Feb. 26, 2005
DOTHAN, Ala. – Blake Green’s three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie as Troy held on to down Ohio State, 6-4, Saturday at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic at Northcutt Field. The loss was the Buckeyes first loss of the season, dropping them to 1-1 in the opening weekend of the season.
Henry Gutierrez led off the inning with single through the right side and moved to third on a double off the wall in straight-away centerfield by Clint Robinson, putting runners at second and third without an out. Green took a 1-0 offering from OSU starter Trent Luyster (Sr., Flushing, Ohio/Harrison Central) and deposited his first home run over the fence in left-centerfield. Rory Meister (Fr., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison), in his first action as a Buckeye, came in and retired the next three batters to get out of the inning and then sat down all three batters he faced in the seventh, before giving way to Brett Hatcher (Sr., Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) to start the eighth.
Hatcher gave up a run in the eighth inning after giving up an infield hit to Gutierrez, the lead-off batter. A wild pitch allowed Gutierrez to reach second, but Hatcher retired the next two batters before walking Jared Keel to put runners at the corners. Chase Amis singled to right-center field to bring home the Trojans’ sixth run of the game.
Troy, a campus about 55 miles northwest of Dothan, Ala., relied on the arm hometown standout Landon Brazell, a fifth-year senior at Troy from Dothan, who came up just short of going the distance for the Trojans. He picked up his second win of the season, allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits. He threw 127 pitches and faced three batters in the ninth inning before giving way to Ryan Ramsey, who recorded the final three outs of the game.
Ohio State got to Brazell for two unearned runs in the ninth. Jason Zoeller (So., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) got to first on a fielding error by the Trojan shortstop and Tony Kennedy (Fr., Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) followed with a base hit to centerfield before Brazell walked Wes Schirtzinger (So., Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) to load the bases. With groundouts, Jacob Howell (So., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) and Mike Rabin (Sr., West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East) batted in Zoeller and Kennedy for the Buckeyes’ final two runs of the game.
Luyster was tagged with the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year. He pitched 5.0 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
“Troy was pumped up tonight with their hometown pitcher on the mound,” Ohio State head coach Bob Todd said. “This was the biggest game of the tournament for them. We went four or five innings when our pitchers did not put pressure on them. We have to come back tomorrow and get after it. A 2-1 record is much better than 1-2.”
Ohio State took the lead in the second and then had to battle back to tie the game in the fourth inning.
Eric Fryer (Fr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) led off the top of the second inning with an infield hit, his first as a Buckeye. He moved to second on a ground out by Cody Caughenbaugh (Jr., Newark, Ohio/Licking Valley) before scoring on a double by Paul Farinacci (Sr., Westlake Village, Calif./Agoura Hills) to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead.
Troy got the run back in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on a lead-off walk by Gutierrez. Robinson followed with a double down the left-field line to move Gutierrez to third before he evened the score on a ground out by Green.
The Trojans took a one-run lead in the bottom of the third inning, turning a two-out walk into the go-ahead run. Luyster walked Brian Bennett, who moved to second on an infield single by Nick Smith. Gutierrez sent a shot into centerfield to score Bennett from second, but Rabin threw out Smith at third from centerfield.
Ohio State tied the game 2-2 in the fourth inning on single deep in the hole between first and second base by Wes Schirtzinger (So., Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) that scored Farinacci, who had reached base on a fielder’s choice that caught Caughenbaugh, the lead-off batter, at second. Farinacci advanced to third on a single down the right-field line by Tony Kennedy (Fr., Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South), his first career hit.
Each team had nine hits and for the second time in as many games, Ohio State played error-free baseball. Caughenbaugh led the Buckeyes going 3-for-4 and Kennedy was 2-for-4. Ohio State left eight batters on base, including five in scoring position. Gutierrez finished 3-for-3, scoring three times and knocking in one to lead Troy. Robinson was 2-for-4. Green was 1-for-4, batting three runs in on his sixth-inning home run after getting an RBI on a ground out in his first at bat in the second inning.
Ohio State is scheduled to play a non-conference game vs. Iowa Sunday at 11 a.m. in its final game at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic, though severe thunderstorms could cancel the game.