FOREST CITY, N.C.– Ohio State received an outstanding pitching performance from Drew Rucinski, played solid defensively and got multiple and timely hits from four players to key a 7-1 victory over Army Friday morning in this sleepy town in North Carolina that was once known as Burnt Chimney.
Playing at McNair Field, a fine summer league home of the Forest City Owls and constructed next to the Cool Springs Cemetery, the Buckeyes improved their record to 5-3 with a fifth win in the last six games. Army, a veteran team, a projected NCAA regional team and picked to win the Patriot League, dropped to 1-7 with the loss.
Rucinski kept the Army bats holstered all game on a cool, 50-degree day. He pitched 8.0 innings and allowed just two hits – singles in the third and sixth innings, respectively – and the one run with two walks. He improved to 2-0 on the year and lowered his earned run average to 2.33.
“Drew was a huge part of our defense playing extremely well,” Ohio State coach Greg Beals said. “He was really good. We turned double plays; our catcher picked guys off base; we didn’t commit any errors and our infielders made all the plays. We played a clean game of baseball.”
Offensively, Josh Dezse led the way with three hits, including a bases loaded double in the seventh that broke the game open, plus scored two runs and had two RBI. Matt Streng had two hits and knocked in the first two RBI of the game. Brad Hallberg and Greg Solomon also had two hits apiece plus a run scored.
Having no trouble with the 11 a.m. start time in the first non-Florida game of the year, the Buckeyes scored their first two runs the exact same way: a two-out single by Streng scored Dezse from second in the first and third innings. In each inning, Dezse reached on a two-out single and moved to second on Brian DeLucia walks, setting the table for the .389-hitting Streng, who feasted…twice.
DeLucia later scored ahead of Streng’s steal attempt in the third for 3-0 lead.
After Army cut the lead to 3-1 after their half of the fourth, the Buckeyes got the run back on a Ryan Cypret sacrifice fly. The inning could have been much worse for the Black Nights, but with the bases loaded Tyler Engle lined out to second with the runner getting doubled off second. And Dezse was on deck.
Dezse got his bases loaded chance in the seventh and he delivered, ripping a double down the left field line to score two and give the Buckeyes a 6-1 lead. DeLucia followed with a single to plate Engle for the final run of the game.
Senior Theron Minium worked a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game.
The Buckeyes are now preparing for an early and potentially long Saturday. That’s because the scheduled 3 p.m. game with Western Carolina has been moved up and will start at 11 a.m. And not confirmed yet, but a definite possibility: the 3 p.m. game Sunday vs. Akron could wind up being played at 7 p.m. Saturday night. All this shuffling because of threatening weather on the way.
Stay posted to OhioStateBuckeyes.com and, for you tweeters, to @BuckeyeNotes for the latest schedule updates.
Game Notes & Random Thoughts from the Press Box: