Four-Run Eighth Propels Spartans Over Buckeyes in Series Opener
March 29, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team fell to Michigan State, 8-7, in the opening game of a three-game set Friday evening at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes fall to 15-7, 3-1 in Big Ten play, while the Spartans move to 14-7, 1-0 in conference play.
After a scoreless first, Michigan State threatened against Ohio State starter Jaron Long in the top of the second. A single, a walk and a fielding error by third baseman Jacob Bosiokovic loaded the bases with one down but Long was able to get Kevin Goergen to line out to short and Justin Hovis to fly out to right to end the Spartan rally.
The Buckeyes took the lead with a pair in the bottom of the frame against Michigan State right-hander Andrew Waszak. Bosiokovic reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kirby Pellant and, after Brad Hallberg reached on a hit by pitch, scored on a single to left by Joe Ciamacco. Greg Solomon then reached on a fielder’s choice as Ciamacco was thrown out at second. Tim Wetzel plated Hallberg with another infield single to push the lead to 2-0.
The Spartans cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth when Justin Pickens led off the inning with a solo home run to right-center, his second of the season, to make it a 2-1 Ohio State advantage.
Ohio State got the run right back in the bottom of the frame when Pellant reached on an infield single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hallberg and scored on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Solomon to push the lead to 3-1.
Michigan State responded in the top of the fifth to narrow the Buckeye lead to 3-2 when Cam Gibson led off the inning with a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout to second by Ryan Richardson and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Jordan Keur.
Ryan Cypret was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the frame and came around to score on an RBI double off the wall in center by Pat Porter. Aaron Gretz then singled to center to put runners at the corners and Porter scored when Bosiokovic reached on a fielder’s choice to extend the Ohio State lead to 5-2 through five innings.
The Spartans would not go away as they answered with a pair in the top of the sixth. Three-straight singles to lead off the inning loaded the bases and a fielder’s choice by Goergen scored Joel Fisher for the first run of the inning. Hovis then followed with a sacrifice fly to center to plate Ryan Krill to make it a one-run game again at 5-4.
Brett McKinney came on in relief of Long and pitched a perfect top of the seventh before the Buckeyes tacked on another run in the bottom of the frame. Porter doubled to left-center with one down and Pellant drove him home with a two-out single to right to push the lead to 6-4.
The Spartans then rallied again in the top of the eighth. Fisher doubled to right-center to lead off the inning and Krill reached on an infield single to put runners on first and second with nobody out. McKinney was able to get Anthony Cheky to ground into a 6-3 double play but then hit PJ Nowak and walked Hovis to load the bases with two down.
Ryan Riga came on in relief of McKinney but gave up a two-run double down the right-field line to plate both Fisher and Nowak to tie the game at 6-6. That was the only batter Riga faced as Trace Dempsey came to the mound. The sophomore right-hander uncorked a pair of wild pitches to plate both Hovis and Gibson to give the Spartans an 8-6 lead.
Ohio State took advantage of a pair of Spartan miscues in the bottom of the eighth to score a run off Michigan State reliever Trey Popp. With two down, Solomon reached third on an error on a fly ball to Keur in left field, Wetzel was hit by a pitch and Cypret struck out but Solomon scored from third on a passed ball to make it an 8-7 game heading to the ninth.
Tyler Giannonatti tossed a scoreless top of the ninth but the Buckeyes were unable to get anything going against Michigan State closer Just Alleman in the bottom of the inning as the Spartans came away with the series-opening victory.
Solomon went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored while Porter and Pellant each had two hits.
Popp picked up the win for the Spartans while Alleman earned his third save of the season. McKinney suffered the loss for Ohio State to fall to 2-3 on the season.
The Buckeyes and Spartans play the middle game of the series at 3:05 p.m. Saturday.