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
“It was a fastball away,” Dezse
“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.
- 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
- 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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