April 21, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After giving up three runs in the first two innings, Ohio State starting pitcher E.J. Laratta (So., Englewood, Colo.) returned to his Preseason All-American form by retiring the next 12 batters he faced to help lead the OSU baseball team (24-15 overall, 6-7 in the Big Ten) over the Indiana Hoosiers (24-19, 6-11 in the Big Ten), 13-5. Conditions at Bill Davis Stadium were miserable as 2,101 fans withstood constant drizzling rain and cold temperatures in the mid-40’s.
The Hoosiers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Benji Clause led off with a single and later scored on a wild pitch by Laratta. Indiana added two more runs in the top of the second inning. Joe Sadler scored on another wild pitch and Tim McNab scored on a groundout by Eric Blakely.
In the bottom half of the second inning, John Mayor (Jr., Chesterfield, Mo.) led off with a walk off IU starting pitcher Brad Edwards. Two batters later, Joe Wilkins (So., Grove City, Ohio) coaxed another walk to put runners at first and second base. Trent McIlvain (Jr., Louisville, Ohio) immediately followed with a base-clearing double to give OSU its first two runs of the ballgame. Two batters later, Jason Driscoll (Sr., Middlefield, Ohio) singled to rightfield to put runners at the corners. Mike Check (Jr., Bay Village, Ohio) and Chad Ehrnsberger (Jr., Kalida, Ohio) followed with back-to-back walks to score McIlvain and tie the game at three. But the OSU rally continued when Jason Turner (Sr., Versailles, Ohio) followed and belted a base-clearing triple to give the Buckeyes a 6-3 lead.
In the bottom half of the fourth inning, OSU added six runs on just one hit. With one out, Driscoll and Check reached base on back-to-back walks. Ehrnsberger then loaded the bases when he was hit by pitch from Edwards. Driscoll then gave OSU its first run of the evening on a passed ball by IU catcher Eric Farley. Mayor then loaded the bases again when he coaxed a walk off IU relief pitcher Nick Otte. The Buckeyes then added their second run of the inning when Otte hit Nick Swisher (Fr., Parkersburg, W.Va.) with a pitch. The game then was blown open by Wilkins as he took the first offering from Otte and hammered it over the rightfield wall for the first home run and grand slam of his career. The blast gave OSU a commanding 12-3 lead.
In the top of the sixth inning, Blake St. Clair hit a solo home run to cut the OSU lead to 12-4.
Each team added a run in the seventh inning. Indiana’s Sadler scored on a double by Blakeley to cut the OSU lead to 12-5. In the bottom half of the inning, Chris Alvord (Jr., Mentor, Ohio) scored on a sacrifice fly by Check to increase the OSU lead to 13-5.
With the win, Laratta improves to 5-3 on the season. He pitched his fourth complete game of the season giving up just five runs on seven hits and striking out seven. He threw 137 pitches. Edwards (5-4) was the losing pitcher. He went 3.1 innings, gave up nine runs and walked eight.
Tomorrow, the two teams will play a twi-night doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. in Bill Davis Stadium.