Buckeyes Win Wild One Over Wildcats 15-14 to Secure Three-Game Series 2-1
By Tony Gerdeman
An aggressive offensive attack and bats
to match fueled the Buckeyes (10-11, 2-1) in a crazy 15-14 win over
Northwestern (8-15, 1-2). Matt Streng went 4-5 with three runs
scored and three RBIs to pace Ohio State and secure the series win
Twelve pitchers from both teams
combined to give up 37 hits and 29 runs -only 21 earned - and
the defenses did them no favors by committing six errors on a
terribly windy day.
“The game obviously didn't go
smoothly,” said Buckeye coach Greg Beals.
“It was a tough day to pitch, it was
a tough day to play defense with the wind. The field played very
fast and hard. It was tough for the pitching and the infielders with
all of the wind.”
The Wildcats didn't hesitate to get the
scoring started. Trevor Stevens led the game off with a bunt single
and was then brought home on a Chris Lashmet double. Lashmet, then
scored on a Paul Snieder single to left field. Buckeye starter Greg
Greve gave up another single in the inning, but no other damage was
Ohio State wasted no time in responding
in the bottom half of the inning. Brian DeLucia and Tim Wetzel hit
back-to-back singles, and a Ryan Cypret ground out brought DeLucia
home for the run. A double from Buckeye catcher Greg Solomon would
then bring Wetzel across the plate to complete the Buckeyes' scoring
for the inning.
Ohio State continued their offensive
attack in the second inning as David Corna and Matt Streng opened the
inning with back-to-back singles before a Tyler Engle double brought
Corna home. A sacrifice bunt from Tim Wetzel would then score
Back-to-back two-out singles from Josh
Dezse and Solomon continued the scoring in the inning as they brought
in Engle and Cypret, respectively.
Beals was aggressive on the base paths,
twice calling for the hit and run in the first two innings.
“Trying to spark our guys,” said
Beals, explaining his aggression.
“Yesterday we struggled a little bit
on offense, so when your offense is struggling, as a coach you want
to take some of the heat and create some situations. If it doesn't
go well, then it's on me more than it's on the players. So I wanted
to create some situations there offensively where the pressure is
more on the coach making the call on the play, and the players can
just go out and execute.”
Northwestern finally made some more
noise in the fourth inning as they opened the inning with
back-to-back singles from Colby Everett and Patrick Miller. Everett,
who was on second base, was picked off by Solomon, who threw behind
him and caught him napping after a pitch.
Kyle Ruchim then hit a routine
double-play ball to shortstop Tyler Engle, who misplayed it, allowing
Miller to score. By the time the inning was over, the Wildcats would
score three unearned runs following the error.
Greve struck out two in the fifth
before giving way to reliever Jared Strayer, who came on with men on
second and third, but got Stevens to fly out to end the inning.
Wetzel opened the bottom half of the
fourth with a single and then stole a base. He came home on a Cypret
single to make the score 7-5. Streng added a two-run homerun over
the left field wall in the fifth inning.
“I thought it was gonna go foul
actually,” Streng admitted.
“I started running down the line and
just told myself, 'Don't even look at it, don't look at it.' And
when I hit first base I looked over and saw the umpire put his hand
up in the air for a homerun.”
Andrew Armstrong relieved Strayer in
the sixth to bring about a lefty-lefty matchup with Snieder, and
promptly gave up a two-run homerun to the Northwestern first baseman
on his second pitch.
As was the case throughout the day, the
Buckeyes quickly answered Northwestern's scoring with more of their
own. Cypret led off the inning with a single and then moved over to
second with a Dezse walk. Solomon's sacrifice bunt moved them over
to second and third. Cypret scored on a Corna flyout, and Streng
drove Dezse home with a single to right field.
The Buckeyes loaded the bases later in
the inning, chasing Jack Livingston in favor of Jack Havey. Havey promptly threw a wild pitch that amazingly, yet entirely
fittingly, scored both Streng and Hallberg. A DeLucia single scored
Engle to cap the scoring for the inning, making it 14-7 after six
Northwestern responded with three runs
in the seventh off of Brett McKinney. He was replaced by David
Fathalikhani in the eighth, and while he did record three strikeouts
in a scoreless inning, he also gave up a hit, threw a wild pitch and
hit a batter. The Wildcats stranded two runners in the inning.
Ohio State quietly went down 1-2-3 as
everybody was seemingly anticipating an easy ninth inning before
finally calling it a day. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, nobody
told the Wildcats about the plan.
Dezse came in to close things out for
Ohio State and got Trevor Stevens to ground out to lead off the
inning. The next two batters singled, one of whom was then thrown
out trying to steal third. This left the Wildcats with one man on
and two men out. A wild pitch, a walk and a single brought in a run
for Northwestern, making it 14-11.
The next batter was Jack Havey, who
threw the two-run wild pitch two innings earlier. He took the first
pitch he saw and sent it over the left field wall tying the game at
14-14. Dezse was able to get the next batter swinging.
Having just watched a four-run deficit
disappear, all with two outs on the board, could have torn the hearts out of the
Buckeyes, but as was the case the entire day, they found a way to
respond. DeLucia started the inning with a walk, setting the table
for Wetzel, who was on deck.
Wetzel laid down a sacrifice bunt that
was picked up by Snieder and thrown past the first baseman and into
right field. While this is all going on, DeLucia is of course rounding the
bases until he finally crosses home plate, giving the Buckeyes the
“I saw Tim kick the ball, and I
thought the right fielder had the ball right in front of him, and
when Coach Beals was sending me, I just ran as fast as I could and I
was lucky to get there I guess,” DeLucia said.
“It feels amazing. Every game is
important and it was definitely nice to win this one. We knew
yesterday wasn't our best game, but there's nothing you can do except
bounce back. And that's
what we knew we had to do.”
Dezse earned the win with 1 IP to move his record to 3-1. He gave up four hits and four earned runs.
“This is my 18th season
coaching college baseball, there's been some crazy games, but that
one's up there pretty high,” chuckled Beals.
“You're in a 14-14 tie and you end up
with a walk and a bunt, and you win the game on the bunt. Timmy
Wetzel lays down a great bunt, which put pressure on them. They flip
it up there, the ball hits off him and shoots out past the right
fielder. That's a crazy way to win a ball game, but we'll certainly
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