COLUMBUS, Ohio – Illinois scored three runs in the ninth inning to break-open a tie game and went on to record a 6-3 win over Ohio State in the first game of a three-game series at Bill Davis Stadium. A crowd of 1,331 fans were on hand. The Buckeyes fall to 24-18 overall and 8-8 in the Big Ten. Illinois improves to 22-21 overall and 7-9 in the Big Ten.
The Illini scored their winning runs off three hits and four walks, one intentional. Drew Rucinski gave the team 8.0 solid innings before giving up the three runs in the ninth. He drops to 4-3 with the loss. Illinois reliever Wes Braun improves to 2-0 with the win. Bryan Roberts gave up a couple hits in the ninth inning and had to face the tying run at the plate three times, but he got out of the inning unscathed to record his eighth save of the season.
The game was even through seven innings with five ties and/or lead changes. Illinois led 1-0 after its half of the second and 3-2 after its half of the fourth.
The Buckeyes tied the score at 1-apiece on an RBI single by Zach Hurley in the second. Three consecutive singles in the third – by Michael Stephens, Ryan Dew and Cory Rupert – put the Buckeyes in front, 2-1. And Cory Kovanda’s second home run of the season – and fourth of his career – tied the score at 3-3 in the fourth inning.
That would be it for Ohio State’s scoring, although the team had 12 hits and numerous chances. The biggest issue was hitting in bases-loaded double plays three times – in the first, second and seventh innings.
Zach Hurley and Kovanda had three hits and one RBI apiece for Ohio State, which has now lost four consecutive games. Aaron Johnson had three hits and two runs scored for the Illini.
The teams resume the series with a 1:05 p.m. start Saturday.