COLUMBUS, Ohio – The sun is going to shine again for the Ohio State Buckeyes. And judging by the way the team fought back Wednesday against the No. 7 Louisville Cardinals, that next sunny day may be coming soon. The Buckeyes lost their third consecutive game, 10-8 to the Cardinals, but the team battled hard with their bats and their bullpen after falling behind 7-1 early to make the game a game.
Dan Burkhart continued his hot hitting of late with a five-hit day, including his first home run of the season. Burkhart is hitting .636 in his current six-game hitting streak (14-for-22). Michael Stephens had two hits and two RBI. Zach Hurley had a big two-out RBI and Cory Rupert added a couple of hits and two RBI in support. The Buckeyes outhit the Cardinals, 14-11, but the team also had three errors that led to five unearned runs.
Louisville, led by Phil Wunderlich’s 18th home run of the season, improved to 38-7 with the victory, the 14th win in its last 15 games. Ohio State falls to 24-17 heading into a key Big Ten series this weekend against Illinois.
After Louisville took an early 3-0 lead after their half of the first, Ohio State cut into the lead with this nice ray of sunshine: Burkhart’s home run off the Bill Davis Stadium scoreboard sign.
The Cardinals tacked on four unearned runs in the second inning to extend the lead to 7-1, but the Buckeyes came right back with two more runs of their own, courtesy of a Hurley bloop single that scored Ryan Cypret and Brad Hallberg. The two freshmen were in the starting lineup at designated hitter and third base, respectively.
Rupert’s two-run double in the third closed the gap to 8-5. Wunderlich’s opposite field home run in the fourth made it a 9-5 game.
Ohio State charged back with three consecutive two-out singles in the sixth. Burkhart ripped his fourth hit of the game – and his second four-hit game in the last three games – to score Cypret from third to bring the Buckeyes to within 9-6. One batter later Stephens’ RBI single scored Cory Kovanda, who had singled before Burkhart’s hit, to make it a two-run game.
Another Buckeye run in the seventh made it a 9-8 game. Brian DeLucia was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a double-play ground out.
Louisville scored its 10th run of the game in the eighth off two hits and an error.
Eric Shinn, a fourth-year junior from Pinehurst, N.C., took the loss in his first decision of the year. He was pitching in first career start and making his seventh appearance of the season. He gave up three earned runs in 1.2 innings of work.
A quartet of relievers pitched 7.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs. Brett McKinney was solid out of the bullpen, pitching 3.0 innings of one-hit, one-run ball in middle relief. Jared Strayer also pitched a scoreless inning.