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Last updated: 05/02/2011 1:02 AM
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Dezse Powers Buckeyes Past Wolverines 7-2
By Tony Gerdeman

Josh Dezse went 2-3 with four RBIs and also closed out the ninth inning by striking out the side on twelve pitches in Ohio State's (17-18, 7-6) 7-2 win over Michigan (13-26, 6-7) on Friday night.

Starting pitcher Drew Rucinski got the win for the Buckeyes, pitching 6.2 innings while giving up just six hits and one earned run. The win moves him to 5-1 on the season.

The evening, which had postgame fireworks already planned, didn't have to wait long to get the fireworks of a baseball variety started.

The Wolverines got things going in the first inning when Patrick Biondi led the game off with a single and advanced to third on an error by second baseman Ryan Cypret after he rushed a double play attempt.

A wild pitch from Rucinski brought Biondi home to score, but Rucinski did manage to strike out the next three Michigan batters he faced.

The Buckeyes didn't waste any time in answering Michigan's offensive salvo. After a Brian DeLucia ground out to start the inning, Tim Wetzel singled to left and Cypret walked, bringing Dezse to the plate.

Dezse then took a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall for a three-run homerun, making it 3-1 for the Buckeyes.

“It was a fastball away,” Dezse explained.

“I had to go get it. I didn't really plan on hitting it out as much as I was just trying to foul it off. I mean, I'll take a homerun rather than a foul ball, so...”

With two outs in the third inning, Cypret singled to left field and Dezse followed that up with an infield single. Matt Streng singled to left field as well, scoring Cypret in the process. Michigan's starting pitcher Bobby Brosnahan was chased from the game after hitting Brad Hallberg.

Rucinski struck out two in the fourth and managed to face the minimum in the fifth despite two errors. Both errors were negated, however. The first was followed up by a double play, and the second was erased when catcher Greg Solomon recovered an errant throw to first and gunned down Kevin Krantz, who was trying to advance to second.

The Buckeyes tacked on another in the fifth when a sacrifice fly from Dezse scored Cypret. Cypret finished the game 2-2 with two walks and three runs scored.

The Wolverines finally broke through again in the seventh. Alex Lakatos singled to center field, advanced to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on an error by catcher Greg Solomon.

Anthony Toth then brought Lakatos in with a sacrifice fly, making it 5-2. Andrew Armstrong replaced Rucinski with two outs in the seventh inning and forced Biondi into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Tyler Engle led off the seventh with a single to center field and then was brought home on a Brian DeLucia triple which was hammered to the base of the center field wall. The Buckeyes could manage no more damage in the inning, however, as Tim Wetzel lined into a double play.

Jared Strayer came in to pitch the eighth and forced three consecutive ground outs to Engle at shortstop. Ohio State scored another run in the eighth when Hallberg scored on a Corna triple, making it 7-2.

Dezse then came in for the ninth and closed the Wolverines out by striking out the side. The bullpen pitched a perfect 2.1 innings for the Buckeyes.

“My adrenaline was pumping,” said Dezse. “You can't not have it pumping when you're playing Michigan and you're coming into close.”

“That's the best he's been,” coach Greg Beals said of his freshman phenom.

“He was strike one, and he was a strike with his breaking ball. And if he's going to go mid-90s with a breaking ball for a strike, he's going to cause a lot of trouble for hitters. Coach Newman said he might hit a 100 tonight when he came in out of the bullpen.”

“Our guys were ready to play today, and you could sense that as soon as they showed up to the ballpark. It's Michigan, there's not a whole lot else that needs to be said. Our guys handled it. They were excited to play. It's Michigan. I thought our guys went out and played a great game today.”

Up next for Ohio State, who is a game out of first place, is a double header against Michigan on Saturday, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:00 pm.

Box Score

Postgame Notes

- Ohio State men's basketball national Freshman of the Year threw out the first pitch before Friday's game.

- Dezse posted his team-high ninth multiple RBI game.

- Cypret and Dezse each recorded their 13th multi-hit game of the season to tie for the team lead.

- Every Buckeye starter reached base Friday night.

- Ohio State improved to 4-1 in the opening game of a Big Ten series this season.

- Rucinski lowered his Big Ten-leading ERA to 2.11.

- The two highest strikeout games of Rucinski's career have now both come against the Wolverines. He struck out a career-high nine in a complete game win May 1, 2010 in Ann Arbor. He moves to 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched in his career against the Wolverines.

- Rucinski has given up two earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season and one earned or fewer in six of those contests.

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