April 2, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team (18-9 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) regained its hitting stroke, connecting on 16 hits en route to an 11-1 triumph over Iowa (8-18 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) in front of 501 fans at rain-drenched Bill Davis Stadium. With the win, OSU gains a split of the four-game series with the Hawkeyes.
“Our hitters came out aggressive and did the job early,” Ohio State head coach Bob Todd said. “Smitty (Nate Smith) had good control, kept hitters off balance and made some quality pitches to get the win.”
Nate Smith (So., Bryan, Ohio) was solid on the mound for the Buckeyes, tossing seven innings, allowing just one run and four hits while fanning 11 batters. Smith (3-1) threw 128 pitches in his stellar outing. Mike Check (Jr., Bay Village, Ohio) connected on a career-high four hits for OSU, while Nick Swisher (Fr., Parkersburg, W. Va) cracked three hits, including a home run, and drove in a career-best three RBI.
Ohio State jumped to a quick lead in the first inning, batting around the order and scoring four times against Iowa starting pitcher Matt Gruber. Check led off with a single to center and moved to second on a groundout by John Mayor (Jr., Chesterfield, Mo.). Chad Ehrnsberger (Jr., Kalida, Ohio) then brought Check home with a double off the base of the left-centerfield wall.
After Jason Turner (Sr., Versailles, Ohio) drew a walk, Swisher ripped a double up the alley in left-center, driving home Ehrnsberger to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead. Turner then came flying home on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Trent McIlvain (Jr., Louisville, Ohio). The Buckeyes pushed their lead to 4-0 on a solid single to right by Jason Driscoll (Sr., Middlefield, Ohio).
OSU pushed three more runs across the plate in the second inning. For the second-consecutive inning, Check led off with a single to centerfield, prompting Iowa head coach Scott Broghamer to pull Gruber in favor of Mitch Price. But OSU kept on rolling as Mayor doubled up the gap in right-centerfield to score Check and give the Buckeyes a 5-0 lead. Ehrnsberger followed with a single to right-centerfield, moving Mayor to third base, and Jason Turner plated Mayor with a sharp single off the glove of shortstop Kurt Vitense. Swisher moved Ehrnsberger home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, pushing the Buckeye advantage to 7-0.
Iowa reached the scoreboard in the fourth inning on a solo home run to left-centerfield by Andy Jansen.
But Swisher immediately responded for the Buckeyes with a bomb of his own, ripping Price’s first offering of the fourth inning off the batter’s eye in center field for his third home run of the season.
OSU added to its lead in the sixth inning. With one out, Nick Swisher blooped a double into centerfield. After Iowa reliever Dyson Miguel committed a balk, Swisher scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 9-1.
The Buckeyes tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning off Iowa’s Mike Schaefer. Check reached first base on a throwing error and moved to second when Mayor was plunked with a pitch. Turner brought Check in from second with a single to right field.
OSU added one more run in the eighth inning as Mayor singled in Joe Palazzo (So., Tucson, Ariz.) as the Buckeyes pushed their lead to 11-1.
Gruber (2-2) absorbed the loss on the mound after allowing five runs and five hits in one inning of work.
The Buckeyes return to Bill Davis Stadium on Wednesday when they play host to Oakland (Mich.) at 6:35 p.m.