Buckeyes Sweep Wolverines

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Last updated: 05/02/2011 1:03 AM
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Baseball
Buckeyes Sweep Double-Header and Series From Wolverines
By Tony Gerdeman

The Buckeyes (19-18, 9-6) hosted hated rival Michigan (13-28, 6-9) in a twin bill on Saturday and came away with two extra-inning wins and a sweep of the series. It's the first sweep of Michigan ever in Bill Davis Stadium, and the first sweep of the Wolverines in 15 years for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State overcame six errors in the first game thanks to solid pitching and consistent hitting. Brett McKinney got the start and went 5.0 innings and gave up the only three earned runs on the afternoon in the Buckeyes' 7-6 win.

In the second game, Michigan's defense committed three errors and their pitchers walked eight Buckeyes. The combination of fundamental unsoundness was their undoing, and it allowed Ohio State to find a way to win 4-3.

Game One

The Wolverines got things going early on as Patrick Biondi led off game one with a double then advanced to third on a fielding error by right fielder David Corna. Kevin Krantz brought Biondi home with a ground out to make it 1-0.

The Buckeyes couldn't muster any offense until the fourth inning when Ryan Cypret led off with a double. Josh Dezse followed by getting hit by a Brandon Sinnery pitch. Matt Streng bunted them both over and Cypret came home on a Corna fly ball. Greg Solomon then made it 2-1 with a single, sending Dezse home to score.

Michigan answered right back in the fifth as back-to-back two-out singles by Michael O'Neill and Coley Crank brought home two runs, giving the Wolverines a 3-2 lead.

Both offenses would then succumb to solid pitching until the Buckeyes tied it up with a run in the eighth inning with a two-out single by Corna.

Just like they did in the fifth inning, however, the Wolverines countered the Buckeyes and took the lead right back in the. They scored three runs in the ninth inning, capped by a two-run homerun from Crank.

Ohio State, trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth, started the inning with singles from Tyler Engle and Brian DeLucia. Both runners moved up a base after an Alex Lakatos wild pitch. Tim Wetzel singled Engle home and a Dezse double brought DeLucia and Wetzel home to tie the game at 6-6.

After relatively quiet tenth innings for both teams, Dezse came in to pitch the eleventh and struck the side out just like he did to end the game the night before.

DeLucia led off the eleventh inning with a single up the middle and was bunted over to second by Wetzel. Dezse walked following a Cypret ground out. Both he and DeLucia moved up a base following a wild pitch.

Streng came to the plate with runners on second and third and hit a ground ball deep in the hole to shortstop. He beat the throw to first to win the game.

“I got ahead 2-0, and that's a good pitch to get something to hit,” Streng explained.

“And I didn't really swing at that good of a pitch and didn't even get that good of a swing on it. I hit it up the middle and just put it in the right spot and I was able to beat it out to first. It was pretty exciting.”

Dezse, who went 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, picked up the win with his perfect inning of relief, moving his record to 4-1 this season.

Game one box score

Game Two

If the first two games of this series were the fireworks, then game three was the slow burn.

The Wolverines did get to Buckeye starter Greg Greve in the first inning when Biondi once again led off the game with a base hit. He then stole second and advanced to third on a ground out. He came home on a single by Crank.

From that point on, however, Michigan wouldn't really get to Greve again.

The Buckeyes quickly countered the Wolverine run with two of their own in the second inning. Brad Hallberg singled to lead off the inning, and Corna doubled to put men on second and third. Both came home on a Tyler Engle single, giving the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead.

But like the Wolverine bats, the Ohio State bats went dormant for a while as well. Michigan starter Kevin Vangheluwe pitched five solid innings, giving up just five hits and two earned runs.

With the Wolverine bullpen now in the game, the Buckeyes put a run on the board in the seventh when Corna took a walk with the bases loaded. Unfortunately for Ohio State, they could only bring one run home in the inning.

Andrew Armstrong replaced Greve to start the top of the eighth. Greve pitched 7.0 innings, giving up just five hits and one run, and he struck out seven. The innings and strikeouts were both career highs.

The top of the Michigan lineup came to the plate in the eighth, and Biondi struck out to lead it off. Armstrong walked Kevin Krantz and was pulled for David Fathalikhani who walked the first batter he saw.

After a Crank strikeout, Lakatos singled to left field, scoring Krantz. They would then add a second run when Dezse made a bad throw on a rundown, which allowed O'Neill to score and tie the ball game at 3-3.

Michigan went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning, as did the Buckeyes. The Wolverines also went quietly in the tenth inning, keeping the Ohio State hopes strong.

Corna led off the inning by grounding out, but Greg Solomon lined a double into the gap in left center field. Tyler Engle came up and hit a grounder to shortstop Derek Dennis, who tried to get Solomon out at third, but his throw was wild and bounced towards the Ohio State dugout. Solomon quickly got out of his slide and raced home for the win, surviving his mobbing teammates immediately afterward.

“Our guys responded,” said Buckeye coach Greg Beals.

“They kept scrapping. That last game wasn't pretty. We left a lot of guys on base, but we kept scrapping. You saw the jubilation. It kind of burst out there in the end. It's great that we sweep Michigan, but it also puts us in a very good situation in the Big Ten conference now.”

“It's a tough feeling to describe, you're just so excited,” said Streng on the joys of a walk-off win.

“You run over and look at your coach, and he comes over and gives you a big hug, and you see the whole team running at you. And to do that twice in a day is pretty cool, because that doesn't happen twice in a season usually. And to do it against the biggest rival is just an amazing feeling.”

Ohio State came into this series with a 6-6 Big Ten record and leaves it with a 9-6 record and an eye towards first place, depending on what happens Sunday in conference play.

Up next for the Buckeyes are a pair of games on Tuesday and Wednesday against North Florida. Both games start at 6:35 pm.

Game Two Box Score

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