May 8, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jacob Howell was 3-for-4 with a single, triple and home run to lead Ohio State to a 3-1 victory over Penn State Saturday in the first of four games this weekend in Big Ten action at Bill Davis Stadium. The win moved the Buckeyes into a momentary first-place tie with Minnesota, who was playing a doubleheader at home against Iowa.
The victory was the 800th for head coach Bob Todd, who is in his 21st season as a college head coach. He was 124-82 in four seasons at Kent State and improved to 676-336-2 in his 17th season at Ohio State.
Howell, a freshman from Ashland, Ohio (Ashland), got a hold of a first-pitch fastball with one out in the bottom of the first inning and sent it out of the park about 10 feet to the left of the right-field foul pole to give the Buckeyes an early 1-0 lead.
OSU starter Josh Newman (Sr., Wheelersburg, Ohio/Wheelersburg) walked the lead-off batter to start the third. After the free pass, Brett Showalter moved to second on a ground out by Jim Leitgeb and to third on a grounder by Derrick Barr to second baseman Drew Anderson (Jr., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg). Barr beat out an errant throw to first, but when the ball skidded into the Penn State dugout, Showalter was able to reach home and tie the game 1-1 with the unearned run.
Howell led off the inning with his team-leading fourth triple of the season and scored on a ground out by Steve Caravati (Jr., Dover, Ohio/Dover). Jedidiah Stephen (So., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) reached on a fielding error on Nittany Lion shortstop Mike Milliron and then reached third on back-to-back balks on PSU starter Jim Farrell. Brett Garrard (Sr., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) drove in Stephen with a single to left field to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead. Farrell got a ground out to get out of the fourth inning and retired a string of 11 straight batters. Newman was equally impressive retiring the last 10 batters he faced.
With one out in the eighth inning, Anderson lined a shot to centerfield to break the streak by Farrell and then Howell singled through the left side. Caravati skied a shot just off the infield dirt that was lost in the sun by Leitgeb, the Penn State second baseman. Leitgeb fired on to second to catch Howell and with the infield-fly rule in effect, Caravati was out on the play.
Newman left the game with eight strikeouts after eight innings of work. Trey Fausnaugh (Fr., Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) came on in the ninth and sat batters down in order to pick up his fifth save of the season. The win for Newman improved him to 7-4 on the season and was his 31st career victory, pulling him within five of the school record. He now has 82 strikeouts in 79.1 innings this season and 273 strikeouts in 345 career innings, which is the third highest most innings pitched in school history.
Howell was the only Buckeye with multiple hits though Caravati and Garrard drove in runs to help Ohio State (26-17 overall, 14-7 Big Ten) to its seventh straight victory. The Nittany Lions (24-19, 13-8) were led by Clint Eury who was 2-for-4. Farrell was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits. He had six strikeouts against one walk and fell to 3-8 on the season.
The series continues Sunday with a doubleheader at 1:05 p.m. before concluding the four-game set Monday at 6:35 p.m. NPR 820 (WOSU-AM) will broadcast the first game Sunday and the series finale Monday night.