— The OSU Baseball ⚾️ (@OhioState_BASE) May 21, 2016
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MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – Behind two late-inning home runs by junior Ronnie Dawson, the Ohio State baseball team won a road series over B1G regular season champion Minnesota, 6-5, in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Siebert Field in Minneapolis, Minn. With their sixth ranked win in 10 days, the Buckeyes (38-17-1, 15-9 B1G) earn the No. 4 seed in the 2016 Big Ten Baseball Tournament and will face No. 5 seed Michigan at 9 p.m. CT Wednesday from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., live on BTN.
“It was a great team victory today and our boys fought hard,” head coach Greg Beals said. “Yesterday was tough seeing our Big Ten title hopes go down, but it showed a lot of character in our ball club to bounce back today in a very critical baseball game for us. We’ve won four straight weekends now and it’s important for us to keep the momentum going into the postseason.”
Dawson, from Grove City, Ohio, tied the game at 5-all in the top of the eighth with a solo home run off left-hander Lucas Gilbreath before launching an 0-2 pitch over the wall vs. right-hander Brian Glowicki in the top of the tenth for the eventual game-winning hit. On the mound, freshman right-hander Ryan Feltner earned the win to improve to 2-3, while redshirt sophomore right-hander Yianni Pavlopoulos closed the door on the Gophers with his 13th save of the season. The OSU bullpen continued to shut down hitters as a combined four Buckeyes allowed no runs on three hits with four strikeouts in the final 5.1 innings.
“In the first at-bat, I was trying to get a pitch to hit and I was looking for revenge against their left-hander that beat me on Friday night and got a good swing on it,” Dawson said. “I got down 0-2 in the second at-bat but was able to get another good swing on the ball and it went out. We needed this win. This was a crucial game for the Buckeyes. It’s good momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament.”
BEFORE THE RD4 SHOW
Ohio State plated two runs in the top of the second on three hits vs. right-hander Toby Anderson. With two runners in scoring position, Jacob Bosiokovic swung on a 2-0 pitch for a RBI grounder to plate Troy Kuhn, who reached safely on a Minnesota fielding error. Jalen Washington sent a sharp single to left field to score Troy Montgomery for the 2-0 advantage.
Niemeyer posted three straight scoreless frames, but ran into trouble in the fourth with another strange inning occurring for the Buckeyes at Siebert Field. The Gophers began the four-run inning with two singles before a sac bunt put runners on second and third. A sacrifice fly made it 2-1 before a RBI single to left field locked the game up at 2-all. After a walk, a high fly ball to right field was lost in the sun, allowing two runs to score and give Minnesota a two-run lead, 4-2. Niemeyer ended the tough inning with his fourth strikeout of the afternoon.
The Buckeyes answered with a run in the fifth when Craig Nennig pushed a bunt down the first base line to allow Tre’ Gantt to score, who led off the at-bat with a double off the wall in center. After the Gophers scored a run in the fifth, Ohio State punched right back with a run in the sixth when Montgomery lined a single to center field vs. Anderson to score Kuhn to make it 5-4.
ON THE MOUND
Niemeyer fought hard on the bump and tossed 4.2 innings and allowed 10 hits on five runs, five earned, one walk with four strikeouts in a no decision performance. He was relieved by right-hander Seth Kinker with two down in the bottom of the fifth, who only needed one pitch to retire the side. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and on one hit with one strikeout. Left-hander Michael Horejsei pitched the next 1.2 innings and gave up just one base hit and struck out a batter. He got a Minnesota hitter to ground into a double play to end the seventh and left a runner on in the eighth. In the ninth, Feltner came into the game and stranded a runner on second base when he blew a 93 mph fastball by Austin Athmann to send the game into extra innings. After the second home run by Dawson, Pavlopoulos went 1-2-3 in the 10th to seal the win with one strikeout. With two down, a groundball went off the Buckeye closer, but Nennig was able to bare hand the deflected ball and fire a strike to Bosiokovic for the final out of an exciting end to the 2016 regular season.
- Ohio State improves to 91-90-1 all-time vs. the Gophers, while head coach Greg Beals is 9-6 all-time vs. Minnesota.
- Ohio State finishes the regular season with the most overall wins in the conference (38).
- The Buckeyes are now 7-2 vs. nationally-ranked opponents with sixth Top 25 victories in the last 10 days.
- Ohio State improves to 10-10 in road games.
- The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with 53 home runs and 116 doubles this season.
- The pitching staff’s ERA ranks second in the conference (3.01).
- The Scarlet and Gray have a .988 fielding percentage in the last 10 games.
- Montgomery led the team at the plate with a .500 average (6-for-12) with two runs scored, stolen base and two walks in the series vs. the Gophers.
- Dawson posted his 17th multi-hit game and 12th multi-RBI game. He also collected his 99th and 100th RBI in his career with the two home runs.
- Montgomery had his 13th multi-hit contest of the year.
- Reached base streaks: Dawson (12), Washington (8) and Montgomery (6). Sergakis has reached base in 53 of 56 games this season.
- Hit streaks: Dawson (6), Montgomery (4), Gantt (3) and Nennig (3).
- Kuhn moved to a tie for sixth place in the OSU career doubles record book with his 47th double, passing former Buckeyes Brian Mannino (1992-95) and Drew Anderson (2002-04).
- Kinker extended his scoreless streak to 20.0-consecutive innings. He is tied for eighth in single-season appearances with his 31st today.
- Pavlopoulos is tied for seventh in the OSU career saves list (13) and fourth in season saves (13).
- Feltner has allowed just one run in 19.0 innings out of the bullpen this year.
- Horejsei is tied for 11th in single-season appearances with his 29th this afternoon.