime vs. Ohio State, the UM staff limited the Buckeyes to a 1-for-15 performance at the plate with runners on base.
Ohio State’s only run came in the second inning. Michael Stephens doubled, moved to third on a fly ball out and scored on a wild pitch.
The Buckeyes had their chances to put runs on the board. Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Scarlet jerseys were on first and second base with one out but none would score. Katzman got a ground out and a fly-out to end the inning with runners on the corners.
Buckeyes faced a similar situation in the sixth. After Katzman gave up singles to Dan Burkhart and Stephens, he was lifted after a strikeout and reliever Matt Gerbe entered the game. He got the UM out of trouble with a couple of groundouts.
Michigan added a run in the seventh for a 4-1 lead. Wolosiansky gets credit for keeping it at one run after he drilled Anthony Toth to put runners on first and second. Facing Ryan LaMarr, Michigan’s .456-hitting best player, “Wolo” got out of the inning on a force-out at second.
Ohio State loaded the bases in the seventh – via an error and two walks – with two out, prompting Michigan coach Rich Maloney to bring in top reliever Tyler Burgoon (6-1 with seven saves). He got the home team out of the inning by getting a couple of generous strike calls on the way to a called third strike on Brian DeLucia.
Ohio State had two runners on again in the eighth and ninth innings, but Burgoon got out of each jam to get credit for the save and stake his Wolverines to a one-game lead over the Buckeyes in the Big Ten race with an 8-5 record. Ohio State is now 7-6 in the league and 23-14 overall.
Some Game Notes and Random Thoughts…