April 3, 2005
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois needed its last at bat to beat the Buckeyes 6-4 and clinch its first-ever four-game sweep against Ohio State Sunday at Illinois Field. The Buckeyes have been swept only six times since the Big Ten went to a four-game league series in 1981 and had not been swept since 1990, when Minnesota swept the Buckeyes in Columbus.
Drew Davidson capped a 4-for-4 day with a two-run home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth. After OSU reliever Trey Fausnaugh (So., Circleville, Ohio/Westfall) struck out J.R. Kyes, he gave up a single to left-center and allowed him to reach second on a wild pitch. Davidson followed with his heroics and fourth home run of the season.
Like it had in the three previous games of the series, Illinois scored in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. OSU starter Dan DeLucia (So., Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Watterson) walked J.R. Kyes to lead off the inning. Kyes moved to second on a ground out and then scored on a single to right by Drew Davidson, who advanced to second on a throw home trying to nab the scoring Kyes. Davidson stole third and then scored on a single through the left side by Dusty Bensko for the second run of the inning.
The Buckeyes got one run back in the top of the second. Paul Farinacci (Sr., Westlake Village, Calif./Agoura) led off the inning with a single through the right side, but was caught on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Eric Fryer (Fr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg). A fielding error on a Mike Rabin (Sr., West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East) single to right allowed Fryer to score. Rabin was able to reach second on the Illini miscue, but was stranded there after a ground out and a strikeout. Illinois added its third run in the third inning when Davidson’s sacrifice fly scored Kyes from third. Kyes had led off the inning with a double to right-center and then went to third on a ground out before scoring to retake a two-run lead.
Chris Macke (Fr., Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute North) pulled the Buckeyes within a 3-2 score, driving in Farinacci from third on his first career hit, a single to shallow right-center field. Macke made his first career start at third base in place of Ronnie Bourquin (So., Canton, Ohio/Canton South), who injured his left thumb sliding into first on the last play of the second game Saturday. Farinacci doubled to deep right-center with one out and then went to second following a two-out infield single by Rabin.
Jason Zoeller (So., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) led off the fifth inning with his third home run of the season to tie the game 3-3. Illiniois starting pitcher James Morris was making his first career start in his fifth appearance this season and had not allowed a run in 10 innings entering today’s appearance. He was charged with all three Buckeye runs and left the game with one out and a runner at first – Adam Schneider (So., Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura), who singled to left-center – but a double by Jedidiah Stephen (Jr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) off reliever Joel Barickman did not score him and he was caught at home on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Farinacci.
Rabin gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the series. He led off the sixth with a base hit to right-center field and stole second before a Macke drew a walk. A throw by Illini catcher Chris Robinson got away from Kyes, the second baseman, on a double steal by Rabin and Macke. Kyes could not find the ball and Rabin was able to score and give Ohio State a 4-3 lead.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Chase Kliment tripled to right-center field with only one out in the bottom of the inning. He scored on a fielding error by Zoeller, the Buckeye second baseman, to tie the game, 4-4.
Rabin was 3-for-4, while Zoeller was 2-for-5 and Macke was 2-for-3. Ohio State and Illinois each had 11 hits, but the Buckeyes had three errors to two by the Illini.
Fausnaugh got the loss to fall to 1-1, while Jake Toohey pitched the final four innings to get his first win of the season (1-0).
The Buckeyes are 0-4 to start the Big Ten for the first time since 1987. Other four-game sweeps against Ohio State have come three times against Michigan, and once each against Minnesota and Purdue.
Ohio State, now 13-8 overall, returns to Bill Davis Stadium Wednesday when it begins a 10-game homestand against Oakland at 6:35 p.m. The Buckeyes return to Big Ten play next weekend against Purdue.