COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State defeated Big Ten Conference-leading Michigan State, 10-5, Sunday to win the series and climb to within a game of the league leaders heading to the midpoint of the conference season next week. Ohio State evened its overall record at 15-15 and improved to 5-4 in the Big Ten. Michigan State is now 22-10 and 6-3.
Josh Dezse had four hits and a career-high five RBI, including a game-changing three-run triple in the seventh inning, to lead the Buckeyes. Brian DeLucia tripled and doubled, reached base four times and scored three runs. Tim Wetzel, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the seventh inning, had two hits and two runs scored. Ryan Cypret had three hits, two RBI and he scored two runs.
Left fielder David Corna had the defensive play of the game, throwing out Ryan Jones at the plate in the eighth inning to end the inning and keep the Buckeyes’ lead at two, 7-5. It was a close play at the plate and when Spartan skipper Jake Boss Jr. carried his displeasure into the dugout after initially arguing the play with home plate umpire Scott Inman, he was ejected from the game.
Ohio State used six pitchers in the game. David Fathalikhani, the fourth Buckeye pitcher of the day, picked up the win to improve to 2-0. Dezse came on in the ninth to close it out, striking out a pair for the Buckeyes. Andrew Armstrong and Jared Strayer each appeared in all three games while Theron Minium and Fathalikhani made two appearances on the weekend.
“I’m really proud of our bullpen,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “All of the guys came up to me before the game today and said they were ready to go again and we went to them.”
Ohio State jumped on Michigan State starter David Garner for two first-inning runs. DeLucia led off the Ohio State first inning with a triple off the top of the right-centerfield wall – his third game-opening hit of the series and fourth in the last five games – and he scored on Wetzel’s grounder to short. Cypret and Dezse followed with singles and Cypret was able to score on a Matt Streng fielder’s choice.
Michigan State, which had runners on in each of the first two innings against Ohio State starter Greg Greve, finally broke through with a pair of runs in the third inning to tie the game at 2-all. Brandon Eckerle hit a one-out double and scored on a Jeff Holm single. Holm came around to score on a single by Jared Hook.
DeLucia was in the middle of another two-run inning in the third for Ohio State. He doubled down the right field line and then scored on Dezse’s single up the middle. Wetzel also scored after walking, taking third on Dezse’s hit and then scoring on Streng’s fielder’s choice.
Greve pitched well in his third Big Ten start. He scattered nine hits and allowed three runs before exciting after the fifth inning with a 4-3 lead.
Two unearned run in the sixth inning gave the Spartans their first lead of the game at 5-4. The Spartans had runners on the corners with one down in the seventh, but Fathalikhani got a strikeout and then catcher Greg Solomon picked off Jared Hook at third for the final out of the inning.
MSU’s Garner, meanwhile, settled in and, after getting a strikeout to open the seventh, he had a career-high eight Ks and a 5-4 lead. He walked DeLucia, though, and Wetzel followed with an infield single to put two men on. Ryan Cypret then singled to short right field to load the bases and chase Garner, who scattered nine hits with four earned runs, three walks and his career-best eight strikeouts.
And in came Tony Wieber, the hard-thrower who got the win in Game 1 with five strikeouts in two innings. Dezse was his first batter and the Ohio State freshman sent a towering triple off the right centerfield wall. DeLucia scored easily and Wetzel and Cypret, who had to make sure the ball wasn’t caught, were about five feet apart when they touched third and rounded for home with each scoring without a throw to give the Buckeyes a 7-5 lead.
After the excitement of Michigan State’s half of the eighth, Ohio State tacked on three more runs to make the score 10-5. Cypret had a two-RBI single and Dezse had a popup to first that was unplayable in the 40 miles per hour wins that dropped for a single and scored another run.
Game 3 Game Notes and Good Stuff: