WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Ohio State dropped a 12-1 decision to Illinois State Friday afternoon in Winter Haven, Fla. The Buckeyes drop to 5-4 on the season while the Redbirds improve to 9-4.
After Ohio State starter Drew Rucinski struck out Zach Amrein to lead off the second, the senior gave up a single followed by a pair of walks to load the bases. The Buckeyes almost got out of the inning on a potential double play ball but Ryan Cypret was unable to handle the throw to second from Matt Streng and Ryan Court scored the first run of the game for the Redbirds. A fielder’s choice followed to score another and Kevin Tokarski plated the third run of the inning with an RBI single before Rucinski induced a fly out to end the inning.
After Rucinski departed after two innings because of an injury, the Redbirds added two more in the third with the help of another Buckeye error and four walks before making it 6-0 in the fourth when Amrein tripled off the top of the wall in right field off Ohio State reliever Paul Geuy, plating Matt Mirabal, who reached on a two-out walk.
In the meantime, Illinois State starter Corey Maines was giving the Buckeyes trouble at the plate, allowing just two hits and two walks over the first six frames.
The Redbirds tacked on three more in the sixth with the help of a single, two walks and two hit batters to increase the lead to 9-0.
Ohio State looked to break through in the seventh when Brad Hallberg led off the inning with a single and Cypret doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third with nobody out. After pinch-hitter Brad Hutton popped out to short, Maines was replaced by Justin Hauer, who hit Steel Russell to load the bases with one down. However, the Illinois State reliever struck out David Corna looking before Derek Hannahs popped out to shallow right to end the threat.
The Redbirds added three more in the bottom of the frame to push the lead to 12-0 before the Buckeyes got on the board in the top of the eighth. Josh Dezse doubled to lead off the inning and, after a two-out single by Hallberg put runners on first and third, Cypret singled to left to put the Scarlet and Gray on the board and cap the scoring at 12-1.
Hallberg and Cypret each went 2-for-4 for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes will be back in action with an early wake-up for a 9 a.m. first pitch Saturday against Yale at Chain of Lakes Park.
– Blake Hutton knocked a pinch-hit single in the ninth in his first career at-bat.
– Ryan Cypret extended his career best hitting streak to eight games.
– Brian DeLucia walked three times against Illinois State, matching his total through the first eight games.
– The Sunday game between Ohio State and Army has been moved to an 11 a.m. start in Auburndale, Fla. The address is 905 Lake Myrtle Park Rd. for Buckeye fans looking to attend the game.