Feb. 19, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Ohio State baseball team defeated Connecticut 9-5 in a six-inning, travel-shortened contest Sunday afternoon at Jack Russell Stadium. The game was the second of the day at the park, started late and was called to a halt after six innings and two hours and 28 minutes because of travel limitations. Ohio State improves to 2-1 while Connecticut drops to 1-2.
“We have talked about how Sundays will always be tough games,” head coach Greg Beals said. “The team that will grind it out and compete will be the team that wins. We beat two teams that played in NCAAs last year and UConn even made a Super Regional. They are the teams we want to play and we want to beat so it’s good to get off to a good start against them.”
The Buckeyes took the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Kirby Pellant walked to lead off the game, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI groundout to second by Tim Wetzel.
Connecticut was able to respond in the bottom of the second with a run of its own to tie the game. Ryan Fuller triple off the wall in center to lead off the inning and, after Joe Pavone was hit by a pitch, scored on an RBI single by Tom Verdi.
Connecticut starter Anthony Marzi retired eight Buckeyes in a row until Pellant reached on a throwing error with two down in the third. Pellant advanced to second on the throw and stole third but could not score as Marzi struck out Wetzel to end the Ohio State rally.
After a single through the left side by Ryan Cypret to lead off the top of the fourth, Josh Dezse deposited his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left-center, to put the Buckeyes on top 3-1.
UConn loaded the bases with two down in the bottom of the frame after a single, error and a hit batter but Greve was able to induce a fielder’s choice grounder to Pellant to get out of trouble.
Ohio State pushed the lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth when Greg Solomon singled with one down, advanced to second on a groundout by Pellant and scored on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Wetzel.
However, Connecticut answered with a three-run fifth to tie the game. The Huskies used a two-out RBI single from Verdi and a two-run double to deep center by John Sulzicki to even the score after five innings.
Ohio State bounced right back with a five-run sixth. Mike Carroll doubled to lead off the inning, David Corna followed with a single and Brad Hallberg walked to load the bases. After a lineout by Aaron Gretz, Solomon scored Carroll with a sacrifice fly, Corna scored on a wild pitch and Hallberg crossed home on a bases-loaded walk by Cypret. Dezse followed with a two-run single through the left side to score Pellant and Wetzel to push the Ohio State lead to 9-4.
Dezse came on in the sixth and gave up a run but was able to close it out for the Buckeyes.
Dezse finished 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI while Carroll went 2-for-4 with a run scored. David Fathalikhani picked up the win for the Buckeyes while Carson Cross suffered the loss for Connecticut.
Up next, the Buckeyes travel to Atlanta for a three-game set at nationally-ranked Georgia Tech Feb. 24-26.