April 22, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Ohio State pounded out 14 hits, including two home runs by Jedidiah Stephen and another by Ronnie Bourquin to cruise to an 11-4 victory in the nightcap vs. Indiana to salvage a doubleheader split Saturday at Sembower Field and take a 2-1 lead in the series.
The Buckeyes wasted little time getting on the score board. Jacob Howell (Jr., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) led off the game with a single through the right side and then stole second before moving to third on a wild pitch. After Eric Fryer (So., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) drew a walk, Howell scored on a line drive into center field by Bourquin, a junior from Canton, Ohio (Canton South). Both Fryer and Bourquin advanced a base on the second wild pitch of the inning by Hoosier starter Chris McCombs. Stephen, a senior from Caldwell, Ohio (Shenandoah), drove in both runners with a base hit through the left side to give Ohio State a 3-0 lead.
Four more runs crossed the plate for Ohio State in the top of the third inning. Fryer led off the inning with a single down the right-field line and then Bourquin followed with his second home run of the day to build the lead to 5-0. He had a solo shot in the first game of the doubleheader. Stephen followed with a solo shot of his own to extend the Buckeye lead to six runs. McCombs plunked Wes Schirtzinger (Jr., Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) and then he advanced to third when McCombs threw past first base on a failed pick-off try. He scored on a single through the left side by Jason Zoeller (Jr., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) to give Ohio state a 7-0 advantage. Bourquin’s home run was his third of the season. The back to back homers by Bourquin and Stephen were the first by the Buckeyes since Derek Kinner and Drew Anderson went long in the second game of the Indiana series in Bloomington in 2004. The Buckeyes won that game 9-3 and swept the series.
An RBI single through the left side by Zoeller and a two-run single down the left-field line by Howell yielded three more Ohio State runs in the fifth inning. Stephen teed off on the first pitch he saw with one out in the sixth and crushed it against the wind and over the left field fence to give Ohio State an 11-0 lead. It was Stephen’s second home run of the game and his team-leading fifth of the season. He was the last Buckeye to do it two round-trippers, doing so April 12 in an 8-5 victory over Central Michigan. Ohio State now has 15 home runs this season.
Indiana avoided the shutout in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run double to the gap in left-center field by Ben Greenspan that scored Andrew Means and Tyler Cox. Zach Boswell added a sacrifice fly to pull Indiana within an 11-3 score. Those runs came off OSU starting pitcher Jake Hale (Fr., Albany, Ohio/Alexander), who pitched a solid six innings, allowing just three hits in the first five innings of the game before the Hoosiers scored the three runs in the sixth.
Hale gave way to Trey Fausnaugh (Jr., Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) to start the seventh. He got a ground out to start the inning and followed a double with a strikeout. Cox doubled to left-center to score Michael Nilles, the fourth run of the game, and then got a ground out to seal the win for the Buckeyes.
Hale earned the win to improve to 2-3 on the year, while McCombs was tagged with the loss to slip to 1-2. He allowed the first seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in just 2.1 innings.
Stephen drove in four runs and scored twice in a 3-for-4 game, while Bourquin drove in three runs and scored twice in a 2-for-3 effort. Howell also was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Zoeller also had a pair of hits as the Buckeyes doubled up the Hoosiers in the hit column, 14-7. The Buckeyes overcame two errors, while Indiana had one. Andrew Means was the leading Indiana batter, finishing the game 2-for-2 with one runs scored.
Ohio State (23-12 overall, 8-7 Big Ten) and Indiana (14-22, 5-10) will conclude the four-game Big Ten series with a single game Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on AM 920 WMNI and at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.