Buckeye Bats Silent in Second-Straight Shutout Loss
By John Porentas
For the second-consecutive game Oregon shut out the Buckeyes, this time by 1 -0 count, to sweep the three-game weekend series in Columbus.
Starting pitcher Irwin Cole gave Oregon a 4-0 complete-game shutout of OSU in game two of yesterday's doubleheader. In the series finale three Oregon hurlers combined to toss a three-hit whitewash of Ohio State.
Starter jake Reed went seven full innings and gave up all three OSU hits. Christian Jones pitched the eighth giving up no hits but walking one, and closer Jimmie Sherfy closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Buckeyes scored just one run in the three game series, that coming in the series opener, a 3-1 Oregon win that went 11 innings. OSU has now not scored a run since the sixth inning of that game or 23-consecutive innings.
The Buckeyes managed a total of seven base runners in game three, three via hits and four by walks. Three of those runners were cut down on the base paths either caught stealing or picked off.
The total lack of offensive production wasted a fantastic performance by the OSU pitching staff. Starter Jaron Long went seven inning and scattered seven hits.
Long gave up the lone run of the game in the fourth inning when he allowed two singles after one was out. He then uncorked two wild pitches. The first advanced the runners from first and second to second and third. The second errant toss allowed the run to score. Long then struck out two to end the inning, but that's all Oregon needed to hand Long the tough-luck loss.
Reliever Ryan Rega pitched the eighth and ninth and gave up just one hit in his scoreless relief stint. The pitching was wasted however when the Buckeyes could not score a run to claim a win.
"Honestly, I think we played a really good baseball game today," said OSU Head Coach Greg Beals.
"Lets make no mistake, that pitching staff we faced is one of the best in the country, but I felt like we played a good baseball game. We had no errors, and we only gave them three 'free' bases, two of them on the wild pitches."
"(Designated hitter) Mike Carroll hit three line drives that if they were a few feet in another direction they are in a gap, but instead they were right at people and were outs."
The three-game sweep to No. 6 Oregon was disappointing, but Beals remained upbeat about his team after the game.
"We still have our mission of being the Big 10 champions," Beals said. "We're very much alive."
Ohio State hosts league-leading Indiana next weekend. At 15-6 in league play the Hoosiers are one game ahead of the 14-7 Buckeyes. Should the Buckeyes take two of three this weekend, both teams would finish at 16-9.
Also lurking in the wings are Minnesota and Nebraska. Like the Buckeyes, the Cornhuskers are currently 14-7 and will host Michigan this weekend.
The Big Ten standings are determined by winning percentage. Despite having played two less games Minnesota has the same winning percentage as both Nebraska and OSU at 12-6. The Gophers host Illinois this weekend.
The six teams just mentioned are currently the top-six teams in the conference standings and as of today would comprise the field of the Big Ten tournament.
If Ohio State should take two from Indiana and Minnesota and Nebraska also win two, the final conference standing would result in a four-way tie for first place. Under those circumstances OSU would have won the head to head meeting with both Indiana and Nebraska while having lost the head to head meeting with Minnesota.
Related Story - Stranded Runners Cost Buckeyes Against Oregon - By Andrew Lind