COLUMBUS, Ohio– Ohio State topped Indiana, 7-1, in a Big Ten Conference contest Friday at Bill Davis Stadium as ace All-American pitcher Alex Wimmers went the distance and struck out 14 Hoosiers to improve to 7-0 on the season. Ohio State improves to 18-8 overall and remains in a tie for first in the Big Ten with a 3-1 record. Indiana’s record is evened at 14-14 overall and the Hoosiers are 1-3 in conference play.
Ohio State scored a run in the first off a Zach Hurley single and a Cory Kovanda double, added three more in the fourth and that was all it was going to take offensively with Wimmers razor sharp on the mound. His strikeout total matched his effort against these same Hoosiers last year in a 2-0 win in Winter Haven, Fla., and it was one off his career-best of 15 against Pitt in 2009. He did not walk a batter and the only run he allowed came in the eighth inning with the Buckeyes comfortably ahead, 7-0.
Oh-ninety-four. That number – it looks like this – .094 – numerically – represented the batting average of left-handed hitters this season vs. Wimmers coming into the game. It was an average that was going to get tested because Indiana’s lineup featured four lefties, including two of the best hitters in the Big Ten in sophomore Alex Dickerson and junior Jerrud Sabourin. Dickerson came into the game riding a 21-game hitting streak – second-longest in the nation – and with 12 home runs and 39 RBI to go along with a sky-high .444 batting average. Sabourin was right there in Dickerson’s rare air with a .480 average, six home runs and 31 RBI.
Wimmers passed the test – again – with flying colors. He limited the Hoosier lefties to a 1-for-15 day at the plate with Sabourin’s ninth-inning single the only hit allowed.
Ohio State’s hitters weren’t dominant against the Indiana pitching, but they certainly did enough to secure the win. Give credit to IU sophomore leftie Matt Igel, who pitched reasonably well through six innings. He had a rough fourth inning that shouldn’t have been rough, but a throwing error contributed to two unearned runs in the three-run inning. He dropped to 0-4 on the year with the loss, giving up eight hits, four earned runs with four walks and four strikeouts.
Michael Stephens’ seventh home run of the season to lead off the fourth inning doubled the Buckeye lead to 2-0, a margin that would double again – to 4-0 – before the inning would end as the Buckeyes took advantage of a throwing error to score the two additional, unearned runs. Ryan Cypret hit a sacrifice fly and Kovanda drew a bases loaded walk for the other runs.
Cory Rupert singled home Stephens, who led off with a double, in the fifth inning to make the score 5-0 and Cypret scored on a sac fly in the sixth after opening that inning with a single. Ohio State’s final run came on a Hurley screaming single to right in the seventh that scored Brian DeLucia.
Hurley had three hits a run scored and an RBI to lead the Buckeye attack. He now has seven hits, five RBI and five runs scored in Ohio State’s last three games, all wins.
Kovanda reached base five times with a double, single and three walks plus had two RBI. Stephens scored twice in addition to his two hits and DeLucia also crossed the plate two times.
The two teams resume their three-game series with a 1:05 p.m. start Saturday at Bill Davis Stadium.
Notes & Random Thoughts from the Press Box…