Dan Burkhart's RBI double in the bottom of the seventh lifted Ohio State to an 8-7 victory over Minnesota Sunday in the series finale Sunday at Bill Davis Stadium (box score). The shot to center scored Ryan Dew who reached with a single of his own.
Ohio State needed a five-run sixth inning to build a 7-4 lead. Singles by Cory Rupert and J.B. Shuck, who came into the game to hit as the designated hitter after starting the game on the mound, and a walk to Dew loaded the bases with no outs. Burkhart reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Rupert, and Tyler Engle singled to score Shuck. Cory Kovanda singled up the middle to plate both Burkhart and Engle and Justin Miller drove in Tony Kennedy with a sacrifice fly to right to give the Buckeyes a three-run lead.
But Minnesota came right back to tie the game with one swing of the bat in the top of the seventh. Jeff DeSmidt hit a three-run home run off Drew Rucinski, who replaced Shuck on the mound to start the inning. Eric Best got a fly-ball out and a double play grounder to end the inning.
Engle led the Buckeyes in going 3-for-4 with an RBI while Dew was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Kovanda and Burkhart also drove in two. Ohio State out hit Minnesota 13-10 in an error-free game by both teams.
Shuck allowed four runs on seven hits in his 6.0-inning start. He struck out six and walked three, though it was Best who earned the win to improve to 1-1. Minnesota starter Seth Rosin allowed four runs on six hits in 5.0 innings. Chauncy Handran took to the loss to slip to 0-1.
The first series win against Minnesota since 2005 knotted the all-time series between the teams 77-77-2.
Ohio State improved to 16-9 overall and 5-3 in Big Ten action, while the Gophers find themselves 13-14, 3-5 after the loss. Central Michigan visits Bill Davis Stadium for Wing-man Wednesday with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. Ohio State travels to Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, Mich., next weekend for four games vs. Michigan State.
I appreciate Buckeye Nine readers "rockybuckeye" and "baseballbucks33" keeping up with the action today while I was away from my computer most of the day.