March 31, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Jaron Long came out on top in a pitcher’s duel with Michigan State’s Tony Bucciferro as the Ohio State baseball team nipped the Spartans, 1-0, in Game 1 of a three-game set Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 14-10 on the season, 2-2 in the Big Ten, while Michigan State falls to 15-8, 0-1 in conference play.
“It’s a big win for us at this point in the season,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “Going on the road and winning the first game against one of the top teams in our conference is huge. Jaron was very good today but we made great plays on defense behind him. When you’re throwing strikes and have the tempo that Jaron does, it helps your defense out a lot.”
Both pitchers cruised through the first six frames, as Long scattered three hits and Bucciferrro breezed through six hitless.
Ohio State then threatened in the top of the seventh as Josh Dezse broke up the no-hitter with a single through the left side. Kirby Pellant then moved Dezse to second with a sacrifice bunt and Dezse reached third with one out on a passed ball. However, Bucciferro responded with back-to-back strikeouts of David Corna and Mike Carroll to end the Ohio State rally and keep the game scoreless.
The Buckeyes put a runner on second with one down again in the top of the eighth when Patrick Porter singled through the right side to lead off the inning and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Greg Solomon but Tim Wetzel followed with a come-backer to the mound and Ryan Cypret struck out swinging to end the threat.
Joel Fisher reached on an error to lead off the inning and pinch-runner Kevin Goergen advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Justin Scanlon then singled to center to put runners on the corners with one down against Long. However, Long was able to induce a 1-4-6-3 double play by Ryan Krill to sit the Spartans down in the eighth and keep the game scoreless heading to the ninth.
Brad Hallberg then walked to lead off the ninth against reliever David Garner and Joe Ciamacco came on to pinch run. Ciamacco stole second before Dezse walked to put runners on first and second and one down. Pellant then sacrificed the runners over to third before Corna lined a single into right against Michigan State closer Tony Wieber, plating Ciamacco with the go-ahead run.
Long came back out for the bottom of the ninth but walked nine-hole hitter Anthony Cheky. However Cheky was cut down trying to steal by Greg Solomon for the first out of the inning. Ryan Jones then singled to left but Long rolled a 4-6-3 double play to end it and give the Buckeyes the victory.
Long scattered five hits and struck out two to earn his first career win. It marked the first nine-inning complete game shutout for Ohio State since Alex Wimmers’ no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over Michigan in 2009.
“I was able to keep my pitch count down and give our team a chance to win,” Long said. “I think it’s huge to win the first game of the series and give our team the momentum heading into the next two.”
Bucciferro, an All-Big Ten selection a year-ago, tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out nine in the no-decision.
The Buckeyes and Spartans meet in Game 2 at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at McLane Stadium.
- The Buckeyes are 45 of 50 in stolen base attempts this season. They were 35 of 57 all of last season.
- The complete game shutout by Long was the first nine-inning complete game shutout since Alex Wimmers’ no-hitter against Michigan in 2009 and the first complete game shutout of any kind since Dean Wolosiansky threw a seven-inning shutout against Akron last season.
- Long needed just 88 pitches for the complete game victory. He allowed just one baserunner to reach second base, and that was Kevin Goergen who pinch-ran after Joel Fisher reached on an error in the eighth.
- The Buckeyes made some great defensive plays Saturday. A few that stand out: Tim Wetzel’s diving snag of a fly ball off the bat of Ryan Jones to lead off the game, Kirby Pellant’s backhand deep in the hole between short and third and throw to first to get Tony Wieber to lead off the second, the 1-4-6-3 double play turned to end an MSU rally in the eighth, and the double play turned by Ryan Cypret and Pellant to end the game.