March 2, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The Ohio State baseball team dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to East Carolina in the finale of the Keith LeClair Classic Sunday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 7-3 on the season while the Pirates improve to 6-5.
“Today was a tough loss but East Carolina is a good baseball team,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “We had a couple errors and gave up an unearned run but we scratched and clawed. We came back in the ninth to have the tying run on third and go-ahead run on second but we were unable to get it done. At the end of the day, we won the weekend and we’re playing good baseball heading into next week.”
Ohio State jumped out to the early lead against East Carolina starter Davis Kirkpatrick. Troy Kuhn led off the game with a triple to right and Pat Porter followed with an RBI single to get the Buckeyes on the board.
The Pirates responded with two off Ohio State starter Zach Farmer in the bottom of the second. With one down, Ian Townsend and Luke Lowery each singled and Ben Fultz reached on an error to load the bases. Farmer then walked Eric Tyler to score Townsend and a fielder’s choice plated Lowery for the 2-1 East Carolina lead.
Ohio State threatened with one down in the top of the third when Tim Wetzel reached on an error and Kuhn was hit by a pitch but Kirkpatrick got Porter to foul out and Fultz ended the inning by robbing Jacob Bosiokovic of extra bases with a running catch in deep left-center to preserve the 2-1 advantage.
East Carolina added to its lead with a run in the bottom of the third. With two down, Zach Houchins was walked and advanced to second on the wild pitch on ball four before Ian Townsend doubled off first base for the 3-1 East Carolina advantage.
The Buckeyes rallied again in the top of the fifth. A pair of one-out walks to Wetzel and Kuhn chased Kirkpatrick in favor of right-hander Ryan Williams. Williams was able to get Porter to ground into a fielder’s choice and, with runners at the corners, get Bosiokovic to strike out swinging to end the inning and keep it a 3-1 lead.
The Pirates threatened against Ohio State reliever Tanner Tully in the bottom of the sixth. Townsend and Lowery opened the frame with singles to put runners at the corners with nobody out. However, Tully got Fultz to hit a shallow fly to center, then got another out when a safety squeeze play went awry and nobody score on a bunt by Tyler and then Kirk Morgan struck out to end the frame as it stayed a 3-1 game.
The Buckeyes almost tied it in the top of the ninth against East Carolina closer Drew Reynolds. Troy Montgomery doubled to left to lead off the inning before a single through the right side by Aaron Gretz scored Montgomery to cut the lead to one. After Jake Brobst pinch-ran for Gretz, Craig Nennig singled through the right side and Wetzel sacrificed both runners over with one down. However, Reynolds got Kuhn to fly out to shallow left and Porter to fly out to center to end the game.
Farmer suffered the loss, allowing three runs, two earned on three hits over 5.0 innings pitched. Tully pitched well in relief, striking out a pair over 3.0 scoreless frames, while Ronnie Dawson went 2-for-4 at the plate.
Ohio State travels to nationally-ranked Oregon for a three-game set starting Friday.
– Kuhn and Porter have reached base safely in each game this season.
– Kuhn’s first-inning triple was the first of his career.
– Dawson notched his fourth multi-hit game in eight starts.
– The attendance of 3,684 was the most for an Ohio State baseball game since the opener of the Buckeyes’ series at Nebraska April 12 of last season in Lincoln.