COLUMBUS, Ohio What a way to win. Ohio State sophomore Ryan Dew came off the bench in the 11th inning and hit a first-pitch fastball out of the ball park for the winning run in Ohio State’s 4-3 victory over Michigan State Friday at Oldsmobile Park.

Dew’s heroics supported equal heroics by Ohio State starter Jake Hale, who pitched 10.0 innings and retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. He scattered nine hits and allowed just two earned runs in raising his record to 4-0 on the season.

“That was an outstanding pinch hit by Dew,” Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. He sat for 10 innings but came in ready to play. And it was a terrific performance by Jake Hale on the mound.”

“It feels really good,” Dew, from Croton, Ohio and Worthington Kilbourne H.S. said. “I figured he [MSU reliever Nolan Moody] would throw me a fastball since I had been sitting all game and that’s what he did. I knew right away that it was out.”

What he didn’t know was whether it was out of the ball park. It was, ending up on the appropriately named Large Street while Dew circled the bases for the winning run.

There was still work for Ohio State to do defensively, though, in the 11th and they got that done as well. Eric Best came in and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his third save of the year. The win improved Ohio State’s records to 17-10 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten. Michigan State drops to 12-15 and 3-6, respectively.

Michigan State took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a manufactured run that was helped along by an error and wild pitch. Jonathan Roof scored after leading off the inning with a single.

The Spartans increased the lead to 2-0 in the third with back-to-back, two-out doubles by Brandon Doherty and Chris Roberts.

Ohio State tied it at 2-all in the fourth. Cory Kovanda led off the inning with a single and scored on a double by Justin Miller. Miller, who advanced to third on a throwing error by the second baseman on his double, then scored on a sac fly by Zach Hurley.

The Spartans re-took the lead with a single run in their half of the fourth. Brandon Eckerle reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double by A.J. Shindler.

The Buckeyes missed out on chances to tie in both the fifth and sixth inning. The team had the bases loaded with two out in the fifth, but Monterey coaxed a come-backer to himself to end the inning. Then in the sixth the Buckeyes left a man on third base with a strikeout to end the inning.

Finally, in the seventh, the Buckeyes were able to plate a run off two hits and an error, tying the score at 3-apiece. Dan Burkhart hustled down the line on an infield single deep behind second base. He moved to second on a sac bunt by Tyler Engle and to third on Tony Kennedy’s single to third. Burkhart tied it up when Kennedy stole second and the throw hit him in the arm and deflected into left field.

Kurt Wunderlich came in and relieved starter Mark Monterey in the eighth and was perfect with four ground outs and two fly balls.

Hale just kept getting stronger as the night wore on. He retired 16 of 17 batters between the sixth and 10th inning with the only runner reaching on a Hale throwing error. In the 10th he mowed the Spartans down 1-2-3 to send the game into the 11th, setting the stage for Dew’s late-game heroics.  The home run was just the seventh for Ohio State this season, the first to right field and Dew’s first of the year.

Game Notes and Good Stuff:

  • The two teams will try and get a double-header in tomorrow starting at 1:05 p.m. The weather is expected to play havoc with the games, though, as more cold air and precipitation is expected.
  • Hale’s line was impressive: 10 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB and 7 SO.
  • Hale set a career high with the 10 innings pitched, topping the 9.0 innings pitched in the complete game gem against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament last year.
  • Perhaps most impressive about Hale’s game: he threw 133 pitches (unofficially, but close) and had 91 strikes. His ERA went from 5.47 before the game to 4.46 after.
  • Dew now has two career home runs.
  • Both teams had nine hits. Cory Kovanda, Justin Miller and Dan Burkhart had two each for Ohio State.
  • Eric Best has now pitched 8.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He lowered his ERA to 3.12.
  • Kovanda continues to hit above .400. He’s at .409 after his 2-for-4 day.