COLUMBUS, Ohio Eric Best pitched shutout, one-hit baseball through four innings and the Buckeye bats provided plenty of offensive support with 12 hits to lead No. 28 Ohio State to a 12-0 win over Morehead State Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. The win improved Ohio State’s record to 23-7 heading into a Big Ten series this weekend vs. Michigan State in Columbus. Morehead State falls to 10-19. 

Cory Kovanda had three hits, including a double, and four RBI, Justin Miller had a pair of hits and the first RBI of the game and Cory Rupert had two doubles to power the Buckeye offense. Tyler Engle scored three runs and Zach Hurley and Dan Burkhart scored two runs apiece. Burkhart also hit a home run in the fourth inning, his fifth of the year.

Ohio State won the battle of the extra base hits as well. The Buckeyes came into the game with 108 for the season and had six today. Morehead, which had 120 entering the game including 54 home runs, managed just two hits for the game against five Ohio State pitchers.

Best returned to the mound on three days rest after a short outing Sunday at Minnesota. The fourth-year junior, an Olentangy Liberty graduate, got back into the groove that enabled him to pitch at least 5.0 innings in each of his four previous appearances prior to his Minnesota start. He gave up a leadoff single but then didn’t allow another hit the rest of the way in improving his record to 5-1 in his pre-determined 4.0 innings of work.

Ross Oltorik pitched 2.0 innings without allowing a hit or walk and struck out one in relief of Best. Jared Strayer followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. Drew Rucinski faced only three batters in the eighth. Jake Hale pitched the ninth for his conference leading 17th finished game of the year.  

Ohio State jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first off a hit, three walks, a hit-batter and a sacrifice fly. Michael Arp’s two-out, two-run single was the key hit. The two-out RBI’s represented Nos. 99 and 100 such RBI’s for the Buckeyes this season.

More trouble for the Eagles in inning two as Ohio State added two runs off a couple of hits. Engle walked and scored on a Michael Stephens sacrifice fly. Kovanda pulled two bases out of a perfect bunt in front of the plate that prompted a high throw and error, and later scored on a RBI single by the team captain, Miller.

Burkhart’s fifth home run of the season increased the lead to 6-0 in the fourth inning and from that point on the Buckeyes cruised.

Morehead starting pitcher Kris Sipes took the loss in his first collegiate start. He is 0-2. Morehead committed four errors behind Sipes. The Buckeyes had just one. 

A View From The Bill Davis Stadium Press Box:

  • Bob Todd, who used 14 position player in the game, after the game: “I could tell that these players were having fun and relaxing, but at the same time really getting themselves focused for the Michigan State series this week.”
  • The game tonight kicked off five consecutive home games for Ohio State and 14 of 17 at Bill Davis Stadium.
  • Ohio State and Morehead State have played just once previously, in 1996. The Buckeyes claimed a 15-13 victory at old Trautman Field.
  • Ohio State hosts Michigan State in the first Big Ten series of the season Friday through Sunday at Bill Davis Stadium. Game times for the three days: 6:35 p.m. Friday and 1:05 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.