March 15, 2017
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Ohio State baseball concluded its six-day spring break trip with a 5-2 win over Bucknell Wednesday afternoon at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Connor Curlis struck out a career-high eight batters in his first start, while the Buckeye bats scored two runs in the fifth, one run in the sixth and a pair of runs in the seventh. With their third straight victory, the Scarlet and Gray improve to 8-8 overall, while the Bison drop to 6-8 in 2017.
“We got exactly what we needed from Connor today,” head coach Greg Beals said. “It’s good to see him get a start and take advantage of it. He got his opportunity today and was really good. On the fifth game of a road trip, to be able to go five-plus for us was really critical. It allowed our bullpen to be scripted and finish the ball game. I’m really happy with Connor’s start. We’ve been on the road four weeks now, and we are not where we want to be, but we are on a three-game win streak and we look forward to being back home and continue our winning ways.”
CURLIS STRONG IN FIRST START
In his first career start, sophomore left-hander Connor Curlis was solid right from the opening pitch. A native of Findlay, Ohio, he tallied five straight scoreless innings for the Scarlet and Gray, limiting the Bison to four hits with a career-high seven strikeouts and one walk. In the top of the third, the Bison loaded the bases after two infield singles and a walk, but Curlis stayed composed on the mound and got a flyout to end the threat. He struck out the side in the fourth inning and left a runner on second base after a one-out double to end the fifth. In the sixth, he fanned his eighth and final batter of the game before being relieved by right-hander Kyle Michalik.
“It was exciting and I was just trying to fill up the strike zone,” Curlis said. “I had my curveball working and got my changeup going later in the game. I wanted to keep them off balanced and let my defense play behind me. I just wanted to give as many innings as I could and give it over to our bullpen. We did our job and got the win today.”
Bison left-handed starter Grabek kept the Buckeyes off the board through 4.2 innings before Ohio State strung three hits together in the bottom of the fifth to plate a pair of runs. Grabek allowed five runs, three earned on eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk in six innings of work to drop to 1-2 on the year.
BUCKEYE SCORING PLAYS
Senior captain Jalen Washington knocked a clutch, two-out, two-run double down the right field line off Grabek to put the Buckeyes ahead, 2-0, in the bottom of the fifth. Jacob Barnwell and Tre’ Gantt started the momentum with back-to-back infield singles. Brady Cherry scored the third run in the bottom of the sixth when a dropped fly ball in right field plated the OSU third baseman from first base. In the seventh, a RBI single by Gantt pushed Shea Murray around before Gantt scored on a wild pitch for the fifth run.
MICHALIK’S STREAK ENDS
The Bison plated two runs in the seventh against the OSU bullpen. A RBI single by Baumann off Michalik made it a 3-1 contest before a RBI single to second by Rafferty trimmed the lead to one run. The first run by Bucknell when in the books as earned and it snapped a 22.1 innings pitched earned run scoreless streak by Michalik, which dated back to April of 2016. Michalik tossed 1.1 innings on two runs, one earned and gave up two hits.
KINKER AND PAVLOPOULOS CLOSE THE DOOR
Right-handed reliever Seth Kinker threw 1.1 innings of relief work and gave up two hits with two strikeouts. Right-handed reliever Yianni Pavlopoulos picked up his second save of the season with one strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
HOME OPENER UP NEXT
The Buckeyes open the 2017 home schedule at 5:05 p.m. ET Friday against Xavier at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. For tickets, click here.