May 17, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Freshman outfielder Matt Angle came through with a one-out sacrifice fly to score Jedidiah Stephen and give Ohio State a 3-2 ninth-inning victory over Miami (Ohio) in a non-conference thriller at Bill Davis Stadium.
With the score tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Stephen came through with a one-out base hit through the left side to put the winning run on base. Connor Graham, the fourth RedHawk pitcher of the game, tried to pick off Stephen at first, but an errant throw sent the Buckeye shortstop to third. Graham intentionally walked Paul Farinacci (Sr., Westlake Village, Calif./Agoura) and then loaded the bases with a second walk to Eric Fryer (Fr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg).
Miami skipper Tracy Smith yanked Graham in favor of Sam Shorts and then pulled his centerfielder Jason Brown for David Franco, who plugged the hole up the middle as a fifth infielder. Smith also slid right fielder Brandon Hillier over to cover center field, a configuration Angle admitted after the game to never have seen before. But the rookie from Whitehall, Ohio (Whitehall-Yearling) connected on a 1-1 pitch and sent the ball deep to right-center field for the sacrifice that delivered Stephen, a junior from Caldwell, Ohio (Shenandoah), and sealed the Buckeyes’ 32nd victory of the season (32-16 overall and 14-11 in the Big Ten).
The ninth-inning victory was the third win for the Buckeyes this season in their last at bat and was the fifth victory in nine one-run decisions this season. Ohio State had to fight back from a 2-1 deficit to win its sixth home non-conference game of the year.
Miami (34-15) scored first, getting a run in the top of the second inning. Paul Frietch singled up the middle with one out and went to second when Geoff Orr walked. He scored on a single to center by designated hitter Michael Moljewski.
The Buckeyes evened the score in the bottom of the inning. Jason Zoeller (So., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) led off the inning with a single through the right side and went to second on a ground out by Jacob Howell (So., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) and to third on an infield single by Stephen. Stephen stole second, but an errant throw from Miami catcher John Slone allowed Zoeller to tie the game 1-1.
Frietch scored Slone in the sixth with a single to center to break the tie and take a one-run lead. Slone single to right to get on base with two outs in the inning. Brian Canada followed with a slap through the left side and then Frietch followed with his RBI single to put Miami up 2-1.
The Buckeyes tied the game in the seventh inning turning a one-out double by Howell into the equalizer when Farinacci singled up the middle to score Howell from second and tie the game 2-2. The RBI was the 45th of the season for Farinacci, who leads the team in the stat category.
Stephen and Farinacci each had two of Ohio State’s eight hits. Angle was 0-for-4, but came threw with the game-winning sac fly. Miami had five hits and four errors, including the crucial error in the ninth inning. Frietch had two hits to pace the RedHawks.
Dan Barker (Fr., Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) started the game on the hill for Ohio State and allowed one run on two hits in four innings before giving way to Cory Luebke (Fr., Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local) to start the fifth. Luebke allowed the second Miami run on three hits. Brett Hatcher (Sr., Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) started the eighth inning, but gave way to Rory Meister (Fr., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison) with one out in the ninth. Meister got a fly out and a ground out to get out of the winning and set the stage for his fourth (4-0) win of the season.
Miami started Jeff Day, who went five innings and allowed one run before giving way to Brad Bachman to start the sixth. He last 1.2 innings and after allowing the second Ohio State run gave way to Keith Weiser, the ace of the Miami staff, who finished the seventh and all of the eighth. Graham started the ninth and lost is fifth of the year (4-5).
Ohio State closes the regular season this weekend with a four-game Big Ten series against Minnesota. The teams open the series Friday with a single game at 6:35 p.m. and will play a doubleheader Saturday at 4:05 p.m. before concluding the series Sunday with a single game at 1:05 p.m. The Buckeyes need one win to earn a berth into next week’s conference tournament, but could finish as high as second depending upon other games this weekend.