April 30, 2000
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Ohio State baseball team (29-18 overall, 10-10 in the Big Ten) lost to the Illinois Fighting Illini (31-18 overall, 15-9 in the Big Ten), 6-3, in front of 1,047 at Illinois Field. OSU stranded eight base runners including the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning. The Buckeyes end with a 2-2 tie in the season series and remain in fifth place in the Big Ten standings.
“Obviously we didn’t get the job done today,” head coach Bob Todd said. “Getting a split in Illinois is tough, but when you have the opportunity to win the series – you have to take advantage of it. We fell behind early but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities we had.”
In the bottom half of the second inning, Illinois took a 4-0 lead. Chris Basak drove in a pair of runs with a double down the left field line. Creston Whitaker followed and scored on a wild pitch by OSU starting pitcher Brandon Steen (So., Hendersonville, Tenn.). OSU third baseman John Mayor (Jr., Chesterfield, Mo.) then gave Illinois its final run of the inning when he threw wide of first base on a grounder by Craig Marquie that allowed Basak to score.
The Fighting Illini added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Basak drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly to score Jeff Gertz and increase the UI lead to 5-0.
The Buckeyes added their first run of the ballgame in the top of the sixth inning. Jason Driscoll (Sr., Middlefield, Ohio) led off and reached base on a throwing error by UI shortstop Basak. Later in the inning and with two outs, Mayor drove in Driscoll with a single to centerfield to cut the UI lead to 5-1. In the bottom half of the inning, Illinois threatened to add more runs when the first three batters loaded the bases on Steen. OSU then made the call to Kevin Wynk (Fr., Coldwater, Ohio) in the bullpen who proceeded to work out of the jam by striking out Craig Marquie, D.J. Svihlik and Andy Schutzenhofer.
Illinois added another run to its lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Whitaker lined a one-run single to right field to increase the UI lead to 6-1.
In the top of the eighth inning, OSU added a pair of runs. Chad Ehrnsberger (Jr., Kalida, Ohio) led off with a walk off Illinois reliever Matt Vorwald. Jason Turner (Sr. Versailles, Ohio) immediately followed and sent a 1-1 offering over the right field wall for his 11th home run of the season. The two run shot cut the Illinois lead to 6-3.
In the top of the ninth, Driscoll and Mike Check (Jr., Bay Village, Ohio) led off with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Mayor was hit by a pitch from Vorwald to load the bases with two outs. But Vorwald escaped unscathed as he struck out Nick Swisher (Fr., Parkersburg, W.Va.) to end the game.
Steen (5-4) was the losing pitcher. He went five innings, threw 88 pitches, gave up seven hits, five runs, four earned runs and recorded two strikeouts. Wynk was outstanding in relief going three innings, giving up four hits, one run and striking out four. Andy Dickinson (6-2) gave up one run in 5.2 innings of work to earn the win.
On Wednesday, Ohio State plays host to Youngstown State at 6:35 p.m. in Bill Davis Stadium.