EAST LANSING, Mich. – Ohio State battled back from a 5-1 deficit early to tie the game, but it could not recover from a seven-run deficit later on and ended up losing the third game of this series with Michigan State, 14-7, Sunday at McLean Stadium. Ohio State drops to 21-10 overall but retains at least a share of the Big Ten Conference lead with a 6-3 record. Michigan State, which came into the series tied for the conference lead but dropped the first two games of the series, improved to 23-10 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten.

Things started out fine for the Buckeyes, who were seeking a fourth three-game sweep in this second season of three-game conference series. The team took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Zach Hurley led off with a single, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Cory Kovanda’s single.

The Spartans topped that total in their half of the first, though, scoring twice on three hits and a walk with the big blow a two-run double by Jeff Holm. Three more runs in the second by the home team increased the Spartan lead to 5-1 entering the fourth inning.

The Buckeye bats got hot in the fourth. The team scored four times to tie the score at 5-all on the strength of six singles. All four runs were scored with two out with RBI singles registered by Brian DeLucia, Matt Streng, Tyler Engle and Hurley.

It wasn’t a tie game for long. Eli Boike hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth and two-outs later an RBI single by Torsten Boss extended the lead to 8-5. Boike’s hit chased OSU starter Dean Wolosiansky, who surrendered seven runs on nine hits and dropped to 3-4 with the loss.

The Spartans opened things up again in the fifth inning with four more runs with Holm’s two-out, three-run home run the big hit of the inning that made the score 12-5…a lead that proved to, ultimately, be insurmountable.

Spartan starter Tony Bucciferro lasted into the eighth inning, scattered 12 hits and only had the one rough inning to improve to 5-3 with the win.   

Notes & More from a Brand New Press Box…

  • Cory Kovanda’s first-inning single extended his personal-best hitting streak to 15 consecutive games.
  • For the second consecutive game, Zach Hurley smashed the first pitch of the game up the middle for a single. Sunday it extended his hitting streak to eight games.
  • Hurley, with three hits and three RBI, and Ryan Dew, who also had three hits and with one run scored, led Ohio State’s 14-hit attack.
  • Tyler Engle had a pair of hits, both of them singles. He should have had a double on one screamer down the third base line that ended up hitting umpire Jim Schaly.
  • Brian Bobinski and Eric Shinn combined to allow just one earned run in 3.0 innings in relief.
  • In the past but certainly not forgotten were these three defensive gems in the Game 2 win over the Spartans: Cory Rupert securing a bad bounce grounder off third base with a man on to get the first out of the first inning, keeping the Spartans from mounting a potential early threat; Zach Hurley, back to the plate, running toward the fence to snare an over-the-shoulder liner in the third inning with OSU trailing by a run; and Cory Kovanda making a diving stop on an infield single that kept a run from scoring in the seventh inning.
  • A forgotten note from Friday: adjacent to McLane Stadium across a main road that cuts through Michigan State’s campus, a group of wizards and witches was playing Quidditch, from the “Harry Potter” series. The contestants were actually students who weren’t flying around on brooms with a real golden egg, but they were running around with brooms chasing an object, trying to get it through one of three rings about 10 feet off the ground.
  • Here’s how the Big Ten standings looked entering Sunday: 1. Ohio State (6-2); 2. Michigan (5-3); 3. Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Northwestern (4-4); 9. Iowa (3-5); 10. Penn State (2-6).
  • Buckeyes take on the Akron Zips Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium.