April 29, 2000
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Led by the power of Nick Swisher (Fr., Parkersburg, W.Va.) belting his first career multiple home run game and relief ace Cory Cox (Jr., Chillicothe, Ohio) tossing 3.2 innings of shutout baseball, the Ohio State baseball team (28-17 overall, 9-9 in the Big Ten) defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini (30-17, overall, 14-8 in the Big Ten), 6-4, in game one of a doubleheader at Illinois Field. The win ties the four-game series at 1-1.
The Buckeyes took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Jason Turner (Sr., Versailles, Ohio) led off with a walk and John Mayor (Jr., Chesterfield, Mo.) immediately followed with a single to put runners at first and third base. Nick Swisher (Fr., Parkersburg, W.Va.) then gave OSU the early lead by bringing home Turner on a ground out to Illinois first baseman Andy Schutzenhofer. In the bottom half of the inning, Illinois was threatening with two outs and Andy Schutzenhofer on second base. Jeff Gertz followed and lined a single to left field but OSU leftfielder Jason Driscoll (Sr., Middlefield, Ohio) fielded the ball and fired a bullet to home plate to cut down Schutzenhofer and protect the one-run OSU lead.
In the top of the fifth, OSU added three runs to its lead. Chad Ehrnsberger (Jr., Kalida, Ohio) led off with a double down the left field line. Turner immediately followed with a single to put runners at first and third base. Mayor then gave OSU its second run of the ballgame when he drove in Ehrnsberger on a sacrifice fly to leftfield. Swisher immediately followed by taking a 2-0 offering from UI starting pitcher Ryan Kvasnicka over the right field wall for his sixth home run of the year. The two-run blast increased the OSU lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Illinois rallied and tied the game at four. Craig Marquie and D.J. Svihlik led off with back-to-back home runs off OSU starting pitcher Kevin Goodrum (Jr., Mentor, Ohio). Two batters later, Schutzenhofer singled and later scored on a bases loaded walk by Creston Whitaker. Jeff Gertz scored the final Illinois run of the inning on a grounder by Chris Basak.
In the top of the sixth inning, Swisher put the Buckeyes back on top with his seventh home run of the season and the first multiple home run game of his career. On a 2-2 offering from UI reliever Joe Sprengard, Swisher launched a ball over the right field wall to give OSU a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh inning, OSU added another run. With one out, Driscoll singled to center field. Mike Check (Jr., Bay Village, Ohio) then moved Driscoll to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. Ehrnsberger then drove in Driscoll on a line drive that ricochet off UI third baseman Marquie. A heads up Driscoll was able to score when the UI defense could not locate the ball and give OSU a 6-4 edge.
Both starting pitchers did not factor into the decision. Goodrum went 3.1 innings, gave up seven hits, four runs and struck out one batter. Cox improves to 4-2 on the season with his second longest outing of the season. Illinois starter Kvasnicka went 3.1 innings, gave up six hits, four runs and recorded one strike out. Sprengard (2-3) took the loss.