April 15, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan shortstop Leif Mahler drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift his team to a 2-1 win that put the Wolverines in the hunt for their first series sweep against the Buckeyes since 1987. Michigan beat Ohio State 14-3 Friday and won 7-1 in the first game of the doubleheader Saturday at Ray Fisher Stadium. The fourth and final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
A.J. Scheidt led of the inning with a single up the middle and was bunted over by Mike Schmidt on the sacrifice. The Buckeyes intentionally walked Eric Rose, but Mahler, who attended St. Charles Prep in Columbus, sent a check-swing single over the head of Ohio State first baseman J.B. Shuck (Fr., Galion, Ohio/Galion) and into shallow right field well in front of right fielder Wes Schirtzinger (Jr., Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) to score Scheidt from second for the winning run.
The inning played out much like the bottom of the seventh when the Buckeyes got out of a jam to force extra innings, but this time there would be no throw to the plate by Schirtzinger to nab the go-ahead run.
OSU starting pitcher Jake Hale (Fr., Albany, Ohio/Alexander) walked Jeff Kunkel to lead off the bottom of the seventh. He was bunted over by Pickens on the sacrifice. OSU head coach Bob Todd had Hale intentionally walk Nate Recknagel to set up the double play, but Derek VanBuskirk singled to right and that time Schirtzinger scooped up the ball and fired home to Eric Fryer (So., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) who nabbed Kunkel trying to score. Adam Abraham popped up in foul to send the game to extra innings. The Buckeyes had their chances in the game, but stranded eight base runners, including one in the top of the eighth inning when Fryer reached second after being hit to start the inning. Ronnie Bourquin (Jr., Canton, Ohio/Canton South) bunted him over and Jedidiah Stephen (Sr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) was walked before Cody Caughenbaugh (Sr., Newark, Ohio/Licking Valley grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The game was deadlocked at one for much of the game.
Michigan scored its first run in the bottom of the first turning a lead-off walk by Eric Rose into a run on a two-out single up the middle by Doug Pickens.
Ohio State was able to tie the score in the top of the third inning. Tony Kennedy (So., Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) led off the inning with a base hit to center field and then went to second on a ground out by J.B. Shuck (Fr., Galion, Ohio/Galion). Kennedy scored from second on an RBI single to left by Jonathan Zizzo (So., Youngstown, Ohio/Sarasota [Fla.]).
Craig Murray, who came in for starter Chris Fetter to start the eighth, got the win despite walking a batter and hitting another. He improved to 4-0. Hale took the loss for Ohio State to fall to 1-3. He pitched 7.1 inning and allowed the two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and four walks (two were interntional).
Mahler and Pickens had the RBI for Michigan and Scheidt was the only Wolverine batter with two hits. Angle was 2-for-4 for Ohio State and Zizzo had the team’s RBI. Each team had seven hits and Michigan (19-12 overall, 7-4 Big Ten) overcame two errors against none by Ohio State (20-9, 6-5).
The last time Michigan won the first three games of a series against Ohio State was 2000, but the Buckeyes fought back to win 14-4 in the finale to prevent a sweep. Michigan has three four-game series sweeps of Ohio State, but none since 1987. Conversely, the Buckeyes also have swept the Wolverines three times though not since 1996.
The series concludes Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on AM 920 WMNI and on ohiostatebuckeyes.com.