SARASOTA, Fla. Ohio State had a season high 19 hits, including four by freshman Ryan Meade, to fuel a 14-9 win over Dartmouth Sunday at the IMG Academy Park. The win improved Ohio State’s record to 7-4 on the year while Dartmouth is an even 3-3.
Meade, coming off a three-hit day Saturday in the win over Harvard, also knocked in three runs to spark Ohio State offensively. Every starter had at least one hit and 11 players total contributed to the 19 hits. Nine players scored runs which proved to be more than enough to support the pitching of J.B. Shuck, who went five innings and improved his record to 3-1 on the year. Drew Rucinski pitched the final 2.2 innings to pick up his first save of the year. Freshman Jake Pruner dropped to 0-1 with the loss.
The Buckeyes, coming off a 16-hit, nine-run game less than 24 hours prior against Harvard, tried put this game away early. Tony Kennedy continued his hot hitting, leading off the game with a home run that he sent deep over the left field wall. The hit extended his hitting streak to 11 games, a career-high that tops 10-game hitting streaks he had in both 2006 and 2007.
Cory Kovanda followed Kennedy’s hit with a single and eventually scored on a single by Meade, making the score 2-0 at the end of the Ohio State first.
Kennedy made the score 3-0 with a sacrifice fly in the second. Three more runs, off three hits and a Big Green error, increased the lead to 6-0 through three innings. Justin Miller, Meade and Dan Burkhart had hits during a three-run third inning. Meade’s double to the left field fence scored Ryan Dew, who reached on an error. Burkhart had an RBI single and Zach Hurley had a sacrifice fly that scored the Buckeyes’ third run of the inning.
Shuck, meanwhile, worked through three relatively painless innings, not allowing a hit and only three base runners, two of whom he picked off first base to support his own cause. The Big Green sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth inning, though, and scored three runs of two hits and an error, making the score 6-3.
Ohio State came right back to score six runs off seven hits in the fifth inning to take a 12-3 lead. Five players had RBI.
Shuck pitched one more inning before giving way to Jared Strayer with Ohio State on top 12-4.
Dartmouth kept on battling, though, as it faced Strayer and Brad Hays, each getting their first work in of the season. The Big Green scored a run in the sixth and four in the seventh off three hits to creep to within 12-9 with plenty of baseball left to play.
Chris Macke gave the Buckeyes a little more wiggle room when he hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to score Hurley, making the score 13-9.
Drew Rucinski battled out of a two-men on jam in the eighth inning to keep the Buckeyes ahead by four. Then in the ninth, pitching with a five-run lead thanks to a Cory Rupert sac fly that made the score 14-9, Ruckinski closed the door with a three-up, three-down inning.
The Buckeyes continue their spring break games Monday at 7:30 p.m. with a game against Northern Iowa at Manatee Community College.
Baseball Bits and Pieces from Florida: