The No. 22 Ohio State baseball team won its ninth consecutive game with a 9-8 win over Hartford Sunday at Chain of Lakes Field. The win improved the team’s record to 17-2 on the season. Hartford drops to 1-10.
Ohio State starting pitcher Ross Oltorik, a true freshman, pitched a career-long 5.0 innings, allowing just one run off six hits to record his initial collegiate win against no losses. He struck out a career-best five batters and walked three in his best performance to date as a Buckeye.
Oltorik had a couple of one-two-three innings, including striking out the side in the fourth, and he successfully got himself through a couple of tight situations. In the second inning with Ohio State up 2-0, Oltorik got through a bases loaded with nobody out pinch with a fly ball and a thank-you-very-much one-two-three double play with Oltorik fielding a one-hopper and throwing to Dan Burkhart for the force at home. Burkhart then threw to first to get the batter.
In the fifth inning, Oltorik faced a bases loaded with one out exam. He passed this test with flying colors as well, getting back-to-back strikeouts of the four and five hitters and fist-pumping all the way to the bench at the end of the inning to close the scorebook on his first collegiate win.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State offense was chipping away at a handful of Hawk pitchers and building a 9-1 lead. Zach Hurley led off the game with a triple and he scored on a groundout. Michael Stephens followed with a single and scored on Justin Miller’s single for a quick, 2-0 lead.
Consecutive doubles by Ryan Dew and Michael Arp plated another run for a 3-1 lead after the Buckeyes’ second, and then Ohio State scored four times in the seventh off four hits and two Hartford errors. Hurley, Cory Kovanda, Michael Stephens and Miller all singled and scored runs off Hartford reliever Matt Govoni.
Three consecutive two-out doubles in the eighth – by Kovanda, Chris Griffin and Miller – increased the lead to 9-1.
Miller led the Buckeyes offensively with four hits and three RBI. The senior captain recorded his 55th career multi-hit game and his three RBI represented the 35th time he has had multiple RBIs in a game.
The first four hitters for Ohio State – Hurley, Kovanda, Stephens and Miller – all had multiple hits as did Ryan Dew and Michael Arp, and the Buckeyes totaled 16 hits on the afternoon.
Hartford rallied with four runs in the eighth inning and another three in the ninth – with half of its 14 hits coming in those two innings – before closer Jake Hale came in to get the final three outs for his fourth save of the season and his 10th consecutive game finished without allowing a run.
Bucks now 17-2