COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State took a half-game lead in the Big Ten Conference race by defeating Penn State, 3-1, Friday at Bill Davis Stadium behind a record-tying pitching performance by All-American ace Alex Wimmers. The Buckeyes are now 7-3 in the Big Ten and 22-11 overall. Penn State is 2-8 and 15-22. Michigan, which is hosting Iowa this weekend, dropped both games of its Friday doubleheader and is in second-place with a 6-5 mark.
Wimmers, the terrific junior from Cincinnati’s Archbishop Moeller High School, improved his record to 9-0 this season with a complete-game four-hitter that included 11 strikeouts. With the win, he ties the school record for the best start to a season that has been done only twice in 127 years of baseball at Ohio State. Doug Swearingen started 9-0 for Ohio State in 1982 and Scott Lewis opened 9-0 in 2003.
Wimmers, who is 18-2 the past two seasons, gave up two of the hits in the third inning – a double and a single – and they staked the Nittany Lions to a 1-0 lead. He also gave up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth. Wimmers did walk a season-high five batters, but his 10 strikeouts and scarce number of hits rendered that stat moot. The 10 Ks represented the 10th time in his career that he has struck out 10-or-more.
The Buckeyes came back to tie the score at 1-all with a run in the third. Zach Hurley led off with a double and he scored on Michael Stephens’ two-out single.
Ohio State took the lead in the fourth on a Cory Rupert single and Matt Streng’s RBI double.
Streng, a junior from Columbus and Upper Arlington High School, gave the Buckeyes some breathing room with a two-out home run to left field to increase a slim, 2-1, Ohio State lead in the sixth inning. It was the switch-hitting Streng’s first home run of the season after hitting eight in his breakout 2009 season.
Penn State received a nice pitching effort from Steven Hill, who lasted 7.0 innings and gave up just three runs on eight hits. Hill walked three and struck out five. His record drops to 2-4.
A Few More Game Notes and Good Stuff…