April 23, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Easter Sunday turned into an afternoon full of treats for the Ohio State baseball team (26-16, 8-8 in the Big Ten) as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers (25-21 overall, 7-13 in the Big Ten), 9-3. With the win, OSU wins the four game series, 3-1. The Buckeye defense recorded six double plays to set a new stadium record and tie the NCAA mark for the second most in a single ballgame. Starting pitcher Brandon Steen (So., Hendersonville, Tenn.) had a solid outing to earn his fifth win of the year to help lead OSU to the win in front of 1,175 at Bill Davis Stadium.
“This was an important win and series for us,” head coach Bob Todd said. “Entering this weekend we were neck-and-neck in the Big Ten standings and we knew coming in that we had to win the series. Our defense has been solid all season and made some plays for us today.”
Steen (5-3) threw 106 pitches and went 7.1 innings. He gave up eight hits, three runs, two earned runs and recorded two strikeouts.
“Our pitching coach Pat (Bangston) called the perfect pitches that resulted into the double plays,” Steen said. “It’s nice to have a defense that can bail you out when you get in a little bit of trouble.”
The Hoosiers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Benji Clause reached base on a single and scored two batters later on a throwing error by OSU second baseman Chad Ehrnsberger (Jr., Kalida, Ohio).
The Buckeyes responded quickly in the bottom half of the first inning. With one out, Mike Check (Jr., Bay Village, Ohio) walked, proceeded to steel second base and then moved to third base a batter later when Ehrnsberger reached base on a throwing error by IU shortstop Eric Blakeley. With runners now at first and third, OSU successfully maneuvered the hit-and-run when Jason Turner (Sr., Versailles, Ohio) lined a single to right field to score Check and move Ehrnsberger to third base. John Mayor (Jr., Chesterfield, Mo.) then reached base on a bunt single to score Ehrnsberger and a throwing error on the play by IU starting pitcher Fred Graf allowed both runners to advance an extra base. Nick Swisher (Fr., Parkersburg, W.Va.) then added the final run of the inning when he scored Turner on a sacrifice fly to give OSU a 3-1 lead. The Buckeyes added to their lead in the bottom of the third inning. Ehrnsberger led off with a single then Tuner immediately followed with a double. Two batters later, Swisher lined a single to right field to score Ehrnsberger. Swisher then stole second base but an errant throw by IU catcher Eric Farley allowed Turner to score and increase the OSU lead to 5-1.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, OSU increased its lead to 6-1. Swisher and Joe Wilkins (So., Grove City, Ohio) led off with back-to-back walks off relief pitcher Tom Willerer. A sacrifice bunt by Trent McIlvain (Jr., Louisville, Ohio) moved the runners into scoring position and a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Chris Alvord (Jr., Mentor, Ohio) allowed Swisher to score and give OSU a five -run edge.
The Hoosiers added a run in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Blakeley doubled to centerfield to score Dan Haegele and cut the OSU lead to 6-2.
In the bottom half of the seventh inning, OSU added to its lead. With one out, Ehrnsberger walked and Turner immediately followed with a single. A walk by Swisher loaded the bases for Wilkins. With two outs, the OSU designated hitter then blooped a single to centerfield to clear the bases and give the Buckeyes a commanding 9-2 lead.
IU added its final run of the game in the top of the eighth inning on a RBI double by Spanos to cut the OSU lead 9-3.
Graf (5-6) was the losing pitcher. He went three innings, gave up six hits, five runs, two earned runs and recorded three strikeouts.
On Wednesday, Ohio State will play host to Ohio Wesleyan at 6:35 p.m. in Bill Davis Stadium.