COLUMBUS, Ohio. Justin Miller powered No. 24 Ohio State to an 11-7 win over Northwestern Saturday by hitting a grand slam home run and driving in a career-high six runs. The series-clinching win, after a 5-4 win Friday, improved Ohio State’s records to 31-9 overall and to a Big Ten-leading 11-3 in the conference.
Miller, playing in his 200th career game as a Buckeye, sent an Eric Jokisch pitch high and deep to centerfield in the first inning for his first career grand slam. Scoring ahead of Miller’s sixth home run of the year and his 11th career home run was Cory Kovanda, who had singled, Michael Stephens, who doubled and Dan Burkhart, who had walked.
“I didn’t think I hit the ball that well,” Miller said after the game. “I thought I had one RBI with a sacrifice fly, not four.”
After Northwestern scored two in the second to close the deficit to 4-3, Matt Streng led off the Buckeyes’ second inning with his seventh home run of the season to extend the lead to 5-3. A Ryan Dew RBI single in the third put the Buckeyes up, 6-3.
Northwestern, 11-26 and 2-10 in the Big Ten, wouldn’t go away, though, scoring a run in the fourth to get to within 6-4.
It’s was Miller’s time, again, in the fifth inning. With two men on, the two-time senior captain ripped a double off the centerfield wall to score two more runs, build the lead back to a five-run cushion and the Buckeyes cruised to the win from there.
Dean Wolosiansky pitched 7.0 innings of seven-hit, five-earned run baseball to improve his record to a Big Ten-best 9-1 on the season. Jokisch, who gave up nine runs in 4.1 innings pitched, dropped to 3-5 with the loss.
Jake Hale pitched the final two innings in a non-save situation to finish a game for the 24th time this season.
Miller, in addition to his homer, double and six RBI, also had a single during his grand day. Michael Stephens had two hits and two runs scored, Ryan Dew had two more hits he leads the team with a .396 average and Michael Arp had a pair of hits and two RBI to support Miller’s offensive numbers. Kovanda and Burkhart each scored a pair of runs.
Game Notes and Random Thoughts from the Press Box: