BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Ohio State senior pitcher Drew Rucinski was lights out on the mound and the Buckeyes were proficient in their execution behind him and at the plate in a 6-1 victory over Indiana Friday before 917 fans at Sembower Field.
Rucinski did not allow an earned run, struck out five and scattered seven hits without walking a batter to outperform IU’s talented Blake Monar and improve to 3-1 on the season and keep Ohio State in a first-place tie in the conference with a 3-1 record. Indiana is now 2-2. Game 2 is Saturday at 1 p.m.
“This win all starts with Drew Rucinski’s quality start,” Ohio State coach Greg Beals, who improved to 5-1 all-time against Indiana, said. “Drew was awfully sharp today. More importantly, he executed our game plan and his game plan. And that was pitching ahead in the count and using his off-speed pitches. When you are ahead in the count plus are using your off-speed pitches, you’re going to be tough to beat. Drew was able to do that today.”
Despite only having eight hits and committing two errors, the Buckeyes were indeed sharp both offensively against Monar as well as defensively. Consider:
“The game seemed to have our attention today,” Beals said. “Our guys were locked in and competed together. We executed almost all of our offensive situations. We just knew if we executed and got a couple of runs that Rucinski was going to be tough to beat. Well, we executed and scored six runs.”
Ohio State took a 1-0 lead in the third the small ball way. Matt Streng singled and then Engle singled to right and Streng hustled to third. He scored on DeLucia’s sacrifice fly.
After Streng made a diving stop at third in the third to get a force out, the lead grew to 2-0 in the fourth on Dezse’s towering, TOWERING triple to left center field followed by Solomon’s sac fly.
After IU scored an unearned run in the sixth, the Buckeyes added two more runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings. Solomon singled and doubled and scored twice in the innings with Brad Hutton and David Corna each hitting run-scoring singles – behind the runner in each case.
Pinch running for Hutton, Joey Ciamacco came around to score the second run in the seventh inning on Engle’s clutch, suicide squeeze bunt. And Tim Wetzel scored the other eighth-inning run after getting hit by a pitch, moving to second on a balk, advancing to third on a Ryan Cypret fly out to right and scoring on Dezse’s sacrifice fly.
At that point Armstrong relieved Rucinski and, after allowing a hit and a walk to the first two batters he faced, he recorded six consecutive outs to close out Ohio State’s 11th win against 12 defeats.
Game Notes & Random Thoughts from One Busy-as-a-Beehive Press Box: