PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The No. 24 Ohio State baseball team fell to Saint Joseph’s, 7-3, in its 2020 season opener Friday afternoon at North Charlotte Regional Park. The Buckeyes will look to bounce back when they take on Pittsburgh at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla.
Redshirt sophomore left-hander Seth Lonsway is scheduled to get the ball for the Buckeyes against Pittsburgh junior right-hander Mitch Myers.
QUOTE FROM COACH
“It was a disappointing opening day,” Greg Beals, Ohio State head coach, said. “We were fired up but just didn’t play good Ohio State baseball the way we’re capable of. We might have been a little too ramped up but their starting pitcher threw the ball really well. They competed well, got a couple big hits and we didn’t. We got beat today. The outpitched us, outhit us and our defense didn’t really up us as well.”
TEAMS EXCHANGE RUNS EARLY
After James McConnon infield single led off the top of the second with a single, a Buckeye throwing error allowed the Hawks to plate an unearned run off Buckeye starter Garrett Burhenn for the early 1-0 advantage. However, the Buckeyes took advantage of a Saint Joseph miscue to knot the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the third. Noah West led off the frame with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error with one down before Dillon Dingler lofted a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game.
THREE-RUN LONG BALL PUTS HAWKS UP
The Hawks then used another infield single from McConnon and a ground ball up with middle by Jake Artz to put runners at first and second with two down in the fourth before Langston Livingston knocked a three-run home run to right center to put Saint Joseph’s up 4-1.
BUCKEYES THREATEN IN SEVENTH
With the deficit still at 4-1 in the seventh, Nolan Clegg and West each singled against reliever Luke Smith, putting Buckeyes at the corners with two down, but the Saint Joseph’s right-hander was able to strike out Nate Karaffa to end the threat.
MILHEIM SOLID IN RELIEF
With the Buckeyes trailing, sophomore Mitch Milheim put together a solid outing in relief, striking out four and walking just one in 2.1 scoreless, hitless innings out of the bullpen.
BUCKEYES SCORE TWO MORE LATE
After Saint Joseph’s added an insurance tally in the top of the eighth, the Buckeyes got the run back in the bottom of the frame when Scottie Seymour singled home Dillon Dingler with two down. A two-run long ball in the ninth gave the Hawks a 7-2 lead in the top of the ninth before a two-out triple by Dingler plated West to close the scoring in the bottom of the inning.
Burhenn battled for the Buckeyes, allowing three earned runs on the home run in the third, giving up six hits and striking out five in 5.0 innings of work. Saint Joseph’s starter Jordan DiValerio kept the Buckeyes off-balance, allowing an unearned run on one hit while striking out nine in 5.0 innings.
– Dingler drove in a pair of runs after notching 19 RBI a year ago.
– Freshman Nate Karaffa earned the start in his first collegiate game while junior transfer Archer Brookman pinch-hit in the ninth for his first Ohio State appearance.
– The loss snapped a six game win streak for the Buckeyes in season openers.