COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State could not produce the tying score in the bottom of the 10th inning despite having runners on the corners with nobody out and as a result dropped a 5-4 decision to Big Ten Conference-leading Michigan State Friday before 758 fans at Bill Davis Stadium. Jordan Keur’s solo home run to left to lead off the 10th inning was the game-winning run for the Spartans.
Brian DeLucia, hot all night with three hits and two runs scored, led off the ninth with an infield single and scooted to third on Tim Wetzel’s third hit of the game, a sharp single to right to set the stage for a potentially dramatic comeback win for the Scarlet and Gray.
But Michigan State reliever and winner Ton Wieber (4-0), struck out Ryan Cypret swinging and then intentionally walked Josh Dezse to load the bases after a wild pitch moved Wetzel to second, a pitch that wasn’t wild enough to score DeLucia from third…unfortunately. Wieber then struck out Greg Solomon and Brad Hutton to close the books on a well-played game.
Ohio State, just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position on the day, drops to 13-15 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State is now 22-8 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play.
The Buckeyes jumped out to the early lead in the first after DeLucia singled to right to lead off the game and Wetzel followed with an RBI triple to right-center to drive in the senior co-captain. However, the Buckeyes missed out on a golden opportunity when Wetzel was stranded at third after a sharp groundout by Cypret, a strikeout by Josh Dezse and a lineout by Solomon.
After Ohio State starter Drew Rucinski cruised through the first three innings, Michigan State got to the right-hander to tie the game in the fourth. Brandon Eckerle singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a single to right by Ryan Jones. Jeff Holm drove in Eckerle with a sacrifice fly to center to even the score.
Both Rucinski and Michigan State starter Kurt Wunderlich continued to put zeroes up on the board until Wetzel struck again to give the Buckeyes the lead in the sixth. DeLucia tripled to right-center to lead off the inning and the freshman center fielder singled to right to plate DeLucia for the 2-1 Ohio State advantage.
However, Michigan State answered right back with three runs to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the seventh. Rucinski loaded the bases with one out but a pop up into shallow center by Joel Fisher dropped between Wetzel, Cypret and Tyler Engle to score the tying run. Keur then followed with a two-run single up the middle to give the Spartans the two-run lead.
The Buckeyes then threatened in the bottom half of the inning with runners on first and third and one down but Engle’s safety squeeze attempt was fielded by a charging Holm at first base who flipped the ball to catcher Joel Fisher to get David Corna at the plate. DeLucia then hit into a fielder’s choice to end the Ohio State threat and keep it a two-run game.
Ohio State knotted the score in the bottom of the eighth when Dezse drilled a one-out, two-run shot to left off Wunderlich. Wetzel, who had walked, also scored on the play. The home run was Dezse’s second as a Buckeye but his first in Bill Davis Stadium, and it set the stage for the dramatic 10th inning.