May 12, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 25 Ohio State baseball team (40-14 overall, 19-7 Big Ten) rode a five-run fourth-inning outburst to rally for a 10-7 win over Michigan (26-24, 10-13) Saturday, completing a doubleheader sweep in front of a season-high 3,594 at Bill Davis Stadium. The 40-win season is Ohio State’s eighth in head coach Bob Todd’s 14-year tenure at OSU. The win keeps Ohio State just percentage points behind Big Ten-leading Purdue (17-6 Big Ten). OSU has one Big Ten game remaining, while the Boilermakers have three conference games left with Iowa.
Ohio State drew first blood in the first inning, taking advantage of Michigan starter Jim Brauer’s control problems. With one out, Mike Check (Sr., Bay Village, Ohio) beat out an infield single and promptly stole second base. One out later, Nick Swisher (So., Parkersburg, W. Va.) coaxed a walk. Doug Deeds (Fr., Bexley, Ohio) cleared the bases with a three-run home run off the scoreboard in right-center field. The home run was his 13th of the season.
Michigan cut into the lead in the second inning. With one out, Jordan Cantalamessa rapped a single to center field. He moved to second on a single to right field by Gino Lollio, who then was picked off by Greg Prenger (Jr., Harpster, Ohio). Cantalamessa came home on a single to center field by Bill LaRosa, slicing the OSU lead to 3-1.
The Wolverines tied the game in the third inning. Mike Sokol doubled on Prenger’s first pitch of the inning and moved up on a wild pitch. He came home on Brock Koman’s two-run home run to left field. With one out, Michigan took the lead on a single by Lollio. The Wolverines tacked on another run off OSU reliever Kyle Blachuta’s (Fr., Bloomdale, Ohio) wild pitch and added its fifth run of the inning on a single by Blake Rutkowski. The Buckeyes went to work on offense in the fourth inning. Deeds led off and drew a four-pitch walk. He advanced to third base on a hit-and-run single by John Mayor (Sr., Chesterfield, Mo.). Both runners came home on a double to left-center field by Christian Snavely (Fr., Defiance, Ohio). Trent McIlvain (Sr., Louisville, Ohio) moved Snavely to third with a sacrifice bunt.
After Michigan made a pitching change with reliever Nick Alexander, pinch hitter Lance Rolston (So., Athens, Ohio) drove home Snavely with a single past the drawn-in infield to tie the score at six. Mike Harris (Sr., Hillsborough, N.C.) followed with a single to right field. After Check put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up, Doug Dendinger (Jr., Greenwich, Ohio) lined a single to right field, scoring Rolston and Harris to give OSU an 8-6 advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Deeds led off with a single to left-center field and then stole second base. One out later, pinch hitter Steve Caravati (Fr., Dover, Ohio) launched a double to the wall in center field, prompting Michigan to insert reliever Brad McCloskey. McIlvain greeted the Wolverine reliever with a two-run single to left field, pushing the OSU lead to four, 10-6.
Michigan added a run in the seventh inning on a run-scoring single by Sokol.
Blachuta (3-1) earned the victory out of the bullpen for the Buckeyes. He fired 1.2 innings of two-hit, scoreless relief. Brandon Steen (Jr., Hendersonville, Tenn.) earned his fourth save of the season with three innings of relief. Alexander (3-4) absorbed the defeat after pitching one inning, allowing five hits and four earned runs. The starting pitchers did not factor in the decision. Prenger lasted 2.1 innings, allowing nine hits and six runs while striking out two. Brauer pitched 3.1 innings, allowing four hits and six earned runs. He walked two and struck out three.
Tomorrow, the teams play the series finale at 1:05 p.m.