April 8, 2012

Box Score

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team swept Minnesota for the first time since 2001 with a 4-1 victory Sunday at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. With the win, the Buckeyes move to 18-12 on the year, 5-4 in the Big Ten, while Minnesota falls to 17-16, 3-3 in conference play.

“Our guys played really well, really hard and how we have been striving for them to play all year,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said of the weekend. “You are starting to see the identity of this ball club. We aren’t flashy but we pitch, play defense and scratch and claw offensively.”

The first opportunity for either team was when the Buckeyes loaded the bases with two down for Aaron Gretz on a pair of singles and a walk in the bottom of the fourth. However, Minnesota starter Austin Lubinsky was able to strike out Gretz to end the Ohio State threat and keep the game scoreless.

In the meantime, Ohio State starter John Kuchno held the Golden Gophers hitless until a one-out single by Bobby Juan in the top of the fifth.

The Buckeyes then took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a pair of singles and a walk. Brad Hallberg walked to lead off the inning, Josh Dezse followed with a single to right, Patrick Porter advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt and David Corna drove Hallberg home with an RBI groundout to third on a great play by Minnesota third baseman Dan Olinger. Mike Carroll then followed with and RBI single up the middle to plate Dezse from second for the 2-0 Ohio State lead.

The Golden Gophers responded to cut the lead in half with a run in the top of the seventh. Andrew Armstrong to relieve Kuchno to start the inning and allowed a hit and a walk but also struck out a pair of batters before giving way to David Fathalikhani with runners on first and second and two down. Ryan Handel then singled to drive home Olinger to make it 2-1 Ohio State. David Bettenburg followed with a single through the left side but Porter came up throwing and got Matt Puhl at the plate to end the threat.

Ohio State then answered right back with two in the bottom of the inning. Tim Wetzel drilled a solo home run to right and Porter doubled home Ryan Cypret, who had doubled to right-center with one down, to make it 4-1 Buckeyes.

“That throw (by Porter) was the play of the game,” Beals said. “It completely changed the momentum and put it back in our court to come out with two runs the next inning.”

Fathalikhani worked a scoreless eighth before Greg Greve came on to pitch a scoreless ninth, striking out a pair, to earn his first career save.

Kuchno tossed six scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out six to move to 5-1 on the season. Cypret, Hallberg and Porter each had two hits apiece for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes host Ohio Tuesday and Akron Wednesday before taking on Nebraska next weekend at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.

– The Buckeyes are now 14-0 when leading after seven innings.
– Dezse has reached base safely in 29 of 30 contests this season.
– Porter threw out a runner at the plate for the second consecutive game.
– Porter extended his hitting streak to five games.
– Ohio State head coach Greg Beals is now 6-2 against Minnesota in his two seasons at the helm of the Buckeyes.
– Taking out the game at Louisville, Kuchno has allowed seven earned runs in 32.2 innings pitched for a 1.93 ERA.
– The win for Ohio State clinched the Buckeyes first series sweep vs. the Gophers since 2001.
– The game marked the 10th time this season Ohio State has recorded 10 or more hits.