May 21, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Paul Farinacci tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning and then Mike Rabin delivered the winning run pushing a suicide squeeze bunt between the pitcher and the first-base line to hand Minnesota a 3-2 loss and give the Buckeyes a doubleheader sweep Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 5,128 at Bill Davis Stadium.
The Buckeyes trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, but Jason Zoeller (So., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) got the rally started with a single to left. He stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jedidiah Stephen (Jr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah). Farinacci, who gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 victory in game one with seventh-inning single, sent a shot through the right side to plate Zoeller and tie the game 2-2. Eric Fryer (Fr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) sent Farinacci to second with a hit to center field and after a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position, Minnesota reliever Jon Muller intentionally walked Matt Angle (Fr., Whitehall, Ohio/Whitehall-Yearling) to load the bases.
Rabin, a senior from West Chester, Ohio (Lakota East), watched the first pitch for a ball and then fouled the second pitch in the bleachers down the right-field line before connected on the bunt he pushed between the pitcher the first-base line to score Jacob Howell (So., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland), who came in to pinch run for Farinacci, and give the Buckeyes their second one-run victory of the day. Rabin batted in two of Ohio State’s runs in a 2-for-4 game, while Zoeller and Fryer each went 2-for-3 as the Buckeyes slugged out nine hits to five by the Gophers.
OSU starting pitcher Trent Luyster (Sr., Flushing, Ohio/Harrison Central) pitched into the seventh inning, but left after giving up a pair of hits and a sacrifice bunt. Tony Leseman led off the inning with a single to center and then went to second on the sacrifice. He stayed put on an infield single by Jeremy Chlan that forced Bob Todd to go with Rory Meister (Fr., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison). A wild pitch by Mesiter moved both runners into scoring position, but he ended the threat with a fly out and a ground out.
Meister ended up winning his second game of the day to improve to 6-0 on the year. He pitched one inning between the two games, throwing just 2/3 of an inning in the nightcap.
Minnesota and Ohio State each had only three base runners in the first four innings of the game, but the Golden Gophers loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning and scored twice to take a 2-0 lead. Mike Mee sent a grounder between the legs of Zoeller, the Buckeyes second baseman, to lead off the fifth inning. Leseman followed with bloop single to shallow right-center field and then David Hrncirik drew a walk to load the bases. Luyster walked Chlan to bring home the first run of the game. Matt Fornasiere flew out to left to score Leseman on the sacrifice to build a two-run lead.
Ohio State used an error to score in the bottom of the fifth. Zoeller led off the inning with a single up the middle and went to second when Stephen was awarded first base on catcher’s interference. Farinacci, a senior from Westlake Village, Calif. (Agoura) reached on a fielder’s choice that caught Zoeller at third and then after a strikeout by Fryer, Stephen got to third on an infield single by Angle. Rabin drove him with an infield single, but after the run scored Fornasiere, the Minnesota shortstop, threw to third to catch Farinacci, who could not get back to the bag in time.
Hunter and Leseman each went 2-for-3 for Minnesota, which fell to 29-26 overall and 17-14 in the Big Ten. Starter Brian Bull took the loss to fall to 4-3 on the year. Ohio State is 34-17 overall and 16-12 in the league.
With the win in game one, the Buckeyes clinched an appearance in next week’s Big Ten tournament, which will be held at either Illinois or Purdue. If the Fighting Illini win, the tournament would be played in Champaign, Ill., but if they stumble and the Boilermakers can win Sunday at Indiana, the tournament would go to West Lafayette, Ind. The Buckeyes are currently tied for fourth with Michigan.
The series concludes Sunday with a single game at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast by NPR 820 (WOSU-AM) and on the Internet at www.wosu.org.