Indiana scored twice in the top of the 10th inning to beat Ohio State 10-8 Thursday, eliminating the Buckeyes from the Big Ten tournament and ending their season (Box Score). It was the first ever win by the Hoosiers against the Buckeyes in four tournament games.
Despite five solid outings, OSU freshman Alex Wimmers hit the first batter of the 10th and a bunt moved him over. Buckeye skipper Bob Todd brought in closer Eric Best. After a fly out moved a runner to third, he gave up the lead on a double by Andrew Means and a single by Chris Hervey added another insurance run.
The Buckeyes went quietly in the bottom of the inning.
Ohio State trailed early in the game and was able to tie it in the eighth to force extra innings after failing to score with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth.
Ohio State found themselves in a 4-0 hole to start the game and Indiana added another run in the second before the Buckeyes got two back in the bottom of the inning. The Scarlet and Gray took a 6-5 lead in the third inning with a four spot thanks to RBI by Dan Burkhart, Tyler Engle and Tony Kennedy. The first run of the inning scored on an error.
The lead was short-lived as the Hoosiers came back with three runs in the fourth. Ohio State put another run on the board in the fifth and left the bases loaded, yet trailed by an 8-7 score.
Jake Hale got the start and was less than stellar. He pitched four innings and allowed eight runs (only two earned) on 11 hits. He struck out three and did not walk a batter before handing over the Buckeyes' chances to Wimmers.
Wimmers pitched well, getting out of trouble in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. He retired the batters in order in the seventh and kept the Hoosiers scoreless in his 5.1 innings. He allowed two hits, walked two and fanned two yet kept his team within striking distance. It is a shame he had to get the loss. Best replaced him with one on and one out in the top of the 10th.
Cory Kovanda's sacrifice plated Justin Miller to tie the game in the eighth, but the Buckeyes left two runners on, including Burkhart at third.
Kennedy led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left. Hurley's sac bunt moved Kennedy into scoring position and then the Hoosiers intentionally walked J.B. Shuck, putting runners at first and second with one out for Miller, who drew a walk to load the bases.
Ryan Dew, who was hitting .400 with the bases loaded and .346 with runners in scoring position, was brought in to pinch hit for Meade and grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Tony Kennedy and Ryan Meade each had three hits to lead the Buckeyes, which also had multiple hits from Kovanda and Burkhart. Kennedy drove in three runs. Ohio State finished the game with 12 hits and walked 11 times. Buckeye pitching allowed 15 hits and walked just two.
It was a sloppy game with seven errors between the squads, including five by the Hoosiers.
Indiana was hot heading into the tournament, having won its last seven games and 10 of their previous 13. Even so, I never thought this game would be close. I certainly did not see the season ending today.
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Ohio State finished a disappointing 30-26. You have to look back to 1999 when the Buckeyes last went 0-2 in the Big Ten Tournament. Of course, that season fans didn't mind as much since they hosted a regional and super regional and came within one game of advancing to the College World Series.