WINTER HAVEN, Fla. The No. 22 Ohio State baseball team won its ninth consecutive game with a 9-8 win over Hartford Sunday at Chain of Lakes Field. The win improved the team’s record to 17-2 on the season. Hartford drops to 1-10.

Ohio State starting pitcher Ross Oltorik, a true freshman, pitched a career-long 5.0 innings, allowing just one run off six hits to record his initial collegiate win against no losses. He struck out a career-best five batters and walked three in his best performance to date as a Buckeye.

Oltorik had a couple of one-two-three innings, including striking out the side in the fourth, and he successfully got himself through a couple of tight situations. In the second inning with Ohio State up 2-0, Oltorik got through a bases loaded with nobody out pinch with a fly ball and a thank-you-very-much one-two-three double play with Oltorik fielding a one-hopper and throwing to Dan Burkhart for the force at home. Burkhart then threw to first to get the batter.

In the fifth inning, Oltorik faced a bases loaded with one out exam. He passed this test with flying colors as well, getting back-to-back strikeouts of the four and five hitters and fist-pumping all the way to the bench at the end of the inning to close the scorebook on his first collegiate win.

Meanwhile, the Ohio State offense was chipping away at a handful of Hawk pitchers and building a 9-1 lead. Zach Hurley led off the game with a triple and he scored on a groundout. Michael Stephens followed with a single and scored on Justin Miller’s single for a quick, 2-0 lead.

Consecutive doubles by Ryan Dew and Michael Arp plated another run for a 3-1 lead after the Buckeyes’ second, and then Ohio State scored four times in the seventh off four hits and two Hartford errors. Hurley, Cory Kovanda, Michael Stephens and Miller all singled and scored runs off Hartford reliever Matt Govoni.

Three consecutive two-out doubles in the eighth by Kovanda, Chris Griffin and Miller increased the lead to 9-1.
Miller led the Buckeyes offensively with four hits and three RBI. The senior captain recorded his 55th career multi-hit game and his three RBI represented the 35th time he has had multiple RBIs in a game.

The first four hitters for Ohio State Hurley, Kovanda, Stephens and Miller all had multiple hits as did Ryan Dew and Michael Arp, and the Buckeyes totaled 16 hits on the afternoon.

Hartford rallied with four runs in the eighth inning and another three in the ninth with half of its 14 hits coming in those two innings before closer Jake Hale came in to get the final three outs for his fourth save of the season and his 10th consecutive game finished without allowing a run.

Game Notes from Florida, Volume XVI…

  • Ross Oltorik was perfect when facing four batters with the bases loaded. He recorded a fly out and a double play vs. two batters in the second and he struck out two Hawks with the bases full in the fourth.
  • Jake Hale is now tied with Rory Meister for second all-time at Ohio State with 15 saves.
  • The Buckeyes have 75 extra base hits this season with an impressive mix of 33 doubles, 15 triples and 27 home runs.
  • In six games as a replacement in center field, Chris Griffin is hitting .429 (3-of-7) with three runs scored.
  • Justin Miller raised his average over .300 (.305) with his four-hit game and he climbed into third place for team RBI with 21. 
  • Hartford is located in West Hartford,Conn and it competes in the America East Conference.
  • Hartford is the last of six first-time opponents for the Buckeyes this year.
  • Ohio State went 5-1 against its first-time opponents with wins over Northeastern, SIU Edwardsville, Maryland Baltimore County, North Dakota State and Hartford, and a loss to Rhode Island.
  • Ohio State plays a 1:30 p.m. game Monday against Rollins at Alfond Stadium in Orlando. The stadium is the home field for the Rollins Tars and it is located about a mile from its campus.