COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team outlasted a late comeback by Nebraska in a slugfest series finale, 15-14, Sunday afternoon at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 15-6 lead, scoring 11 unanswered runs before the Huskers plated 11 runs in the final three innings to pull within one. Right-handed reliever Seth Kinker was able to close the door on Nebraska to pick up his sixth save of the year, striking out Joe Acker with the go-ahead run on base.
With the series win to open conference play, the Buckeyes improve to 19-8 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten action, while the Huskers fall to 14-14 overall and 2-4 in league play. The Buckeyes sprayed 22 hits against the NU pitching staff, marking the most hits at home by a Buckeye squad (since 2004).
QUOTE FROM COACH
“The next two weekends are going to be on the road,” head coach Greg Beals said. “You need to win your home series. Hitting is contagious. Everything that happens in baseball is contagious. The game seems to have a flow to it. The flow was all ours and all offense early in the game and then they caught it at the end too. I told the guys after the game this is a black-and-blue type conference. We know everyone in this conference is going to compete. We knew Nebraska was going to be tough this weekend. I have a lot of respect for the coaches in this conference. We have to be ready to go next week in Iowa.”
A HIT PARADE AT BILL DAVIS
A combined 41 hits lit up the scoreboard on Easter Sunday. Every Buckeye in the lineup recorded at least one hit, including six Buckeyes with multi-hit contests. Dominic Canzone was 4-for-6 with three runs scored, double, four RBI and two stolen bases. Conner Pohl was 4-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBI and Tyler Cowles went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, double and one RBI. Noah McGowan was 2-fo-5 with three runs scored, three RBI, double, home run and walk. Kobie Foppe had three hits with a RBI, run scored and walk.
HUSKERS SCORE FIRST
Scott Schreiber doubled to the gap in left center to score the first run of the ball game in the top of the first. In the second, Shreiber stole third base and scored on a throwing error in the third before a solo homer by Luke Roskam.
ELEVEN UNANSWERED RUNS FOR THE BOYS
The Buckeye bats came alive in the third inning, plating 11 unanswered runs in a Buckeye offensive onslaught. Brady Cherry hit a sac fly to score Canzone for the first run. In the fourth, Jacob Barnwell singled to left to score Pohl. Canzone went the other way for a two-run double down the left field line. Kobie Foppe knocked a base hit through the left side for a RBI single. In the fifth, Cowles doubled to score McGowan and Canzone scored two more runs on a single through the right side. Pohl kept the offensive way going with a two-run single in the sixth and Barnwell’s sac fly made it 11-3. After the Huskers scored three in the top of the seventh, a three-run homer by McGowan and RBI single by Romans put the lead to nine.
HUSKERS RALLY LATE
Nebraska wouldn’t go away quietly. In the eighth, a two-run single by Zac Luckey, RBI single by Jaxon Hallmark, two-run single by Mike Addante and RBI infield knock by Mojo Hagge made it a three-run game. Kinker had a huge strikeout to leave two on base in the eighth when he fanned Schreiber.
In the ninth, Huskers got within one run after a RBI single by Zac Repinski and RBI single by Addante. However, Kinker ended the game with his second strikeout.
ON THE MOUND
Right-handed starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer improved to 2-2, throwing five innings on seven hits, three runs, one walk and two strikeouts. Right-handed reliever Thomas Waning allowed three runs, two earned on four hits with one strikeout in 1.1 inning. Right-handed reliever Kyle Michalik walked two and struck out one in 0.1 inning. Left-handed reliever Griffan Smith allowed three runs, two earned, on one hit with one walk. Right-handed reliever Curtiss Irving tossed 0.1 inning on three runs, two earned, three hits, one walk and one strikeout. Kinker allowed two runs on four hits with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings.
– Ohio State improves to 11-13 all-time vs. the Huskers. The Buckeyes have won three straight weekend series.
– The Buckeyes are 8-2 at home. The team is hitting .341 and slugging .487 at Bill Davis Stadium.
– Ohio State recorded five two-out RBI and have an impressive 78 two-out RBI through 27 games in 2018.
– Today marked the second time this season Ohio State recorded at least 20 hits in a game. It was the most hits by a Buckeye squad at home (since 2004).
– The 22 hits was the most allowed by the Nebraska pitching staff this year. Ohio State has had at least 10 hits in 15 games this season.
– The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten in batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.399), run scored (212), hits (297) and RBI (196).
– Canzone went over the 100-hit mark in his career today with four hits. He has 102 hits in 76 career games. He leads the conference with 45 hits.
– Pohl hit .571 (8-for-14) with three RBI and four runs scored in series vs. the Huskers.
– McGowan is leading the Buckeyes in average (.411), doubles (12), home runs (6), RBI (37) and slugging (.710).
– Hit streaks extended: Pohl (7), McGowan (5), Barnwell (4) and Canzone (4)
– Reached base streaks extended: Canzone (12), Foppe (11), Pohl (7), Barnwell (6), Cowles (5), McGowan (5) and Romans (3).
– Kinker tied former Buckeye Eric Best (2007-10) with 91 career appearances, which is fifth all-time. He now has 15 career saves, which ties former Buckeye Rory Meister (2005-08) for fifth all-time.
RANDOM NOTES FROM AROUND THE BALLPARK
– The Easter Bunny was the first to arrive at the park this morning. Surprising gameday staffers and media members on the stats table in the press box, a bright-orange bowl was filled to the brim with a variety of everyone’s favorite candy. Sunday treats are the best. Happy Easter to everyone out there.
– Another legend returned to Bill Davis today too. Bob Spears, the Buckeyes’ radio analysis on AM 1460 ESPN and former Buckeye pitcher. He once held the scoreless innings streak record. But to his surprise, he didn’t have a credential waiting for him at the pass gate and had some trouble getting into the stadium. The OSU SID big leagued him. April Fools, Bobby.
– The baseball social media person had some fun with April Fools too, making a fake lineup for the game today. It was pretty stacked as familiar names on the coaching and support staff were used instead of the boys. But equipment manager John Dunn was not pleased that he didn’t make the cut for the starting nine. For the record, he was the fake designated hitter today.