Feb. 25, 2005

Box Score

DOTHAN, Ala. – Ohio State scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on its way to an 8-4 victory over Middle Tennessee in its season opener Friday at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic at Northcutt Field in Dothan, Ala.

Jacob Howell (So., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland), who finished 3-for-4 in the game, got things started for the Buckeyes in the sixth inning when he delivered the first extra-base hit of the game, a triple to the gap in right-center field. Back-to-back walks by Mike Rabin (Sr., West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East) and Steve Caravati (Sr., Dover, Ohio/Dover) loaded the bases and chased Blue Raiders’ starter Eric Blevins out of the game. Jimmy Kelly was his replacement, but a walk led to the first Ohio State run of the inning and gave Ohio State a 3-1 lead.

Adam Schneider (So., Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura) came in to pinch hit for the Buckeyes. Middle Tennessee went to Allan Woodward for the match up, but Schneider got the best of the lineup change, doubling to left-center field to score Rabin and Caravati to gain a 5-1 advantage. Woodward intentionally walked Jason Zoeller (So., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) to load the bases and set up a double-play ball, but Paul Farinacci (Sr., Westlake Village, Calif./Agoura) doubled to left-center field to clear the bases and build the Buckeye lead to 8-1.

Middle Tennessee, an NCAA tournament team in 2004, added a run in the eighth and a run in the ninth to close to the four-run difference in the final score. Todd Martin was 4-for-4 to lead the Blue Raiders and had three singles to go with his ninth-inning home run off Buckeye reliever Trey Fausnaugh (So., Circleville, Ohio/Westfall).

Buckeye starting pitcher Mike Madsen (Sr., Canfield, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) retired the first six batters of the game, including three strikeouts in the first inning. He got the win (1-0) for the Buckeyes’ against Blevins, who fell to 0-2.

Bourquin joined Howell as the only other Buckeye with multiple hits. He finished 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Howell was 3-for-4 without a driving in a run. Nine different players accounted for the team’s 12 hits to counter the nine hits by Middle Tennessee, which got six of its nine hits after the fifth inning, when Madsen came out of the game. Cory Luebke (Fr., Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local) pitched three innings of middle relief before giving way to Fausnaugh in the ninth. Luebke gave up two runs on five hits in his first outing in the scarlet and gray.

“You never know what you’re going to get in the opener,” Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. “I was very happy that we played errorless ball and made some key adjustments at the plate. Those two things as a whole helped us win the game.”

The Buckeyes stranded 11 base runners, including nine in the first five innings of the game. Of those nine, five were left in scoring position at a time when the Blue Raiders trailed Ohio State in hits, 8-2, and had three errors.

Ohio State benefited from on hit and a pair of Middle Tennessee errors to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Rabin delivered a one-out infield single and reached second on a fielding error by Blue Raider second baseman Eric McNamee. Rabin scored from second on a second fielding error by McNamee on a ground ball off the bat of Cody Caughenbaugh (Jr., Newark, Ohio/Licking Valley).

Madsen walked Michael McKenry to start the third inning before giving up a bloop hit to left field. The runners moved up a base on a ground out before a second walk of the inning loaded the bases. McKenry tied the game 1-1 when the scored on a ground out by Nathan Hines.

Caravati delivered a two-out single past a diving third baseman, the first of three straight Buckeye hits. Caravati moved third on a single to left-center field by Ronnie Bourquin (So., Canton, Ohio/Canton South) and then scored on a single up the middle by Caughenbaugh to put the Buckeyes back on top 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning. The score remained the same until Buckeye fireworks in the sixth.

Ohio State (1-0) continues play at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic against Troy University Saturday at 7 p.m., EST, before closing the tournament in a non-conference game against Iowa Sunday at 11 a.m.