April 23, 2017
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind a stellar performance by right-handed reliever Seth Kinker, the Ohio State baseball team got back in the win column with a 5-4 win over UNCG Sunday afternoon at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. Kinker from Huntington, W. Va., grinded through six innings of relief work and struck out five, limiting UNCG bats to one run to improve to 2-0 on the year. With the victory, the Buckeyes improve to 16-24 overall, while the Spartans drop to 24-15 overall in 2017.
“We needed that win and the thing that I’m talking to the team about and I’m welcome to share is we all know we are kind of losing the war right now, as far as our season is going and we’re still behind, but all we can do right now is win little battles, win little battles and today was a little battle won,” head coach Greg Beals said. “Where we just one game at a time, little battle, little battle-by-battle and try to claw ourselves back in.”
In the box score, senior co-captain Jalen Washington was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, RBI and three stolen bases, while junior Tre’ Gantt was 2-for-4 with a run scored, double and RBI. Freshman Conner Pohl wen 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.
THE WINNING PLAY
After a lead-off double by sophomore Brady Cherry, the Buckeyes grabbed their first lead of the afternoon on a wild pitch by UNCG reliever Andrew Wantz to make it a 5-4 game. Jacob Barnwell grounded out to first base to move up Cherry to third base before the Spartan miscue allowed Cherry to slide in safely.
KINKER CLOSES THE DOOR
Kinker, a 2017 NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, allowed a lead-off, seeing-eye single through the left side, but retired the final three hitters to claim the win. He struck out UNCG freshman Caleb Webster to end the contest, leaving a runner on third base. Webster, who is hitting .438 on the season, came into the weekend as the toughest hitter to strike out in the nation. It was Kinker’s longest outing of his career. Washington made a great stop and throw to retire the second out of the inning and keep the score in favor of the Scarlet and Gray.
“It’s great,” Kinker said. “We were struggling the last week-and-a-half, two weeks. We weren’t having a lot of fun, but just being able to go out on a Sunday, beautiful day, you can have fun playing the game of baseball. It’s one of those things where we are going to battle and we showed that today, that was the best part about it. You can turn on that music in the clubhouse after a big weekend win.”
SPARTANS, BUCKEYES TRADE RUNS IN THE FIRST AND THIRD
The two teams exchanged a run in the first and two runs in the third on a beautiful day on the banks of Olentangy. Cesar Trejo sent a sac fly out to center field to score the first run for the Spartans, while Jalen Washington singled and stole second and third before scoring on a throwing error by the UNGC catcher. The Spartans scored two runs on two hits and one throwing error in the top of the third. Michael Goss grounded out to push Caleb Webster around before a throwing error allowed a third UNCG run to score. In the bottom of the third, back-to-back doubles by Tre’ Gantt and Washington made it 3-2. After a third stolen base by Washington, Canzone sent a sac fly to left field to tie the game at 3-all.
UNGC GRABS THE LEAD
The Spartans found a run in the top of the fourth with two outs. A double by JoJo Underwood followed with a RBI single by Ben Spitznagel.
GANTT TIES THE GAME
After a lead-off double by Pohl, the Buckeyes tied the game at 4-all when Gantt knocked a two-out single up the middle in the top of the seventh. He leads the team with 14 multi-hit games in 2017.
ON THE MOUND
Starting pitcher Reece Calvert threw three innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits with one strikeout and no walks. Kinker threw six innings on seven hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts.
Ohio State hosts Nebraska in a three-game series April 28-30 at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.