May 26, 2005
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Wes Schirtzinger drove in Steve Caravati with a single to right in the top of the ninth inning to lift Ohio State to a 6-5 victory over No. 2 seed Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday at Illinois Field. The win was the sixth straight for the Buckeyes in their last at bat and moves them to the semifinal Friday at 8:05 p.m., EDT, against sixth-seeded Minnesota which beat top-seeded Iowa 11-8 Thursday night.
Caravati, a senior from Dover, Ohio (Dover), beat out an infield single with one out in the ninth inning and then stole second. Ronnie Bourquin (So., Canton, Ohio/Canton South) moved Caravati to third on a single that caromed off the top of the Purdue shortstop’s glove. After a strikeout, Schirtzinger, a sophomore from Westerville, Ohio (Westerville North), singled to right to bring in the senior co-captain for the one-run lead. The Boilermakers still had to bat.
Andy Dahl led off the inning with an infield single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eric Osborn. A groundout by Dane Wolfe put Dahl 90-feet from tying the game. That brought first-team All-Big Ten shortstop Mitch Hilligoss to the plate and on a 1-2 count he fired a shot that appeared would score Dahl and perhaps send the game to extra innings, but Caravati, the 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year, dove to catch up to the ball and end the game, sending the Buckeyes to the Big Ten semifinal.
Caravati, no doubt, was the hero for the Buckeyes. He had four hits, including three singles and a double, and all four hits came with two strikes. It was the fifth time in his career that he had five hits in a game. As a team, Ohio State pounded out 14 hits and overcame an error and limited Purdue to nine hits. The Buckeyes also got the fourth complete game of the season from starter Mike Madsen (Sr., Canfield, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin), who picked up his seventh win of the season (7-3). Madsen allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits and struck out only two batters without a walk. It was Madsen’s third career win in the Big Ten tournament in four starts.
Purdue struck first crossing two runners across the plate in the bottom of the second inning. Spencer Ingaldson bounced a single through the left side and went to second on a ground out by Neal Gorka. Dahl sent a shot up the middle to score Ingaldson before Madsen hit Osborn. That moved Dahl to second before he scored on a single to right by Dane Wolfe to give the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead.
Mike Rabin (Sr., West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East) gave the Buckeyes a 3-2 lead in the top of the third with his fourth career home run. His second home run of the season cleared the wall in left-center field and scored Eric Fryer (Fr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) and Matt Angle (Fr., Whitehall, Ohio/Whitehall-Yearling). Fryer drew a four-pitch, one-out walk before getting to third on a single through the right side by Angle.
After Madsen got Hilligoss to ground out to end the Boilermaker second inning, he went on to sit down the next 10 Purdue batters before Eric Wolfe doubled with one out in the sixth. Madsen responded to catch John Hunter looking at strike three and then got Ingaldson to pop out to short to leave Wolfe at second.
The fifth-seeded Buckeyes tried to ride the momentum into the seventh, but left two runners in scoring position. Rabin sent a two-out single to left and went to third on a single by Caravati. Caravati was able to reach second on a throw trying to catch Rabin at third, but a ground out prevented any Ohio State runs in the inning. The hit for Rabin was his second of the game, while Caravati hit for the third time. His double in the third was the 44th of his career, which equals the seventh-best total in school history.
Two more Ohio State runners scored in the eighth to build the lead to 5-2. Jason Zoeller (So., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) singled up the middle and stole second before Schirtzinger reached on a passed ball after striking out. Zoeller was able to move to third before Jedidiah Stephen (Jr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) doubled to the gap in left-center field to score both runners for a three-run lead. The Buckeyes left Stephen at second after he reached there without an out.
That proved to be costly when Purdue tied the game at 5 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Hilligoss got the inning started with an infield single before going to third on a double by Mike Coles. Wolfe singled up the middle to make it a 5-4 game, but he was able to score from second to tie the game on a fielding error on Stephen on a sharply hit ball off the bat of Ingaldson.
Rabin, Zoeller and Stephen each had two hits for Ohio State. Rabin was 2-for-3 with a career-high tying three RBI, while Zoeller was 2-for-4 and Stephen was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI.
Trae Dauby got the loss for Purdue. He came on in relief in the eighth inning and gave up the winning run on two hits. He had one strikeout. Wolfe and Dahl had two hits to lead Purdue, which fell to 25-29 overall. Ohio State improved to 37-17 overall and has won 19 of 22 games to become one of the hottest teams in the nation at the right time of the year.
No. 4 seed Michigan eliminated No. 3 seed Iowa with an 8-6 win in the first elimination game of the tournament earlier in the day Thursday. The Buckeyes will play the winner of the Illinois vs. Minnesota game Friday at 8:05 p.m., EDT. A win Friday put s Ohio State in the championship game of the Big Ten tournament for the fourth straight year. All of Ohio State’s postseason games will be broadcast on NPR 820 (WOSU-AM) and on the Internet at www.wosu.org.