But a win nonetheless. It should have been a walk in the park, a mindless game for an effortless win against a horrid Buffalo team that has just 13 wins. I stand by that pre-game assessment of what this game should have been.
Instead, the Buckeyes had to fight and claw their way to a 14-13 victory in the 2008 home finale (Box Score), the last game at Bill Davis Stadium for four seniors. They deserved better.
J.B. Shuck got the short start since his weekend start was rained out Sunday vs. Illinois. He pitched 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts before handing the ball over to the bullpen so he could rest up for his start against Iowa this coming Sunday in Iowa City.
Rory Meister reminded why he has been in the dog house. I think he's a good kid and at one time showed great promise as a pitcher but he appeared to mail it in long before the start of his senior season. Today, he allowed nine runs on nine hits, including four doubles.
Through 3 ½ innings, the Buckeyes found themselves down 11-0, but got on the board with a pair in the bottom of the fourth. Andrew Armstrong gave up two runs in the fifth. He pitched 2.0 innings. Drew Rucinski, Alex Wimmers and Eric Best kept the Bulls off the board the rest of the way and gave their team a chance.
Like it did Saturday in the second game of the doubleheader vs. Illinois, Ohio State mounted a comeback, scoring three in the bottom of the fifth and two in the seventh before Justin Miller's three-run bomb pulled the Buckeyes within a 13-10 score.
And yet, as bad as it was, this team had a chance. In the ninth it loaded the bases with none out. Shuck walked for the first run and Miller tied the game with a two-run single. An error on Buffalo centerfielder Adam Skoniezski on a Zach Hurley fly ball won the game for the Buckeyes.
There will be some loyal fans who will try to make excuses for the effort in this game or perhaps brag about the improbable comeback, but it is a game Ohio State shouldn't nearly lose no matter how poor a season it is having. This game didn't matter, right? It's not like they were trying to get to 40 wins, like most Bob Todd-coached teams. This team is trying to win 30 games, which means nothing other than continuing a 22-season streak of winning at least that many. All that matters this year is that the team qualifies for the Big Ten tournament, where it can make a valiant effort at saving the season. As much as I would like to see another tournament championship and NCAA tournament berth locked up, I'm not sure this team is capable of that kind of magic, or maybe it is.
They have to get to Ann Arbor first. Good luck in Iowa City. Go Bucks!
Think I'm off base in my assessment? Let The Buckeye Nine know what you think.