COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State scored three unearned runs in the eighth inning and won its second consecutive game, 8-4, over Mid American Conference leader Ball State Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. Ohio State improves to 26-19 heading into its Big Ten series at Iowa while Ball State’s record is evened at 24-24.

Dan Burkhart led a 12-hit Ohio state attack with three hits and an RBI. Cory Kovanda and Cory Rupert had two hits apiece with Kovanda’s two-run single in the eighth the big hit of that inning.

It was a game of one-run innings through seven innings, and Ohio State led in that statistical category, 5-2.

Dan Burkhart doubled home Cory Kovanda with the first run of the game to give the Buckeyes an early 1-0 lead after one.

Ian Nielsen tied it in the top half of the second with a towering, leadoff home run to left field, his eighth home run of the season.

Zach Hurley matched Nielsen with a leadoff home run to right that caromed off the foul pole to give the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead. It was Hurley’s seventh home run of the season, setting a personal season high for him and moving him to within one of the team lead (Michael Stephens has eight).

Ohio State added to its lead in the fourth with another one run. Hurley drew a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error, and then scored on a Kovanda sacrifice fly.

Catcher Zach Dygert homered to right in the Ball State sixth to bring the score to 4-2, but just like Ohio State did in the second, it got the run right back. Consecutive singles by Cory Rupert, Hunter Mayfield and Tyler Engle plated the fifth run of the game for Ohio State to extend the lead to 5-2.     

Theron Minium started for the Buckeyes and pitched a pre-determined 2.0 innings, giving up the one run. He turned it over to Jared Strayer, who continued his fine pitching of late with 5.0 innings of four-hit, one run relief to earn the win and his first decision of the season. The run he allowed – Dygert’s home run – snapped a string of 12.2 scoreless innings for Strayer, dating back to the third inning of Game 1 vs. Louisville.

Ball State put an end to the one run-and-done innings by touching the plate twice in the eighth inning to get to within one run at 5-4. Two hits, an error and a bases loaded walk accounted for the Cardinal scores.

A dropped fly ball in left contributed to Ohio State’s three-run eighth. The error allowed one run to score and Kovanda followed with his big single. 

Eric Best regrouped after a four-pitch walk to open his relief appearance to pitch the final 1.2 innings and earn his fourth save of the year.

Game Notes & Supplemental Information…

  • Alex Wimmers threw off the mound Tuesday. No update on when he might be in the Buckeyes’ starting lineup next. Coaches are calling it a game-by-game, series-by-series issue at this point.
  • The game against Ball State was streamed to It will be replayed on the Big Ten [television] Network at 7 p.m. Thursday.
  • Ohio State scored first in this game, snapping a string of seven consecutive games where the opponent has taken the initial lead of the game. The Buckeyes were 2-5 in those seven games.
  • Zach Hurley’s home run to lead off the third inning was his fifth leadoff home run this season.
  • Dan Burkhart erased his 20th runner attempting to steal in 46 attempts for an absolutely legit caught-stealing percentage of 43 percent.
  • Since returning in late April after missing more than a month with a knee issue, Jared Strayer has pitched 16.1 innings with a 1.68 earned run average.
  • Thanks for coming, fans. Rains throughout the day left many wondering whether the weather would cooperate. By game time, it did. Paid attendance was 611.