Ohio State Edged by Michigan State, 7-6, in Big Ten Opener
March 21, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team dropped its Big Ten opener to Michigan State, 7-6, on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth by Ryan Krill Friday night at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 13-7, 0-1 in the Big Ten, while the Spartans improve to 10-8, 1-0 in conference play.
"We didn’t pitch the ball great tonight but the story of the game from our standpoint is missed opportunities at the plate,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “It’s a tough loss after fighting to get back in the ball game but we’ll be back at it tomorrow.”
After a scoreless top of the first, Michigan State got on the board against Ohio State starter Ryan Riga in the bottom of the frame when Cam Gibson led off the inning with a solo home run to right, his first of the season, for the 1-0 lead.
The Buckeyes threatened against Michigan State starter Mick VanVossen in the top of the third. A single by Connor Sabanosh and walks to Tim Wetzel and Troy Kuhn loaded the bases with one down. VanVossen then hit Pat Porter to score Sabanosh to tie the game at 1-1.
However, Michigan State responded to take the lead with a three-run bottom of the third. Gibson tripled to right-center to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Anthony Cheky. Blaise Salter then singled up the middle, followed by a double to left by Jimmy Pickens and a two-run single by Joel Fisher to push the lead to 4-1.
Ohio State then cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth when Craig Nennig reached on a leadoff walk and Porter launched a two-out, two-run blast to right to make it a one-run game.
Riga settled down nicely after the third until the Spartans added another in the bottom of the seventh. Cheky singled up the middle with one down before the Buckeyes went to Travis Lakins out of the bullpen. Cheky then stole second and third before Salter doubled to left-center to score him and Pickens followed with a single up the middle to plate Salter to push the lead to 6-3.
Ohio State responded in the top of the eighth off Michigan State reliever Jeff Kinley. With one down, Ryan Leffel lined a pinch-hit double down the left-field line and Josh Dezse followed with a double to deep center to score Leffel and make it a two-run game.
The Buckeyes were then able to get to Michigan State right-hander Jake Lowery, who was on to close it out in the ninth. Nennig walked to lead off the inning before Wetzel doubled off the wall in right-center to put runners on second and third for Kuhn, who drilled a ground-run double to left-center to tie the game.
Trace Dempsey came on in the bottom of the frame to retire Salter but allowed a single to Pickens and a walk to Fisher to set up the walk-off single from Krill.
Kuhn finished the night 2-for-4 with two RBI while Porter was 1-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored.
The middle game of the three-game set is slated for 3:05 p.m. Saturday at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.