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: