COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State and Michigan State split a doubleheader on Sunday with each team winning in comeback fashion. The Spartans overcame a 6-run deficit in game one to win 10-8 and then the Buckeyes erased a 5-1 deficit over the final three innings of game two to salvage the night cap 8-7.
The story of the day was senior co-captain Griffan Smith turning in 5.1 gutsy innings out of the pen in game two, settling the game down and earning his first win of the season.
Offensively, Kade Kern had four hits, including a double and a home run. Trey Lipsey, Marcus Ernst and Zach Dezenzo each collected three hits on the day with Dezenzo driving in four.
The Buckeyes are now 11-17 overall on the year and 2-5 in Big Ten play. Michigan State is 13-15 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
Game 1 Recap
The Buckeyes played from in front as the first six Buckeyes to the plate in the bottom of the first reached and they scored four runs on a pair of two-run home runs from Dezenzo and Kern. The lead ballooned to 6-0 on a two-run double by Kern in the second.
Michigan State got on the board with a pair of runs in the fifth on a groundout and an OSU error. But the Buckeyes answered right back on a two-run single by Drew Reckart in the bottom of the inning and the lead was back out to 8-2 through five innings.
The Spartans got a run closer in the seventh and then flipped the script completely with a seven-run eighth inning to take a 10-8 lead. MSU sent 11 batters to the plate, had five hits and took advantage of two Buckeye errors.
Ohio State brought the winning run to the plate with two outs in the ninth, but Kyle Bischoff shut the door for his sixth save of the season.
Wyatt Loncar started for the Buckeyes and went 5.0 innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits while striking out a career-high nine. At the plate, Ernst, Dezenzo, Lipsey and Kern all had two hits in the game as Kern drove in four on a double and a homer.
Game 2 Recap
The second game was a mirror of the first. Michigan State used its momentum from game one to jump out to a 5-1 lead after four. The Spartans scored twice off freshman starter Gavin Bruni and then got three runs off Trent Jones in the fourth.
Trailing 5-1, head coach Greg Beals turned the ball over to Griffan Smith and he never gave it up. Smith got the final out in the fourth and then finished the game, earning his first win of the season and just his second since 2019. Smith went 5.1 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out four. He had pitched no more than an inning and threw no more than 17 pitches in any of his three previous appearances this season.
Once Smith settled things down, the Buckeyes went to work, chipping away at the lead. After a sac fly by Blayne Robinson, Archer Brookman delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead in half at 5-3. In the seventh, Lipsey continued his stellar weekend with an RBI double, scoring Ernst to pull the Buckeyes within one at 5-4.
Another scoreless inning by Smith in the top of the eighth led to a four-run bottom of the eighth for the Buckeye offense. Tyler Pettorini tied the game on a ground out and the Mitchell Okuley gave the Buckeyes the lead with a single to left center, scoring Brookman. Dezenzo capped the day with a two-out, bases clearing triple down the right field line, giving the Buckeyes an 8-5 lead.
Michigan State crept within a run on a two-run double in the top of the ninth. With two outs and the tying run on second, C Mayes hit a grounder to the right side that was cutoff by Pettorini in shallow right. The MSU runner at second tried to score on the play but was cutdown on a good throw by Pettorini to end the game.
The Buckeyes will head to Dayton this Tuesday to play in-state foe Dayton at Day-Air Ball Park. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.