WINTER HAVEN, Fla. No. 22 Ohio State defeated Army twice Saturday at Chain of Lakes Field, 3-1 and 8-4, to improve to 16-2 on the season and extend its winning streak to eight games. Army, which had come into the day a winner of four consecutive games, drops to 6-8 overall.

A five-run third inning broke a 3-all tie in the nightcap and gave the Buckeyes a comfortable, five-run cushion, 8-3. The big inning included four hits and two Cadet errors. Michael Stephens and Ryan Dew each singled and scored in the inning and Cory Rupert walked and scored. All three scored on the big hit of the inning: Matt Streng’s bases-loaded triple, his third of the year, down the right field line. 

Starter Eric Best picked up a win in his third consecutive appearance. He also pitched at least 5.0 innings for the third consecutive game. The junior, now 3-0 on the season, gave up five hits and three runs before turning the game over to Drew Rucinski in the sixth inning.

Army scored a run in the sixth to creep to within 8-4, but Jake Hale came into the game in the seventh and, for the eighth consecutive game, allowed no runs and finished out an Ohio State win.

For the Buckeyes offensively, Streng led with two hits, two runs scored and the three RBI. Zach Hurley and Dew also had two hits.

A combined two-hitter from Dean Wolosiansky and Drew Rucinski, coupled with just enough run support, enabled the Buckeyes to win game one against Army, 3-1. 

Ohio State starter Wolosiansky (3-1) went 4.1 innings and allowed just one hit and one run before exiting in the fifth. Rucinski came on in relief and pitched the final 2.2 innings without allowing a run to get his second save of the season.

Rupert hit a solo home run over the 380-foot mark in left center field his second of the year to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead. The Cadets matched the score with a run in the third off a walk, sacrifice and RBI double by Zach Price.

Army left a man on from the second through the sixth innings, but Dan Burkhart gunned down a runner attempting to steal third in the fourth, and Rucinski struck out two looking to end the fifth inning and halt two of Army’s best chances to add to its score.

Stephens opened the fifth with a triple over the center fielder’s head and scored on Burkhart’s sacrifice fly, giving the Buckeyes the lead once again at 2-1. Ohio State added an insurance run in the seventh. Cory Kovanda singled, went to second on a sacrifice, to third on a passed ball and he scored on Justin Miller’s sacrifice fly. 

Game Notes from Florida, Volume XV…

  • Ohio State and Hartford will experience Sunday morning baseball with an 11 a.m. game at Chain of Lakes Field. Freshman Ross Oltorik is scheduled to start for the Buckeyes.
  • Dan Burkhart had his 19-game hitting streak end in the first game against Army. The streak was tied for the fifth-longest in school history.
  • Burkhart got a much deserved rest from starting in game two vs. Army. That meant junior education major Shawn Forsythe was in the lineup for his first collegiate start.
  • Forsythe took advantage of his opportunity. He executed to perfection a hit-and-run situation with Matt Streng on first, slapping the ball behind Streng for a clean base hit to right. Forsythe also scored and later he drew a walk. He also had what seemed like a 15-minute at-bat in his final plate appearance to cap a busy day.
  • Just five earned runs allowed in the first three games on this spring trip has lowered the team ERA to 5.04. 
  • Representatives from the Army baseball team presented New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner on Thursday with a cadet sabre, the highest honor a West Point cadet can bestow upon someone. Meeting with Mr. Steinbrenner at the Yankees’ spring training headquarters in Tampa, the cadets presented the sabre to Mr. Steinbrenner for his “years of unconditional generosity toward West Point, the Army baseball team and the military as a whole.”
  • Army defeated Illinois, 9-8, Friday on a three-run, walk-off home run.