February 18, 2019

Buckeyes Improve to 4-0 with Shutout Win at FGCU Monday

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FORT MYERS, Fla.  – The boys are 4-0. The Ohio State baseball team shutout FGCU, 2-0, Monday night at Swanson Stadium behind another strong performance by the Buckeye pitching staff. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Griffan Smith claimed the win after striking out a career-high seven hitters in five innings of work. Freshman right-handed reliever Bayden Root was impressive in his collegiate debut, hanging three zeros on the board and junior left-handed reliever Andrew Magno tossed a scoreless ninth for his first collegiate save. Senior left fielder Brady Cherry led the Scarlet and Gray at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a home run, while fifth-year senior Nate Romans was 3-for-3. With their second shutout on the week, the Buckeyes are 4-0 to start the season for the second in Coach Greg Beals’ tenure.

COACH QUOTE
“We are playing really good and we are throwing a lot of strikes,” Beals said. “Guys are pitching to their stuff. The thing I liked was those are maturing innings that Bayden Root and Andrew Mango pitched tonight. Those are big-time growing innings for those guys. I’m really happy for guys like Brady Cherry and Nate Romans. Great to see those contributions up and down the lineup. Griffan Smith gave us a quality start, Bayden Root gave us everything he had and Magno shut it down. I can’t say all those questions we have talked about are answered, but we had a really good weekend and we need to continue to build on that and keep playing high-quality baseball.”

FANTASTIC START FOR SMITTY
Smith, from Cincinnati, Ohio, was dominant in his first start of the year. After recording the save vs. Seton Hall on Friday, the lefty kept the Eagles off the board for five straight innings and only gave up one hit. He faced the minimum through four frames and struck out a career-high seven with no walks. He left two runners on in the fifth with a fly out to end his outing.

CHERRY BOMB
Cherry, a native of Pendleton, Ind., launched a solo homer in the top of the second off FGCU right-handed starting pitcher Evan Lumbert to give the Buckeyes the early 1-0 lead. Cherry singled in the sixth and scored on a clutch two-out RBI single by Noah West up the middle to make it 2-0.

BULLPEN TALK
Root, from Kokomo, Ind., kept the strong pitching going for the Buckeyes with three straight scoreless innings of relief in his debut. He left a runner on second in the bottom of the eighth with his fifth strikeout to keep it a 2-0 game. Magno left two runners on in the ninth and had one strikeout.

UP NEXT
Ohio State heads to Corpus Christi, Texas, to play four games next weekend, including three contests at the 2019  Kleberg Bank College Classic Friday-Sunday. The Buckeyes face BYU Friday, Texas A&M Corpus Christi Saturday and Oral Roberts Sunday at Whataburger Field. The Scarlet and Gray will play a single road contest against the Islanders on Monday, Feb. 25.

GAME NOTES

  • Ohio State is 4-0 to start a season for the second time in Coach Greg Beals’ tenure as coach and only the fifth time this century. OSU baseball previously started at least 4-0 in 2014 under Beals and in 2010 (5-0) and 2009 (7-0) under coach Bob Todd.
  • Smith struck out a career-high seven hitters tonight.
  • Root made his collegiate debut for the Buckeyes and had five strikeouts.
  • Cherry had his second multi-hit game and knocked his second homer of the season and 14th of his career (leads all active Buckeyes).
  • Romans had a career-high three hits.
  • Magno picked up his first career save tonight.

RANDOM NOTES FROM AROUND THE BALLPARK

  • The boys said goodbye to their waterfront hotel in Punta Gorda this afternoon. They had one more game to go to in Fort Myers. If you never traveled with a college baseball team, let me tell you, it’s always an adventure to fit all the travel and equipment bags underneath the bus. The boys had some struggles to fit all the bags today. But not all heroes wear capes, Blair Everhart, The Director of Operations was there to save the day. He knew exactly how to reconfigure the bags in orderly fashion. And in a timely manner. Blair was literally dripping in sweat underneath the bus putting together order of the bags like a Jenga set. What would we ever do without you, Blair? Legend.
  • It was an easy drive to the campus of Florida Gulf Coast. A lot of water and a lot of palm trees on both sides of the bus. Arriving at Swanson Stadium, it was a beautiful park to see. Palm trees set the backdrop from foul pole to foul pole. You could smell the salt in the air from the beach just a drive away. Not a bad place at all to play a baseball game. How was your Monday?
  • It was sunny, very sunny. The Ohio State SID loved it. But the Florida Gulf Coast SID, Cedrique, wasn’t much of a fan. He actually said he was sick of the sun! Just a little rain maybe?
  • Unreal sunset in the fifth inning. If you are ever in the area to go to a ball game at Swanson Stadium, don’t pass it up.
  • 4-0. Charter flight on deck. Home we go!