Feb. 23, 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Ohio State baseball team swept a pair of games from South Dakota State and Mount St. Mary’s Saturday afternoon in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Buckeyes topped South Dakota State, 5-2, in the first game at North Charlotte Regional Park before downing Mount St. Mary’s, 13-2, in the nightcap at Charlotte Sports Park. Ohio State has won four games in a row to improve to 4-2 on the season.

“We played well today and both of our starters gave our bats a chance to get going,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “We hit a lot of balls hard and it was good to see but the pitching really set the tempo for us.”

Game 1 vs. SDSU
After Ohio State starter Brian King struck out a pair in a perfect top of the first, the Buckeyes threatened in the bottom of the frame when Tim Wetzel doubled to right to lead off the inning and an infield single by Ryan Cypret put runners on first and second with nobody out. A double steal then moved the runners to second and third with one down but South Dakota State starter Shane Kraemer struck out Mike Carroll and Pat Porter followed with a soft liner to second to end the rally.

The Buckeyes then took the lead in the bottom of the second. Greg Solomon and Joe Ciamacco had back-to-back one-out bunt singles and, after Kraemer struck out Craig Nennig for the second out of the inning, Wetzel doubled to left off the glove of a diving Eric Danforth to give Ohio State the 1-0 advantage.

The Jackrabbits took advantage of a leadoff walk and two consecutive Buckeye errors to plate a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Melton and an RBI single to left by Tyler Shannon to give South Dakota State a 2-1 lead after the top of the fourth.

However, Ohio State answered right back with two in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-2 lead. Solomon reached on a two-base error on a ground ball to third to start the inning, moved to third on a groundout to second by Ciamacco and scored on an RBI groundout to second by Nennig. Wetzel then doubled to right, his third of the day, and scored on an RBI single to center by Cypret to give the Buckeyes the lead after four innings.

Ohio State doubled its lead in the bottom of the fifth when Porter reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Jacob Bosiokovic and scored on a two-out RBI double down the left-field line by Solomon. The Buckeyes then pushed the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth against Jackrabbit reliever Chad Hodges when Ciamacco singled up the middle to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI double to left-center by Nennig, the first career hit for the freshman.

In the meantime, King was dealing for the Buckeyes. The senior left-hander went 7.0 innings, allowed two runs, neither were earned, on four hits while striking out six before giving way to David Fathalikhani. The senior right-hander tossed a scoreless eighth before Trace Dempsey came on to earn his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Wetzel finished the game 3-for-5 with three doubles, an RBI and a run scored while Cypret, Carroll, Solomon and Ciamacco each tallied two-hit games.

Game 2 vs. Mount St. Mary’s

After a scoreless top of the first, the Buckeyes took the early 1-0 lead off Mount St. Mary’s starter Thomas Williams when Kirby Pellant tripled off the right field wall to lead off the game and Wetzel drove him in with an RBI groundout.

Ohio State added to its lead with four runs in bottom of the fourth. Aaron Gretz lined a one-out single up the middle and Porter followed with a two-run shot down the left-field line, his second home run of the season, to give the Buckeyes the 3-0 lead. Cypret singled to right and Solomon drilled a double to left to score the senior second baseman and, after a Ciamacco groundout moved Solomon to third, Troy Kuhn plated Solomon with an infield single. The hit was the first of Kuhn’s career and pushed the Buckeye lead to 5-0 after four innings.

The Buckeyes added another in the fifth when Hallberg was hit by a pitch with one down, Gretz followed with a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third and Porter scored Hallberg with a sacrifice fly to center for a 6-0 Ohio State advantage.

Ohio State tacked on two more in the bottom of the sixth when Kuhn and Pellant scored on a throwing error on a groundball by Jake Brobst to extend the lead to 8-0 after six innings.

In the meantime, Goldberg was dominant, tossing 6.1 hitless frames, striking out 10 while walking three before being lifted for Tyler Giannonatti. It marked the first 10-strikeout game for a Buckeye since Alex Wimmers punched out 10 against Penn State in April 2010.

“Pulling a pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter is one of the hardest decisions as a coach but we got to his pitch count and I didn’t want to go any further,” Beals said. “In May, I’ll let him keep going but it’s too early in the year to push it now. Brad did an excellent job of really setting the tone for us tonight.”

Giannonatti then came on to get the final two outs of the seventh before the Buckeyes tacked on three more in the bottom of the inning to push the advantage to 11-0.

After Ohio State added two more in the bottom of the eighth, Luke McGee came on to close it out in the ninth. With two down and a runner on first, Mark Quaranta doubled down the left-field line to break up the combined no-hitter. Sam Nott then lined a two-run single up the middle but that’s as close as The Mount would come as Ohio State picked up the 13-2 victory.

“We had to worry about the first game, it set the tone for the day, but we knew we had to win two,” Goldberg said. “The competitor in me wanted to stay in but we made the smart decision and most importantly came away with the victory.”

Solomon finished the night 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored while Kuhn went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored.

Ohio State will look for the weekend sweep in a 1 p.m. Sunday matchup against Mount St. Mary’s.