TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  Ohio State defeated Marist, 6-4, in an NCAA Tallahassee Regional elimination game behind key hits from Michael Arp and Ryan Dew and flawless work out of the bullpen. The Buckeyes, now 41-18 on the season, play at noon Sunday against Georgia, an 8-2 loser Saturday to Florida State.

“I think the key today was our playing good defense,” Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. “We didn’t give them any second opportunities with zero errors and three double plays. So we win and get to play another day.”

Senior closer Jake Hale extended his single season saves record by pitching 2.0 shutdown innings for his 17th save this season and he set a new Ohio State career mark with his 28th career save.

“Jake has been one of the best relief pitchers we have had at Ohio State and he is possibly the best in the nation this year,” Todd said.

“But the unsung hero has been the middle inning relief work of Drew Rucinski. He has done outstanding work for us all season, including today when he didn’t allow any hits or runs in 1.2 innings of work.”

Dew had a three-run triple in the second inning that erased a 2-0 Marist lead and Arp scored the winning run in the sixth inning after a leadoff double.

Ohio State starting pitcher Dean Wolosiansky was seeking to become only the third Buckeye to win 12 or more games in a season, and he kept the Buckeyes in the game by working 5.1 innings. He left with a man on in the sixth and the score tied 4-all, giving way to Rucinski.

Rucinski retired the first five batters he faced to get the Buckeyes into the eighth inning with the lead. As he has done all season, Rucinski did his job before giving way to Hale, and today he picked up his 11th win of the season remarkably all in relief to tie Wolosiansky and five other Buckeyes for fourth-place on Ohio State’s all-time single season wins list.

Hale threw two pitches in the eighth inning and got three outs…a double play on his first pitch and a flyout to right on his second. He then set the side down in order in the ninth to set the school career saves record with 28 for his career.
Marist scored first with two runs in the second inning. The inning could have been worse had third baseman Justin Miller not made a nice lunging stab at a low shot to his left to start a textbook 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The team’s school record 26th triple of the season was the big blow in a four-run third inning that put Ohio State into the lead, 4-2. After Cory Kovanda singled the 24th time in the last 26 game he has registered a hit and Michael Stephens and Dan Burkhart drew walks, Dew ripped B.J. Martin’s (5-6) first pitch down the right field line for a bases-clearing triple. Miller then drove Dew home with a sacrifice fly.

Marist closed to within one at 4-3 by scratching a run out in the fourth on a single, balk, ground out and sacrifice fly. And then in the fifth the Red Foxes tied the score on a solo home run by George Agostini, his second of the year.

The Buckeyes came right back. Arp hustled for a double after hitting a ball over the third baseman’s head to lead off the sixth and was sacrificed to third by Tyler Engle. Matt Streng sent a deep ball to center that Jon Schwind made a terrific catch on, but Arp scored on the play to put the Buckeyes back on top, 5-4.

After Miller and Arp drew walks to lead off the eighth and moved up on Engle’s sac bunt, Ohio State added an insurance run when Streng singled to right, scoring Miller and making the score 6-4.

In the ninth, Hale got a called third strike to open the inning, a blooper to third was out No. 2 and a fly ball was out No. 3 that gave the Buckeyes another game and Hale sole ownership of both of Ohio State’s saves records.

Notes and Random Thoughts from the Dick Howser Stadium Press Box:

  • Kind of hard to believe but this was Ohio State’s 23rd game in the state of Florida this season. The team played a total of 21 games in Bill Davis Stadium this year.
  • How about this for efficiency: the Buckeyes scored six runs off seven hits and no help from Marist errors.
  • Nice work, Tyler Engle. Both of his successful sacrifice bunts led to Ohio State runs…and they were rather large runs, too: Michael Arp’s go-ahead run in the sixth and Justin Miller’s insurance run in the eighth.
  • Engle has now taken over the team lead with seven sac bunts this season.
  • We are going to create a record here and it’s legitimate and it will be in the 2010 Ohio State media guide (or online PDF since we’re going away from printed media guides). The record is wins in relief: 11 by Drew Rucinski in 2009. All the other Ohio State pitchers with 11 or more wins were starters. Congratulations, Drew, on your record.  
  • This team has been a team all year and how about this team stat from today: all six runs were scored by six players, Nos. 2 through 7 in the batting order (Cory Kovanda, Michael Stephens, Dan Burkhart, Ryan Dew, Justin Miller and Michael Arp).
  • Matt Streng is going to get called out, too: two huge RBI, the first the game winner on a sac fly in the sixth and the second the insurance, sixth run of the game.
  • Six RBI in the 2009 NCAA tournament for Ryan Dew.
  • The game today was the first game between Ohio State and Marist on the baseball diamond.
  • A few facts on the Red Foxes: Marist’s nickname is the Red Foxes…the team is located in Poughkeepsie, N.Y….Marist won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to get into the NCAA tournament…Marist has won the MAAC Commissioner’s Cup for overall athletic excellence four consecutive years…Marist defeated Ohio State in women’s basketball in an NCAA first-round game two years ago.
  • Red Foxes is actually a more common term for a reynard, a fury little creature indigenous to the Hudson Valley in New York state.
  • A peanut fact because FSU’s press box had a huge box of peanuts for folks to dig into: it took four Ohio State batters a groundout, single and two walks to crack, eat and enjoy a paper plate full of peanuts.
  • The bases were loaded at the end of that plate of peanuts in the bottom of the fourth inning. Moments later Dew hit his three-run triple and the Buckeyes had their first lead in the 2009 NCAA Tallahassee Regional. It was just coincidence, though, that the peanuts moment came right before Dew’s big hit. 
  • “Balk.” “Balk.” “Balk.” Not the sound of a clucking chicken. Rather, the sound of all three umpires in the field who had each called a balk in the game by the top of the fourth inning.
  • “Balk” happened again later in the game, the third called against Marist.
  • LHP Eric Best will get the ball for Ohio State’s Sunday game.