MORGANTOWN, W.V. – Ohio State travelled to West Virginia on Friday for the first two games of a three-game series against the Mountaineers, coming into the game with a 4-7 record after snapping a seven-game losing skid last Sunday. The Buckeyes won 10-4 in game one and were primed to clinch the series victory in game two before allowing a walk-off single to lose 7-6.
The Buckeyes broke open the scoring in the top of the second inning, when Mitchell Okuley hit a single to lead off the inning. After advancing to third on a wild pitch and a throwing error, Tyler Pettorini reached on a fielding error, and both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice RBI by Archer Brookman that pushed Ohio State into the lead. Hank Thomas hit a double to score Pettorini, and then scored on a passed ball from second base to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 advantage.
Ohio State starter Isaiah Coupet started the game with three shutout innings as the Buckeyes grew their lead. Singles by Drew Reckart and Tyler Pettorini to start the third inning put a runner in scoring position for Hank Thomas, who picked up his second RBI of the day with a single to left field. However, in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Mountaineers tripled home a run to make it 4-1 after three frames.
A walk by Mitchell Okuley and an Archer Brookman single set up Hank Thomas for yet another productive at-bat, which ending in an RBI double down the right field line to widen the margin further. Marcus Ernst singled in Thomas and Ohio State sat with a comfortable 7-1 lead.
In Coupet’s final inning of work, he struck out the leadoff hitter only to give up consecutive singles followed by a three-run home run which cut the six-run lead in half. Tim Baird replaced Coupet and recorded a single out, but was then pulled for Ethan Hammerberg, who ultimately recorded the save in the game after 3.1 shutout innings that quieted the West Virginia bats.
Hank Thomas’ fourth hit of the afternoon was a two-run home run in the top of the seventh that plated Archer Brookman, who reached on a single. Brookman’s third hit of the day and Ohio State’s final run came in the ninth. The Buckeye backstop reached on a base hit, advanced on a groundout, and then proceeded to steal home from second base on a passed ball. Hammerberg remained in the game for the save and Ohio State came out with a 10-4 victory in game one.
The second game of Friday’s doubleheader did not see a run cross the plate until the sixth inning. Ohio State starter Nate Haberthier blanked the West Virginia order through five innings, but was tested in the sixth when he allowed a one-out single followed by a two-run home run that gave the Mountaineers the lead. The next West Virginia batter singled and then stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch. The Mountaineers led 3-0 after six innings.
The Buckeyes were able to respond immediately, scoring a pair on a two-RBI double by freshman Tyler Pettorini to draw within a run. Marcus Ernst’s single in the next at-bat led to Pettorini scoring on a fielding error in an attempt to get him out at third base, knotting the score at three. Two walks and a single allowed by Buckeye reliever Nate Karaffa pushed West Virginia back ahead 4-3 in the seventh.
In the eighth, Drew Reckart reached on a fielding error and Mitchell Okuley walked, setting up Brent Todys for a two-RBI double to right center that made the score 5-4 Ohio State. In the top of the ninth, Tyler Pettorini doubled and then scored by way of two wild pitches by the Mountaineer pitching staff, giving the Buckeyes a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
West Virginia rallied in their last at-bat to shock the Buckeyes and steal game two of the twin bill. TJ Brock, who entered in relief of Nate Karaffa during the seventh inning, shut down the Mountaineer order in the seventh and eighth innings. In the ninth, nursing a two-run lead, Brock allowed a leadoff walk to put the game tying run at the plate. After a fielder’s choice, Brock allowed a single to put runners at second and third with one out. Brock was one out away from the save after striking out the next batter, but a two-RBI single by West Virginia tied the game at six. A pinch runner entered and stole second and third base, and a two-out walk off single by West Virginia gave them a thrilling 7-6 win over Ohio State.
Ohio State and West Virginia will play in game three of their weekend series at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The rubber match will be televised on ESPN+ and will be broadcast live on radio.