April 19, 2002
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Ohio State is in first place in the Big Ten with a 9-3 conference record after going 3-1 in the first three series of the conference race against Northwestern, Penn State and Iowa. Indiana is 8-4 and is tied with Purdue for second place in the Big Ten standings after going 3-1 against Illinois and Iowa and then splitting the four games last week at Michigan State.
The Buckeyes are 21-9-1 overall after dropping a mid-week game at home to the Dayton Flyers, 4-3. Ohio State had a 3-0 lead in the game, but opened the door for a Flyers victory in the eighth inning when Dayton got its go-ahead run. The Hoosiers won their mid-week contest Wednesday night at Wright State, 4-3.
Doug Deeds continues to pace the Buckeyes with a .413 batting average. He is 45-for-109 with five doubles, a triple and six home runs. He is tied with Christian Snavely, who hit his sixth home run in the loss to Dayton on Wednesday. Nick Swisher is the team’s leader with 28 RBI and has seven doubles, a pair of triples and five home runs. Deeds (.642), Swisher (.626) and Snavely (.619) all have slugging percentages better than .600.
Nate Smith maintains a perfect 4-0 record and continues to lead the Buckeye pitching staff with a 1.25 ERA. He is holding batters to a .165 average this season. In his Sunday starts in Big Ten action, he has a 0.82 ERA and lead the Buckeyes with 29 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched. Ohio State is expected to pitch E.J. Laratta (5-1, 2.81) on Friday and then go with Josh Newman (6-2, 3.88) and Scott Lewis (3-2, 2.87) on Saturday before Smith pitches on Sunday. A complete list of probable starters for both teams is on page 3.
The Buckeyes fell out of the rankings this week but are receiving votes (35th) in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN coaches poll.
Buckeyes Travel for Three of Next Four Big Ten Series
This weekend’s series at Indiana will be the second consecutive road trip in Big Ten play for the Buckeyes. In all the Buckeyes will play four of five conference series away from Bill Davis Stadium. That stretch began last weekend in Iowa. The lone home series during that span is April 26-28 when Purdue visits Bill Davis Stadium. Ohio State will then play back-to-back weekends in Michigan, against the Wolverines (May 3-5) and the Spartans (May 10-12) before closing the Big Ten schedule May 17-19 at home against Minnesota.
The Big Ten Race
Ohio State finds itself with a one-game lead in the Big Ten standings after taking three of four from Iowa last weekend. The Buckeyes had entered the weekend tied with Indiana with 6-2 records, but after an OSU win and IU loss (at Michigan State) Friday night, Ohio State went up by a game. The Hoosiers swept the Saturday doubleheader from Michigan State and the Buckeyes split with Iowa to create another tie, but an OSU and IU loss Sunday gave the Buckeyes a one-game edge after the weekend with a 9-3 record. Had Purdue beaten Northwestern on Sunday, Ohio State would have been tied with the Boilermakers. Instead. Indiana and Purdue are tied for second in the Big Ten with 8-4 records.
Todd Eyeing OSU Win No. 600
Ohio State coach Bob Todd won his 700th career game earlier this season against Detroit on March 16. Now, in his 15th year at OSU, he is within 10 victories of winning his 600th game at Ohio State. Todd currently has a 590-287-2 record and is already the winningest baseball coach in Buckeye history, doing that with his 479th win on May 5, 1999 vs. Pittsburgh. He won 500th game on March 19, 2000 against Oregon State. Todd has a career record of 714-369-2 in his 19th season as a head coach, having previously coached at Kent.
The Ohio State baseball team is wearing a black circle patch with a white No. 27 on its right sleeve to remember former Buckeye baseball All-American Fred Taylor. Taylor, who passed away Jan. 6, 2002 after a long illness, was the first baseball All-American from Ohio State in 1950. The former first baseman is probably more recognized as coach of the Ohio State men’s basketball team from 1959-76. Five of his teams earned NCAA Tournament berths (1960, ’61, ’62, ’68 and ’71) with four of those advancing to the Final Four (1960, ’61, ’62 and ’68). His 1960 team won the National Championship. The Buckeyes also made history under Taylor by winning an unmatched five-consecutive Big Ten titles (1960-64).
The Hoosiers have the best overall record in the Big Ten entering this weekend. Indiana is 27-8 this season mostly due to its 13-game win streak between March 7-27. Since that time, IU is 10-5, going 8-4 in Big Ten action and 2-1 outside of conference play with wins over Wright State (4-3), Miami, Ohio (10-7) and a loss to Indiana State (5-4).
As a team the Hoosiers are batting .346. Seven players have are hitting better than that percentage led by Kennard Jones, who is batting .435 (64-for-147) with 22 RBI without a home run. Two other Hoosiers — Ryan Donley (.425) and Vasili Spanos (.425) — join Jones above .400. Spanos has 12 home runs this season and has produced 47 RBI. He also leads the team with 12 doubles.
The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.00. Zach Otte, who will likely throw the first game Saturday, is 6-1 with a 1.51 ERA. Nick Vittelliss, who will toss the second game Saturday is 5-0 with a 3.35 ERA. The Buckeyes will likely see Jacob Cary on Friday and then Matt Rice on Sunday.
Against the Hoosiers
Ohio State leads the all-time series with the Hoosiers 136-91-0 after taking two of three games last year after rain shortened the four-game series. The Buckeyes won by scores of 10-1 and 10-8 and then lost 5-4 in the final game. Nick Swisher was 6-for-13 (.462) with two home runs and nine runs batted in. He also scored three times. Doug Deeds was 3-for-9 in the sereids with two home runs and four RBI. Bob Todd is 37-20 against Indiana.
Dayton Downs Buckeyes 4-3
Dayton scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning on its way to a 4-3 victory over Ohio State Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium.
Kyle Brown gave up two runs in the eighth when in came on in relief for Trent Luyster. Dayton centerfielder Rory Thornton walked and then Tom Beechem singled through the left side. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position and then Brown fielded a ground ball to retire Aaron Reesh at first, but Thornton was able to tie the game, scoring from third. A sacrifice fly by Shawn Bolinger gave the Flyers the lead, scoring Beechem who had advanced to third on the ground out by Reesh.
Ohio State missed a golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases without an out, but Doug Dendinger grounded into a 5-2-3 double play that first caught Brett Garrard, the tying run, at home. Designated hitter Lance Rolston struck out to end the inning and strand the tying run at third.
Beechem finished the game 2-for-4 and scored a run for Dayton and Bolinger knocked in two runs in a 1-for-3 night. Christian Snavely led Ohio State was led at the plate going 2-for-5 with the single in the first and a two-run homer in the third. Garrard and Mike Rabin also had multiple hits for the Buckeyes.
Snavely Snaps 0-8 Skid
Second baseman Christian Snavely snapped a streak of eight at bats with a base hit to lead things off for Ohio State Wednesday night against Dayton. He hit his sixth home run of the season in the third inning, a two-run shot over the centerfield fence that gave Ohio State a 3-0 lead. Snavely was just 3-for-19 at Iowa last weekend. He had entered the series leading the team in hitting with a .424 average with 20 RBI and five home runs and was the Big Ten Player of the Week just the week before with an outstanding effort against Penn State in which he went 7-for-16 with two home runs and eight RBI.
Steen Makes 59th Appearance
Brandon Steen was the last of five pitchers used Wednesday night against Dayton. It marked his 59th career appearance in a Buckeye uniform. He had made his 58th appearance last Saturday in the 2-1 win in the first game of a doubleheader. He retired the final two batters for Josh Newman to pick up his third save of the season and the eighth of his career. His 59 appearances rank 11th on the OSU all-time list. He trails Bob Spears (1993-96), Mark Mesewicz (1989-92) and Bill Wertz (1986-89), who are all tied for eighth with 61.
Joe Wilkins’ career long eight-game hit streak came to an end Wednesday when he struck out in the ninth inning. It was his only plate appearance in the game as a pinch hitter for Brooks Graff, who started the game behind the plate instead of Wilkins and was 0-for-3.
Nick Swisher was able to extend his hit streak to a career-long 10 games when he got his only hit against Dayton in the eighth inning that loaded the bases with the Flyers in front 4-3.
Brett Garrard has hit in the last five games and Mike Rabin has hit in his last three games and eight of his last 10. Doug Dendinger has also hit in his last three games.
Last 10 Games
Ohio State has a trio of hitters who have better than a .400 average in the team’s last 10 games, in which the Buckeyes are 6-4. Doug Deeds leads the group with a .455 average (15-for-33) with three home runs, 15 runs and six RBI. Mike Rabin is batting .424 (14-for-33) with two RBI and four runs scored. Nick Swisher is batting .419 (13-for-31) with a home run, seven runs and eight RBI.
Buckeyes Power Way to 11-1 Victory, Series Win vs. Iowa
Rightfielder Doug Deeds had two home runs and starting pitcher Nate Smith struck out a career-high 13 batters to lead Ohio State to 11-1 win and 3-1 series victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes last Sunday at Duane Banks Field.
Deeds gave the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead in the third inning with his fifth home run of the season. Deeds sent his second home run of the game just to the left of where he hit his two-run shot to right field in the third inning. The solo blast was the sixth home run of the season for Deeds, who took sole ownership of the team home run race.
Three runs in the fifth inning, keyed by a two-run home run by Lance Rolston, to put the Buckeyes up 6-0. Paul Farinacci added a pinch hit home run in the top of the eighth inning to extend the Buckeye lead to 8-1. It was his first home run as a Buckeye. Ohio State added three runs in the top of the ninth, the highlight a solo home run, the third of the year, by Doug Dendinger.
Smith Adds Another Gem
Nate Smith pitched another Sunday gem for the Buckeye, sitting down batters in order in the second, fourth and fifth inning, including nine batters in a row at one point. Smith finished the game with a career-best 13 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He improved to 4-0 on the year with the victory allowing just one run on three hits. Chris Hanners replaced Smith to start the eighth and had three strikeouts of his owns as the duo combined to strike out a season-high 16 batters.
Iowa Comeback Defeats Buckeyes 5-4
A three-run home run by Brad Carlson in the bottom of the fifth inning tied the game and paved the way for a 5-4 Iowa win over Ohio State in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday at Duane Banks Field.
The Hawkeyes scored the winning run in the sixth inning and retired Ohio State batters in order in the seventh inning to claim the win. The winning run scored on a sacrifice fly by Andy Jansen. Brian Bucklin scored on the play who was pinch running for Lance Guyer, who drew a pinch-hit walk to start the inning.
Ohio State had built a 4-1 lead in the fifth after Nick Swisher’s fifth home run of the season and the 30th of his career. Kyle Brown (0-1) got the loss for Ohio State.
Swisher Smacks No. 30
Nick Swisher blasted a shot over the fence in left field to give Ohio State a 4-1 lead in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Iowa. It was just the first home run by either team in the series and the fifth home run by Swisher this season. He now has 30 home runs for his career and is now tied for ninth with Ken Tirpack (1989-92) on the school’s career list. He needs two home runs to move into a three with tie for seventh place with Mark Chonko (1993-96) and Chad Ehrnsberger (1998-00) with 32. Dan Seimetz (1995-98) has the school’s all-time record with 52.
OSU Gets 20th Win
Sophomore pitcher Josh Newman struck out eight batters in guiding Ohio State to a 2-1 victory over Iowa in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader as the Buckeyes picked up their 20th victory of the season.
Newman pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up fours hits and one run, which was unearned, while striking out eight and walking just three. It was his team-leading sixth win of the season against just two losses.
Newman did a good job keeping the Hawkeyes off the scoreboard until the fifth inning. Newman retired Iowa batters in order in the first second and fourth innings, giving up a pair of hits in the third. He caught one of those base runners trying to steal second and then got a pair of strikeouts to get out of the innings.
Ohio State stranded two runners in each of the first two innings, but then took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Brett Garrard singled through the left side into left field and then Doug Deeds sent a shot into right to move Garrard to third. An errant relay throw by shortstop Jeff Gremley trying to beat Deeds to third sailed near the OSU dugout and allowed Deeds to advance to second. Ground outs by Nick Swisher and Doug Dendinger scored Garrard and Deeds to give the Buckeyes a two-run lead.
A throwing error by OSU catcher Joe Wilkins scored Iowa’s only run of the game. Brandon Steen, who pitched the final two outs of the game, got his third save of the year.
OSU Beats Iowa 7-1 in Opener
Ohio State had 15 hits in a 7-1 victory over Iowa in the opening game of a four-game Big Ten series last Friday at Duane Banks Field. Pitcher E.J. Laratta went the distance getting his fifth win of the year.
Laratta threw just 95 pitches getting 10 Hawkeyes to fly out and another 11 to ground out in his third complete game of the season and the 17th of his career.
In Friday’s win he had a solid defense behind him. The Buckeyes did not have an error for the first time since the 9-2 victory over Northwestern on March 31. He also had support of 15 hits by the Buckeyes including three by Doug Deeds in a 3-for-5 night. Drew Anderson knocked in two runs in going 2-for-5.
Laratta Now Second in Wins
The win last Friday at Iowa was the 31st for E.J. Laratta as a Buckeye, putting him into second place on the school’s all-time win list by himself. He now trails Justin Fry (1995-99) by just five wins for the most all time. He had been tied with Pete Perini (1947-50) with 30.
With Friday’s complete game, Laratta has now pitched 339 1/3 innings, which is the third most innings ever pitched by a Buckeye. He trails Perini by 4 2/3 innings for second. Perini pitched 344 innings in his career. The all-time leader is Fry, who pitched 419 2/3 innings.
Laratta also has 220 strikeouts in his four years as a Buckeye and is tied for 12th in school history with Kevan Cannon (1993-95). He is only four strikeouts away from moving into the OSU top-10 list Paul Ebert (1952-54) has 223 and Doug Swearingen (1980-83) has 224. Scott Klingenbeck (1990-92) is ninth on the list with 238 strikeouts.
No Walk for Dendinger at Iowa
Senior first baseman Doug Dendinger leads the team with 28 walks this season and is third with 123 career walks, but did draw a free pass to first in any of the four games at Iowa last weekend. Instead, he went 5-for-15 in the four games, with two hits in each of the nine-inning contests, including a pair of doubles and his third home run of the year in the series finale. He also had a sac fly in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Big Ten Rankings After Last Weekend
The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with 9-3 record and have the best pitching staff in the conference with a 3.96 ERA. Nate Smith leads all Big Ten pitchers with a 1.25 ERA and has a 4-0 record to remain the only undefeated starter on the team. E.J. Laratta’s 2.81 ERA is sixth best in the Big Ten, while Scott Lewis has a 2.81 ERA to rank seventh.
Smith is holding opposing batters to a .165 batting average, the lowest by a conference pitcher and Laratta is holding batters to an average of .242, the fourth best average.
In conference games only, Ohio State has a 4.26 ERA, which ranks third. Smith has the second best ERA in conference games. He is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA and leads the Big Ten with 29 strikeouts. He is also holding batters to a .143 average in conference games to pace the Big Ten.
On offense, Ohio State’s .305 average is fourth best on the team behind Michigan State (.350), Indiana (.347) and Illinois (.309). Doug Deeds has a .415 batting average to rank fourth in the batting race. His .508 on-base percentage is second in the league.
In conference games only, the Buckeyes own a .315 batting average to rank second behind Indiana’s .327. Deeds is 10th in batting average in conference games with a .381 batting average. Nick Swisher and Christian Snavely are second in RBI (13) and is tied for third with 31 total bases. Snavely, Deeds and Swisher each have four home runs in league action to top Big Ten batters.
Deeds has scored 18 runs in conference play to pace the league. Swisher is second in slugging percentage (.775).
Snavely Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Second baseman Christian Snavely was named Big Ten Player of the Week April 8 after leading the Buckeyes to three wins against Penn State while batting .438 (7-for-16) with two home runs and eight runs batted in.
Snavely scored three runs on the weekend and posted a slugging percentage of .938 thanks to 15 total bases, twice as many as any other Buckeye. Snavely’s first homer in the series came in the second game on Saturday, as he went a perfect 4-4 and produced four RBI and two runs. He followed that performance with another long ball and three more RBI on Sunday as Ohio State bounced back to win three straight from the Nittany Lions after dropping the opener on Friday.
Buckeyes Stumble vs. Oakland
Oakland starter Dominic Carmosino struck out six and reliever Jared Thomas struck out nine to lift the Grizzlies to a 10-5 midweek victory over Ohio State April 10 at Bill Davis Stadium.
Buckeye pitchers struggled to start the contest, but Ohio State remained in the game until a big fourth inning by Oakland.
The Grizzlies scored five times that inning to seal the victory, taking advantage of a pitching change by the Buckeyes. In an effort to get work for several Buckeye pitchers, some which had not pitched since the Northwestern series at the end of March, Buckeye skipper Bob Todd went with Matt Davis, who had not started since picking up his second win of the season March 30 against Northwestern, in place of starter Chris Hanners to start the fourth inning.
Hanners allowed five runs to come across in the first three innings, but the Buckeyes had pulled within 5-4 before surrendering the big fourth inning. Only three runs scored in the first three innings were earned on a total of seven hits. Davis pitched just a third of an inning yet allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits.
The Turning Point vs. Penn St.
After losing 14-2 in the Friday game against Penn State and stumbling out of the gate in the first game of the April 6 doubleheader 6-2, Ohio State huddled together in the dugout prior to the fifth inning and reminded itself it had never lost a Big Ten series at Bill Davis Stadium. A loss Saturday would mean no better than a split with the Nittany Lions, but OSU preferred to get the series win.
From that point on, it was all Buckeyes. Ohio State scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-6 lead, which it held to win in comeback fashion. OSU went on to win 10-0 in the nightcap and 11-0 on Sunday to win the series 3-1.
Buckeyes Pound Penn State
Ohio State cruised for its second double-figure shutout in as many games, downing Penn State 11-0 April 7 to claim the series 3-1 and improve to 6-2 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes picked up right where they left off Saturday, when they beat Penn State 10-0 on a two-hit gem by Scott Lewis. On Sunday, Smith struck out eight and walked just one though he allowed seven hits in his eight innings of work on Sunday. He improved to 3-0 with the win.
Both Christian Snavely and Doug Deeds hit two-run home runs in the second inning adding to the one run batted in by Nick Swisher in the first to give Ohio State a 5-0 lead. It was Snavely’s fifth home run of the season and his second of the series.
After adding a run in the fourth, the Buckeyes did not score again until the eighth inning. Deeds got his third hit of the game to start the inning and then moved to second on a walk to Swisher and to third on a walk to Dendinger. Deeds scored on a passed ball that also put runners at second and third for a two-run single by Brooks Graff, who was pinch hitting for Wilkins. A double by Drew Anderson advanced Graff to third and then a pinch hit sacrifice fly by Lance Rolston scored him. Snavely’s third RBI of the game allowed Anderson to score the 11th run for Ohio State.
Lewis Tosses Two-Hitter
Freshman lefthanded pitcher Scott Lewis pitched a two-hit shutout as the Buckeyes won 10-0 to sweep Penn State in a doubleheader April 6.
Lewis struck out six batters and walked four in his shutout as a Buckeye. He had previously shut out Detroit in a five-inning victory on March 16 by the same 10-0 score.
Offensively, the Buckeyes had 14 hits for the game, including three doubles, two triples and a home run. Christian Snavely’s home run in the fifth inning was his third for the game. He finished 4-for-4 with four runs batted in. He also scored two runs. Mike Rabin was 3-for-4 from the plate and scored twice without an RBI.
The Buckeyes scored five times in the second inning to take a 7-0 lead. Deeds led off the inning with a base hit to right and then advanced to second on a walk to Swisher. Doug Dendinger’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third. Joe Wilkins kept up his solid hitting on the day hitting another two-RBI double to left-centerfield. Both of Wilkins’ hits in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader were doubles, including his second which scored the winning run in the 7-6 victory in game one.
Snavely homered to right field in the fifth to give Ohio State a 9-0 lead. Snavely also singled up the middle, his fourth hit of the game, in the sixth inning to score Brooks Graff who led off the inning with a pinch-hit double.
Comeback Salvages Series
A two-run double in the fifth inning by catcher Joe Wilkins capped a five-run fifth inning by Ohio State to pave the way to a 7-6 victory over Penn State in the first of two games April 6.
Ohio State scored five times in the fifth to take a 7-6 lead. Brett Garrard, Doug Deeds and Nick Swisher started the inning with base hits. Swisher scored Garrard on his single to left. Doug Dendinger drew a walk to load the bases for Wilkins’ heroics.
Wilkins went 2-for-4, scoring twice with a pair of runs batted in. Both hits were doubles. Leftfielder Mike Rabin also finished with a pair of hits.
The Nittany Lions opened up the game in the fourth inning scoring three times to take a 6-2 lead. Josh Newman started the inning with retiring the first two batters, but then walked two of the next three batters, hitting the other with a pitch. He walked DeRenzo to plate Richmond and then a single down the leftfield line by Reohr scored both Showalter and Milliron.
Newman got the win for the Buckeyes improving to 5-2 on the year. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing all six runs on six hits. Only three of the six runs were earned. Brandon Steen picked up his second save for the season after pitching 1 2/3 innings allowing just one hit while striking out three.
Penn State Drops OSU 14-2
Penn State got 21 hits while holding Ohio State to just four in a 14-2 victory over the Buckeyes April 5.
Nittany Lion starter Mike Watson went the distance in giving up just two runs on the four hits by the Buckeyes. He struck out 11, but walked seven of the 38 batters he faced on a total of 150 pitches.
Penn State took an early 3-0 lead in the third inning. Doug Dendinger put the Buckeyes on the board in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot to right to pull Ohio State within 3-1.
But that is as close as it would get. Penn State added six runs in the fourth inning on seven hits and then added four runs in the fifth inning.
Ohio State tried to take advantage of four straight walks by Watson in the fifth, but after one run scored to give the Buckeyes their second run of the game, Watson struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning and strand the bases loaded for Ohio State.
Laratta got his first loss of the year vs. four wins.
Buckeyes Claim Series Win with 9-2 Victory vs. Wildcats
Starter Nate Smith pitched a one-hitter through seven innings and was backed up by a solid offense as Ohio State cruised to a 9-2 victory over Northwestern March 31 to win the first Big Ten series of the year, 3-1.
Smith’s bid at a no-hitter and a shutout was squashed on the first pitch of the sixth inning when Northwestern shortstop Jon Mikrut sent the pitch over the fence in right field to put Northwestern on the board. But that was all the Wildcats would get off Smith as he struck out the next batter and got two straight ground outs to get out of the inning. That hit was the only hit allowed by Smith, who was pulled after the seventh inning for E.J. Laratta.
The Scarlet and Gray took a commanding 8-0 lead by scoring four runs in the fifth inning, three of which came off the bat of catcher Joe Wilkins, who sent a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left-centerfield to score three runs for the Buckeyes. It was his second home run of the year.
Smith Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Right-handed pitcher Nate Smith was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, April 1, after guiding the Buckeyes to a 9-0 win over Harvard in the Homestead Challenge and a 9-2 victory over Northwestern last Sunday.
Smith pitched 14 innings and struck out 14 batters last week to get his first two wins of the season. He went seven innings and struck out six batters (all in the first three innings) while walking just one while giving up just two hits in the Buckeyes’ win over Harvard. Against Northwestern on Sunday, the junior from Bryan, Ohio, took a no-hitter in to the sixth inning, when he gave up a home run on the first pitch of the inning. It was the only hit he gave up in the game holding opposing batters to .048 average and fanning eight. He had a 0.64 ERA in the two games last week and now has a 1.71 ERA for the season, second best on the team behind E.J. Laratta (1.50). Laratta was also a Big Ten Pitcher of the Week earlier this season (Feb. 25).
Northwestern Takes One Win
After losing the first two games of the Big Ten Conference opener, Northwestern responded by winning the second game of a doubleheader March 30, handing the Buckeyes an 11-8 defeat.
Northwestern won despite committing four errors in the contest. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, keyed by a doubles by rightfielder Brandon Ackley and leftfielder Stanley Finch and a single by designated hitter David Gresky. Ohio State scored once in the bottom of the inning.
Northwestern went on to build a 6-1 lead on a three-run home run by catcher Ken Padgett, that scored Finch and Jon Mikurt. However the lead was short-lived as the Buckeyes exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth to give them a 7-6 lead. The highlight of the inning was a two-run home run by Nick Swisher. It was his third home run of the day.
Northwestern came back to score four runs on four hits in the fifth inning to reclaim the lead, 10-6. For good measure they added another run in the sixth inning on a home run by centerfielder Steve Haake. Ohio State scored twice more before the 11-8 loss.
Swisher’s Heroics Save the Day
Centerfielder Nick Swisher hit an 0-2 slider from Northwestern starter Ryan Bos over the leftfield fence scoring two runs to lift Ohio State to a 6-5 triumph in the bottom of the seventh in the first game of a doubleheader March 30.
Ohio State trailed 5-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. Joe Wilkins and Christian Snavely each singled to lead off the inning. After a flyout by Terry Pettorini, Paul Farinacci, pinch hitting for leftfielder Mike Rabin, doubled down the rightfield line to bring home Wilkins from second. A single to shallow right field plated Snavely, pulling the Buckeyes within 5-3.
Brett Garrard singled to right putting runners at the corners. A double steal had Northwestern catcher Ken Padgett throwing to second as Geoff Buchanan, who was pinch running for Farinacci, stole home, to make the score 5-4. With two outs, Swisher came to the plate and hit his second home run of the day over the leftfield fence.
OSU Takes 8-5 Win in Big Ten Opener
Second baseman Christian Snavely hit home runs in consecutive at bats in the fourth and sixth innings helping guide Ohio State to an 8-5 victory over Northwestern in a game that had been suspended March 29 because of heavy rains that moved through the Columbus area.
The game picked up Saturday where it left off Friday night with David Gresky at the plate facing a 2-2 count. The only difference when play resumed was that Josh Newman replaced starter E.J. Laratta on the mound for Ohio State.
The Wildcats scored three times in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Snavely hit his second home run of the game and his third of the season to pull the Buckeyes and Wildcats even in the sixth.
A single through the left side by Doug Deeds in the seventh scored Drew Anderson, who reached on a two-base error and was then moved over on a ground out by Doug Dendinger. Nick Swisher hit the team’s fourth home run of the game off the scoreboard in right-centerfield. The bomb prompted a pitching change. Dan Pohlman replaced Ribas and immediately walked the first two batters he faced and then gave up a base hit to Lance Rolston to load the bases. Evan Blesoff replaced Pohlman on the mound and he allowed Ohio State to add a run on a sac fly by Pettorini that scored Snavely.
Swisher Belts Three Home Runs in Three Games
Junior Nick Swisher scored the winning runs in the 6-5 victory in the first game of a doubleheader vs. Northwestern March 30 with a walk-off home run that capped a five-run bottom of the seventh. His sacrifice bunt in his previous at bat in the sixth inning helped the Buckeyes score their first run of the game. Swisher hit .333 (5-for-15) in the four games vs. Northwestern and hit three home runs, one each in the first three games of the series, which Ohio State won 3-1. He led the team with seven runs batted in last week and had an on-base percentage of .586.