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Last updated: 04/03/2011 9:30 PM

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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 2-1.

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 done.

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 Streng.

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 innings.

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 win.

“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 take it.”

Box Score
Season Stats

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