BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Ohio State senior pitcher Drew Rucinski was lights out on the mound and the Buckeyes were proficient in their execution behind him and at the plate in a 6-1 victory over Indiana Friday before 917 fans at Sembower Field.

Rucinski did not allow an earned run, struck out five and scattered seven hits without walking a batter to outperform IU’s talented Blake Monar and improve to 3-1 on the season and keep Ohio State in a first-place tie in the conference with a 3-1 record. Indiana is now 2-2. Game 2 is Saturday at 1 p.m.

“This win all starts with Drew Rucinski’s quality start,” Ohio State coach Greg Beals, who improved to 5-1 all-time against Indiana, said. “Drew was awfully sharp today. More importantly, he executed our game plan and his game plan. And that was pitching ahead in the count and using his off-speed pitches. When you are ahead in the count plus are using your off-speed pitches, you’re going to be tough to beat. Drew was able to do that today.”

Despite only having eight hits and committing two errors, the Buckeyes were indeed sharp both offensively against Monar as well as defensively. Consider:

  • The Buckeyes converted on all four opportunities with a man on third base. Brian DeLucia, Greg Solomon and Josh Dezse each hit sacrifice flies in the third, fourth and eighth innings, respectively, and Tyler Engle laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 4-1.
  • Ohio State was 12 of 18 in opportunities to advance a runner.
  • The team successfully stopped any chances of an IU rally in the sixth – the inning IU scored – with men on second and third and one down when Ryan Cypret snapped a hard hit Micah Johnson ball out of the air and caught Alex Dickerson off second base with a throw to Engle for an inning-ending double play.
  • And Andrew Armstrong was excellent in relief of Rucinski. The junior, who missed all of last year while recuperating from shoulder surgery, pitched 2.0 innings of one-hit, one-walk baseball, including a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

“The game seemed to have our attention today,” Beals said. “Our guys were locked in and competed together. We executed almost all of our offensive situations. We just knew if we executed and got a couple of runs that Rucinski was going to be tough to beat. Well, we executed and scored six runs.”

Ohio State took a 1-0 lead in the third the small ball way. Matt Streng singled and then Engle singled to right and Streng hustled to third. He scored on DeLucia’s sacrifice fly.  

After Streng made a diving stop at third in the third to get a force out, the lead grew to 2-0 in the fourth on Dezse’s towering, TOWERING triple to left center field followed by Solomon’s sac fly.

After IU scored an unearned run in the sixth, the Buckeyes added two more runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings. Solomon singled and doubled and scored twice in the innings with Brad Hutton and David Corna each hitting run-scoring singles – behind the runner in each case.

Pinch running for Hutton, Joey Ciamacco came around to score the second run in the seventh inning on Engle’s clutch, suicide squeeze bunt. And Tim Wetzel scored the other eighth-inning run after getting hit by a pitch, moving to second on a balk, advancing to third on a Ryan Cypret fly out to right and scoring on Dezse’s sacrifice fly.

At that point Armstrong relieved Rucinski and, after allowing a hit and a walk to the first two batters he faced, he recorded six consecutive outs to close out Ohio State’s 11th win against 12 defeats.   

Game Notes & Random Thoughts from One Busy-as-a-Beehive Press Box:

  • No. 9 – referring by jersey number to head coach Greg Beals – was 4-1 vs. Indiana as coach of the Ball State Cardinals.
  • It was a fast game today: 1:57.
  • It was the warmest weather of the year to be only three hours away from Columbus: breezy and in the 70s.
  • Brad Hutton started at DH for the second consecutive game, his first back-to-back starts as a Buckeye. He singled and drove in a run in three at-bats.
  • Six different Buckeyes had an RBI in the game.
  • K-K-K-K-K-Kuchno! That’s five K’s before John Kuchno’s last name…reflective of the number of strikeouts the freshman had against Miami Wednesday night, a career high. This note just had to get pointed out.
  • Also lost in the loss to Miami Wednesday: 15 strikeouts by the Ohio State pitchers, a team season high for coach Mike Stafford’s staff.
  • Couple of celebrity sightings at the hotel this morning. Enjoying some coffee (with cream) with Stafford (cola; no coffee for him), who is a big Detroit Pistons fan from their heyday “Bad Boy” days, when Isiah Thomas strolls through the lobby, sees the coffee and cola drinkers in Ohio State gear, and says “Good luck, today.”A nice gesture from merely one of the greatest point guards in the history of basketball and a legendary Hoosier.
  • Actually there was just one celebrity sighting. The almost-celebrity sighting was someone who came scary close to being Mikey from the motorcycle building show Orange County Choppers. That Mikey doesn’t speak Norwegian, though. Very confident this individual was speaking Norwegian.