COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State claimed a dramatic 15-14 victory over Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium to win the three-game series, two-games-to-one. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 10-11 and 2-1 in the Big Ten while Northwestern drops to 8-15, 1-2 in conference play.
After a 14-7 Buckeye lead after six turned into a 14-14 game heading to the bottom of the ninth, Brian DeLucia walked to lead off the inning and came around to score the game-winner when a Northwestern reliever overthrew first on Tim Wetzel‘s sacrifice bunt attempt and the ball sailed down the right field line.
Northwestern jumped out to the early 2-0 lead in the first. Trevor Stevens singled to lead off the inning and, after a pop out by Kyle Ruchim, Chris Lashmet doubled in the right-center gap to plate Stevens for the first run of the game. Snieder then singled to left to drive in Lashmet and make it a 2-0 game.
However, the Buckeyes answered right back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. DeLucia and Wetzeleach singled to lead off the inning and Ryan Cypret drove in DeLucia with an RBI groundout. After Josh Dezse struck out, Greg Solomon blooped a two-out double into center to score Wetzel and tie the game.
Ohio State then took the lead with four runs on five hits in the second. David Corna and Matt Streng each singled to start the inning then Tyler Engle doubled down the left field line to bring home Corna and knock Northwestern starter Francis Brooke out of the game. After DeLucia lined out, Wetzel plated Streng on a sacrifice bunt to push the lead to 4-2 Ohio State. After a walk of Cypret to put runners at first and third with two down, Dezse and Solomon followed with RBI singles to drive in Engle and Cypret and extend the lead to 6-2.
Northwestern then used three-consecutive singles, an error by Engle and an RBI double by Snieder to score three unearned runs in the fourth and cut the Ohio State lead to 6-5.
After Ohio State added another on an RBI single by Cypret in the fourth, the Wildcats threatened again in the top of the fifth, putting runners on second and third with one out after a walk by Jack Livingston and a double by Colby Everett. However, Buckeye starter Greg Greve was able strike out Patrick Miller looking before Jared Strayer came on to replace the freshman. The senior faced Stevens, 3-for-3 at the time, and was able to get the Northwestern leadoff hitter to fly out to DeLucia in right to end the threat.
The Buckeyes tacked on two more in the fifth when Streng hooked a two-run home run inside the left field foul pole to bring home Corna and push the lead to 9-5 but the Wildcats got the runs right back in the sixth with a two-run home run to right by Snieder off Ohio State reliever Andrew Armstrong.
The Buckeyes used singles by Cypret, Streng and DeLucia, a pair of Northwestern errors and a wild pitch to score five in the sixth before the Wildcats added three more of their own to make it a 14-10 game.
Things would stay quiet until the top of the ninth when Northwestern used three singles, a walk and a two-out, three-run home run to left-center off the bat of Jack Havey to tie the score at 14 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
The teams combined for 37 hits on the day, including nine extra base hits. Streng had four hits, including a two-run home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Five other Buckeyes – DeLucia, Wetzel, Cypret, Solomon and Engle had two hits and five Buckeyes – DeLucia, Wetzel, Cypret, David Corna, and Engle – joined Streng with multiple runs scored. Dezse, the last of Ohio State’s six pitchers, picked up the victory to improve to 3-1 on the year.
The Buckeyes take on the Columbus Clippers in an exhibition at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Huntington Park before hosting Miami (OH) at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.
– The home run for Streng was his first of the season. His last came April 23 of last season against Penn State.
– Streng and Engle were both able to snap out of slumps Sunday against Northwestern. Streng had his first multi-hit game since March 22 at Fresno State and Engle had his first since March 13 against Army.
– Cypret recorded his eighth multi-hit game of the year to tie him with Dezse for the team lead.
– Every Ohio State starter reached base safely Sunday against the Wildcats.
– With the win, Ohio State is one of five teams in the Big Ten with a 2-1 record in conference play.
– The 29 total runs scored were the most in a game since a 20-9 Ohio State win over Richmond, Feb. 21 of last season.