Ohio State and Iowa split Friday's doubleheader meaning the Buckeyes are fifth heading into the final day of Big Ten conference play.
Box Scores: Game One Game Two
According to OhioStateBuckeyes.com, Ohio State remains in fifth place in the standings, one-half game ahead of Northwestern and Indiana. These three teams are in contention for the final two Big Ten tourney berths, but Ohio State is in the driver’s seat. Any combination of a Buckeye win or a Northwestern or Indiana loss will put the Buckeyes into the tourney.
Friday, the Buckeyes didn't struggle in a 12-2 victory. After collecting only five hits and stranding six runners Thursday in a 4-3 loss to Iowa, Ohio State wasted no time in getting on the board, jumping all over Iowa starter Nick Erdman. The Buckeyes collected five hits and scored four runs in the second inning, including RBI singles by Cory Kovanda and Tyler Engle, and an RBI double from Tony Kennedy. Another run scored on a wild pitch.
Iowa pulled within two in the bottom of the second. The Buckeyes got one of Iowa ’s two runs back in the top of the third as Engle had his second RBI single of the day to score Cory Rupert, who had singled. Ohio State put the game away in the fourth by scoring six more runs off four hits, two errors and an Iowa balk to stake DeLucia to an 11-2 lead.
Rupert and the bottom of the batting order sparked the Buckeyes. Rupert had three hits and three runs scored. Dan Burkhart had a couple of hits and two runs scored. Kovanda had a hit and two runs scored and Engle had two hits, two RBI and a run scored.
DeLucia went 5.0 innings and allowed seven hits and the two earned runs. He struck out two and walked two and improved his record to 3-3 on the season and 24-13 for his Ohio State career.
In the nightcap, Iowa won 7-4. Kurtis Muller hit a grand slam home run in the first inning and Caleb Curry hit a two-run homer in the second to build a 6-0 lead off Ohio State starter Dean Wolosiansky. The Buckeyes got a run in the third and another in the fourth to cut the lead to 6-2, but Iowa scored an unearned run with two outs in their half of the fourth to build a five-run cushion at 7-2.
Justin Miller’s third hit of the game – a two-run home run in the sixth inning – pulled the Buckeyes within the three-run final score. It was Miller’s team-leading fourth home run of the year and it increased his team-leading RBI total to 60.
The Buckeyes ended up leaving the bases loaded in the sixth as reliever Brock Alberts got the final out of the inning on a pop fly to short. Alberts then shut the Buckeyes down in the seventh for his first save of the year.
Ohio State is now 29-24 overall and 14-15 in the Big Ten. The teams conclude conference play Saturday at 2:05 p.m.