Buckeye Pitching Overcomes Warts to Throttle Penn State
By John Porentas
Regular Buckeye Friday starter Jared Long's last couple of outings had had some warts on them.
Long, OSU's staff ace, had been ineffective in OSU last two series against Illinois and Nebraska. Against the Illini he gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs in just under six inning of work. That led to a 9-2 OSU loss. Against the Cornhuskers Long went just 4 1/3 innings, giving up nine runs and 13 hits in an 11-2 OSU loss.
Photo by Jim Davidson
When the series against Penn State started tonight, Long was not on the mound. Brett Goldberg, who usually pitches third in the OSU starting rotation, was instead, and the big righty from Beechwood, Ohio, responded with a six-hit, one run performance over six and third innings to pace the Buckeyes to a 3-1 series opening win over the Illini.
Despite the situation, don't look for Long to be out of the picture as the Friday starter very long, because the warts on his recent performances has had more to do with a wart on his pitching hand than anything else.
"He's had a wart on the ring finger of his throwing hand, and that has really affected his ability to throw his change-up," said OSU Head Coach Greg Beals.
"That's the pitch that makes him special, and not only could he not throw it as well, he couldn't throw it as often. It really affected his ability to pitch."
The decision was made to have the wart surgically removed, which was done this week. Long was not far along enough in the healing process to be available on Friday, so Goldberg got the call.
OSU staked Goldberg to a one-run lead without the aid of hit in the first inning. From that point on Goldberg pitched like a guy in charge. His control was not his best, especially early on, but he had enough stuff to keep the Nittany Lions at bay.
An insurance run in third inning put OSU up by two, but the Lions finally got to Goldberg in the sixth. Two singles and a wild pitch put runners at second and third. An RBI single made it 2-1 and ended Goldberg's day. David Fathalikhani came on in relief with two aboard and one out. He got out of the inning with a clutch strike out and a ground out to first.
From that point on, the OSU bull pen took over. Brett McKinney pitched the eighth giving up one hit. Closer Trace Dempsey slammed the door in the ninth, also giving up one hit. Buckeye second baseman Ryan Cypret smacked a solo homer in the eighth to make the final score 3-1.
Because of expected bad weather on Sunday the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 3:05. Left hander Brian King is expected to pitch for the Buckeyes in the first game of the double header. Long is expected to take the mound in the second game.
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