May 3, 1998
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Buckeye baseball team earned a split at Indiana with a 23-15 pounding of the Hoosiers on Sunday. The team cracked nine home runs on the day for the win and rest in third place in the Big Ten behind Illinois and Minnesota. Chad Ehrnsberger (Fr., Kalida, Ohio) tied an OSU single-game record when he belted three home runs on the day.
The Buckeyes took a 5-0 lead in the first inning as Mike Lockwood (So., Powell, Ohio) led off the inning with a single to left center field and IU starter Greg Schabel then walked Mark Carek (Sr., Bowling Green, Ohio). Jason Trott (Jr., Dublin, Ohio) kept alive a 14-game hitting streak with a single to right field that scored Lockwood. Dan Seimetz (Sr., Massillon, Ohio) then cranked his 13th home run of the season, a three-run no-doubter to straight away center field. Ehrnsberger tacked on a two-out solo home run for OSU’s fifth run of the inning.
The playoff hungry Hoosiers wasted no time in jumping back into the game, cutting the Buckeye lead to one run in the bottom half of the first. Benji Clause singled to lead off the inning and Dan Haegele was walked by Andy Lee (Jr., West Chester, Ohio). Roger Rodeheaver then stepped to the plate and bombed the Bucks for a three-run home run to right field. Lee walked Brandt Childs and gave up a single to Doug DeVore before finally recording his first out.
Jason Williams took a pitch right back up the middle for a base hit, scoring Childs from second to make the score 5-4. Indiana took 9-5 lead in the bottom of the second as the Hoosiers posted five more runs. Clause doubled to lead off the inning and scored when Rodeheaver single to right field. Haegele came home on Childs’ sacrifice fly and Williams sent Lee to the bench with a two-out, three-run home run that was crushed to center field. Kurt Fullenkamp (Jr., Minster, Ohio) entered the game in relief to record the final out of the inning. In the top of the third, Ehrnsberger pulled the Buckeyes within one with his second home run of the day, a three-run shot that scored Seimetz and Tom Durant (Jr., Columbus, Ohio) who had both singled. After Dan Zabloudil (So., Newark, Ohio) recorded his second hit if the day, Lockwood homered to right field to give OSU a 10-9 lead. A lead that did not last long as Indiana scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning to go back on top, knocking Fullenkamp around for five more hits. The fourth inning brought more runs as IU reliever Tom Willerer gave up OSU’s third and fourth three-run home runs of the day to Durant and Lockwood, giving OSU back the lead at 16-14.
The Buckeyes loaded the bags in the fifth but managed just one run to take a three run lead. Fullenkamp gave way to Cory Cox (Fr., Chillicothe, Ohio) in the bottom half of the inning and the right hander struck out the side, giving the OSU pitching staff a glimmer of hope. IU reliever David Ferris entered the game in the sixth, faced three batters and gave up three home runs. Seimetz, Durant and Ehrnsbeger all went deep to force Nick Otte to come in from the bullpen. OSU put up six runs in the inning to take the lead for good.
OSU’s 23 runs is the most since the Buckeyes overpowered Cleveland State 23-6 last year at Bill Davis Stadium and the most in a Big Ten game since OSU downed Northwestern 27-12 in 1962. With a 5-1 game three victory at Purdue, Illinois claimed the 1998 Big Ten regular season title and will host the postseason tournament in two weeks.