March 28, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team fell, 6-4, to Indiana in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 16-8, 2-2 in the Big Ten, while the Hoosiers improve to 13-10, 3-1 in conference play.

“They really did a good job offensively,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “They hit a lot of ground balls and it seemed like every one found a hole tonight. We hit some ground balls hard and ended up in three double plays but they took advantage of their opportunities. They’re a very good ball club so give them credit.”

The Hoosiers took the lead off Ohio State starter Ryan Riga in the top of the third. Sam Travis reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on a two-out RBI single through the right side by Scott Donley for the 1-0 Indiana lead.

Indiana added to its lead in the top of the fifth. With two down, Casey Rodrigue and Kyle Schwarber both reached on infield singles before Travis blooped a single to right to score Rodrigue for the 2-0 Hoosier advantage.

The Buckeyes rallied against Indiana starter Joey DeNato in the bottom of the sixth when singles by Troy Kuhn and Ryan Leffel put Buckeyes at the corners with one down for Pat Porter. DeNato was able to strike out Porter looking for the second out of the inning but Josh Dezse lined a single to left to score Kuhn to cut the Hoosier lead to 2-1 after six innings.

The Hoosiers answered right back in the top of the seventh. Tim O’Conner reached on an infield single to lead off the inning before a balk moved him to second. Riga then struck out Rodrigue but O’Conner stole third and Schwarber was intentionally walked to put runners at the corners with one down. Travis and Donley each followed with RBI singles to score O’Conner and Schwarber to extend the lead to 4-1.

Indiana tacked on two more in the top of the eighth when Dustin DeMuth led off the frame with a solo home run to right to make it a 5-1 Hoosier lead. After Riga struck out Craig Dedelow for the first out of the inning, the left-hander was lifted in favor of Tyler Giannonatti. Nick Ramos then tripled to right-center and scored on a ground out by Ricky Alfonso to push the Indiana lead to 6-1.

Right-hander Luke Harrison relieved DeNato in the bottom of the frame and tossed a scoreless eighth before running into trouble in the ninth. After getting the first out of the inning, Connor Sabanosh singled, Troy Montgomery walked and Nick Sergakis singled to load the bases. Tim Wetzel then plated Sabanosh with a groundout to second to cut the lead to 6-2 before the Hoosiers went to right-hander Scott Effross out of the bullpen to face Kuhn. The Buckeye second baseman hit a ground ball to short and Ramos’ throw was wide of first, allowing Montgomery and Wetzel to score but Kuhn was thrown out trying to advance to second for the final out of the game as the Hoosiers came away with the series-opening win.

Riga suffered his first loss of the season to fall to 3-1 after allowing five runs on 13 hits while striking out six of 7.1 innings pitched. Leffel went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Buckeyes.

DeNato picked up the win for Indiana to improve to 5-1 on the season after allowing one earned run on five hits over 7.0 innings while Effross recorded the final out of the game for his fourth save of the season.

The Buckeyes and Hoosiers square off at 3:05 p.m. Saturday at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.

– Leffel tallied his fourth multi-hit game of the season.
– Sabanosh extended his hitting streak to five games.