March 6, 2021

Buckeyes Sweep Double-Header vs. Illinois

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Game 1 Box Score (PDF)  |  Game 2 Box Score (PDF)  

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Ohio State scratched and clawed its way to a second-consecutive extra innings win in Game 1 and then broke out the bats out in a 12-6 win in Game 2 to sweep at double-header with Illinois on Saturday at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.

The Buckeyes are now 3-0 on the season and will look for the rare four-game series sweep on Sunday.

Ohio State’s 2-3-4 hitters of Colton Bauer, Zach Dezenzo and Conner Pohl all had four hits on the day and drove in eight runs.

The story of game one was much like Friday night as the Buckeye pitchers stepped up in high-leverage situations, stranding 14 Illinois baserunners. In game two, Ohio State slugged a pair of home runs and used an eight-run second inning to open up the game.

Game 1 Recap

The teams played extras for a second consecutive game and again, it was the Buckeyes coming out on top 6-5.

Tyler Kean picked up the win in relief as he worked a scoreless eighth, giving up a hit and two walks but got out of trouble with a bases loaded, two-out strikeout.

Bayden Root got the save, the second of his career, working around a one-out single in the ninth.

At the plate, freshman Kade Kern did it again, going 2-for-5 with a double and four runs batted in. Colton Bauer also had two hits and an RBI.

Kern picked up right where he left off on Friday as he cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run double in the top of the first to hand starter Seth Lonsway and the Buckeyes an early 3-0 lead.

Illinois took its first lead in the series as the Illini pushed five runs across in the bottom of the third inning. After a solid first two innings, Lonsway struggled in the third and didn’t make it through the frame. Illinois had three hits, three walks, benefited from two wild pitches and scored five times.

Ohio State cut the lead in half in the fifth as Dezenzo walked and Pohl was hit by a pitch. After Brookman struck out, Kern delivered again with an RBI single to left.

In the sixth, Karaffa led off with a hit-by-pitch and Erwin reached on a throwing error as he tried to sacrifice bunt. Sam Wilson followed with a sac bunt of his own and then Colton Bauer grounded-out to second to score Karaffa and even the score at 5-5.

Freshman Nate Haberthier made his collegiate debut and threw well. He went 2.2 scoreless innings, scattering five hits with two strikeouts and zero walks. Mitch Milheim followed with another 1.1 innings of scoreless ball, striking out three. He stranded runners on second and third in both the sixth and seventh innings with inning-ending Ks.

Illinois got a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth off Tyler Kean and eventually loaded the bases with two outs. But Kean shut them down again, striking out Cam McDonald to end the threat.

Ohio State then broke through in the ninth. Wilson was hit by a pitch to start the inning but the next two were retired. Pohl then singled behind second base and then Archer Brookman grounded sharply to short and the ball went through the legs of Comia into shallow left center. Dezenzo, who reached on a fielder’s choice, came around to score, giving the Buckeyes a 6-5 lead.

Root came on for the save in the ninth and worked around a single to close it out. Illinois was 2-of-15 for the game with runners in scoring position and stranded 14.

Game 2 Recap

After two close games, the Buckeyes spung for eight runs in the top of the second and was able to cruise to a 12-6 victory in the second game.

The Buckeyes collected 15 hits as a team and five different players had multi-hit games. Captain Conner Pohl led the way going 3-of-4 with a homer and three RBI. Sam Wilson, Colton Bauer, Zach Dezenzo and Brent Todys all notched two hits in the game. The top four hitters in the Buckeye lineup went 9-of-17 with eight runs batted in.

On the mound, right-hander Jack Neely made his Buckeye debut and picked up the win. After a rocky first inning, he held Illinois scoreless over the next three innings, finishing with a line 4.0IP, 4R, 5H, 2BB, 1K. He

Freshman left-hander Isaiah Coupet made his collegiate debut and picked up the three-inning save. He allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits while striking out five over the final three innings.

Illinois struck first in the bottom of the first, knocking Neely around for four runs on four hits. But the lead was short lived as the Buckeyes responded with eight runs in the top of the second.

With bases loaded and one out, Ohio State strung together four consecutive singles from Wilson, Bauer, Dezenzo and Pohl to take a 5-4 lead. After Dezenzo scored on a wild pitch, Mitchell Okuley launched the first homerun of the season for the Buckeyes deep over the right center field fence. When the dust settled, the Buckeyes sent 12 men to plate, scoring eight times on seven hits.

Neither team threatened until Illinois was able to scratch a run across in the bottom of the fifth on a double, wild pitch and a ground out. In the top of the sixth, the Buckeyes scored four more times to push the lead to 12-5. Dezenzo tripled home a run and then Pohl knocked his first homer of the season on a line shot to right.

The teams will finish the four-game series on Sunday morning with a 10 a.m. first pitch.

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