COLUMBUS, Ohio There was fun in the air at Bill Davis Stadium Wednesday night. Two good teams Ohio State and 2007 College World Series participant Louisville – combined for 37 hits, 25 runs, five home runs and plenty of excitement for the fans, even though the crowd of 969 went home with the Buckeyes on the short end of a 13-12 score.

Whether it was the geometric triangle cut into the grass whose tip exploded from home plate and extended to the left and right center field walls, the squirrel on the field, or the fact that Ohio State and Louisville players kept battling at the plate when their teams were trailing, there was excitement in the air. It was a fun college baseball game on a warm evening, and there will be more of these kinds of games this weekend when Ohio State, 18-12 overall and 7-4 in the Big Ten, hosts Purdue in a key Big Ten series.

Offensively for Louisville, Andrew Clark was 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs. Justin McClanahan had four hits and three runs scored, and Chris Dominguez had a pair of hits and three runs scored. All three hit home runs in a four-run fourth inning that gave Louisville the lead for good. Pitcher Gabriel Shaw picked up the win in relief to improve to 2-3 on the year. Louisville is now 21-14.

Ohio State was led by Justin Miller, who had career highs with five hits and five RBI, including his first home run of the year. Tony Kennedy had three hits and two runs scored. J.B. Shuck had two hits and scored four runs. 

Louisville jumped out to a quick lead thanks to shortstop John Dao, who sent Andrew Armstrong’s second pitch over the left field wall for his first home run of the year. One out later McClanahan doubled to left and scored on a single by Clark, making the score 2-0.

Ohio State came right back in its half of the first to score five runs off six hits with one Cardinal error. Brian DeLucia’s two-run double was the big hit of the inning, and Zach Hurley, Miller and Dan Burkhart also had RBIs.

Louisville scored two in the third to cut the lead to 5-4. Third baseman Dominguez, a talented 11-home run, .388 hitter who has A-Rod size, reached second base on a throwing error and scored on a hit-and-run single by Clark. Clark came around on a single by Jeff Arnold.

Louisville came back with an out-of-this world inning in the fourth, hitting back-to-back-to-back, two-out home runs to take an 8-5 lead. McClanahan drove a two-run home run off the Bill Davis Stadium scoreboard. Dominguez sent one out to center, and Clark followed with a blast to right.

The Cardinals’ Tyler Mickits led off the fifth with a double and scored on a groundout to give his team a 9-5 lead.

Miller’s two-run home run in the fifth cut the lead to 9-7, but Louisville came back with two more runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Ohio State countered with two in its half of the sixth Cory Kovanda and Miller had the RBIs and heading into the eighth the Louisville led, 13-9.

Two, two-out Cardinal errors helped Ohio State score three runs in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 13-12. Shuck scored on Miller’s fifth hit (and fifth RBI) of the game. Miller scored on an error, and Brian DeLucia’s single scored Michael Arp.

In the ninth, Eric Best shut the Cardinals down, giving the Buckeyes one more chance in their half of the inning. OSU catcher Dan Burkhart stroked a lead-off single off B.J. Rosenberg and was replaced at first by pinch runner Ben Toussant. Tyler Engle sacrificed Toussant to second. But Rosenberg struck out the final two batters to end the game that lasted 3:30. 

Game Notes and Good Stuff:

  • Friday’s 6:35 p.m. game against Purdue is “Break the Record Night at Bill Davis Stadium,” part of the athletic department’s Scarlet and Gray Days weekend. The record Bill Davis Stadium crowd is 5,360, set in 2002 against Minnesota.
  • Other attendance marks hoping to fall this weekend are national attendance records for men’s lacrosse (vs. Denver Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ohio Stadium), the spring football game (Saturday at 1:30 p.m.) and the softball record at Buckeye Field (vs. Penn State Sunday at noon).
  • Louisville’s four home runs tied the season high against Ohio State. Arkansas hit four on March 2. Ohio State pitchers have only given up seven homers in the team’s other 28 games.
  • Louisville is the fifth opponent this season for Ohio State that participated in the 2007 NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes are 4-3 against those teams (Memphis, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Minnesota are the others).
  • Louisville made the College World Series last year in Dan McDonnell’s first year as coach. State rival Kentucky is the hot team from the Bluegrass this year. The Wildcats are in everyone’s top 25 or top 30 polls with a 26-8 record.
  • Ohio State and Louisville have already scheduled a home-and-home series for 2009 and 2010. Ohio State will play a pair of games at Louisville, May 5-6, next year and Louisville comes back to Bill Davis Stadium for two games, May 4-5, 2010.