Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hits Keep on Coming, Bucks Get 37 Hits in DH Sweep

The Buckeyes hit five home runs in wins over SIUE and UMBC, win game 1 13-10, game 2 16-9.

The Ohio State baseball team defeated Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 13-10, and Maryland Baltimore County, 16-9, Saturday at the Santaluces Sports Complex behind 37 combined hits in the two games and five home runs. The 30th-ranked Buckeyes have won four consecutive games and are 12-2 on the season.

The team’s starting outfield of left fielder Zach Hurley, center fielder Michael Stephens and right fielder Michael Arp did the most damage Saturday as the trio combined for 16 hits, 14 runs batted in and nine runs scored.

Justin Miller (three hits, three runs and three RBI vs. UMBC) and Dan Burkhart (hits in both games to extend his hitting streak to 17 consecutive games) also hit home runs – against UMBC – and Ohio State has now hit 24 home runs in 14 games after hitting 19 home runs all last season.

Game 1

In the first game of the day, Ohio State scored three unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 10-10 tie and defeat SIU Edwardsville, 13-10. Drew Rucinski picked up the win with 2.2 innings of effective relief work to improve to 5-1 on the year. Hale recorded the final out of the game with two men on base to record his third save of the season.

The Cougars, a pesky sort in their first season of Division I baseball as members of the Ohio Valley Conference, kept coming at the Buckeyes despite trailing by 6-1 and 9-5 margins. Three home runs hit into the nice breeze from home plate helped, as did the biggest hit of the game: a clear-the-bases double by Chase Thrasher that tied the score at 10-apiece in the sixth inning.

Rucinski, who replaced Jared Strayer who had replaced starter Andrew Armstrong (5.1 innings pitched), got out of a key two-on with no out situation in the bottom of the seventh with two strikeouts and a fly out to preserve the tie ball game.

In the ninth inning, Ohio State scored its runs off three hits and two errors. Burkhart scored the go-ahead run on Arp’s single. Ryan Dew, who also singled in the inning, and Arp scored insurance runs for the Scarlet and Gray.

Offensively, all nine Ohio State offensive starters had hits and scored runs in the SIUE game. Stephens hit a solo home run in the first inning and Hurley had a three run home run in the second inning, part of a three-hit game for the junior. Three more Buckeyes joined them with multi-hit games: Cory Rupert (3-4 with a run scored); Arp (two hits, two RBI and two runs scored); and Cory Kovanda (two hits and two runs scored).

Game 2

Eric Best pitched 5.0 innings and allowed just three earned runs, didn’t walk a batter and struck out six to get the win in the Maryland Baltimore County game. The junior, making his first start since the 2007 season, improved to 2-0 on the season.

A six-run fifth inning propelled the Buckeyes past UMBC. With the score tied at 3-apiece, Ohio State sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning with six of them getting hits, including three home runs in the inning by Stephens leading off, Burkhart with one man on board and a solo shot by Arp.

The Retrievers countered with two in their half of the fifth, but Ohio State, which has scored 49 runs in three games this weekend, plated seven more the rest of the way to win going away.

Jake Hale pitched the ninth inning and did not allow a run for his seventh consecutive appearance, and he finished a game for his Big Ten leading seventh time.

Ohio State caps its West Palm Beach weekend with a 12:30 p.m. game Sunday against North Dakota State. Sophomore Dean Wolosiansky (1-1) will be on the mound for the Buckeyes.

Recap and Game Notes

SIUE Box Score

UMBC Box Score


dizzy said...

Great to see the offense come to life. They are hitting with men on base and with power - two things lacking in the past few years.

Now we have to getting the pitching together

BaseballBucks33 said...

Dan Burkhart hit his 4th HR in the 1st inning today. Burkhart also just 2b to start the 4th and scored on a sac fly from Ryan Dew. OSU up 5-3.

4 of the last 6 said...

ANY type of trouble with teams of this caliber does not bode well for the Bucks once the real season starts. Right ... we're hitting. But there's a reason that the pitchers we are hitting against are pitcihg for lesser programs. And to give up the number of runs we do (earned or unearned)against the same "quality" of players to the these teams offensively tells me that there are the same (serious?) problems that we have faced the last couple of seasons. Yes; all Big 10 teams are playing similar schedules; but most are pitching much better and some are at least playing (if having only nominal success) decent teams like Arizona, LSU and Texas

dizzy said...

Arp goes yard for the second consecutive game... we have a regular murders row here. I hope all these HR are not just FLA wind blow hype

4 of the last 6 said...

Its just my perception ... but it seems like the Bucks are leading the world in getting hit by pitches this year. See that Burkhart was plunked today and that Tossant ran for him. Hope it was just to rest Dan and its not an injury

4 of the last 6 said...

Dizzy ... In response to your latest see my first comment today. I'd appreciate your thoughts (or anyone's). Am I being cynical with regard to Bucks success hitting (i.e. they are REALLY good, and its, as you suggest, windy) and I'm too tough on their piching and defense??

dizzy said...

My thoughts are that I think only time will tell. In the past they hit for high averages but they would have 15 hits a game and score 3 runs because they were not hitting with power and not hitting with men on base. This year it is w/power, and more importantly hitting with men on base and with two outs. In the 7 homer game the wind contributed and the last two days have been windy in FLA. The offense will be much better than the last few years... but I think it looks a little better than reality right now because of the conditions and opponents. But they have a good group of players who all play their role - I like how the talent and performance has been spread across the order

Agreed, they have not played any top 20 teams but the schedule is better than past years. And the B10 overall does not look too great. I think OSU, Mich and Ill are the top 3 of the bunch.

Defense is VASTLY improved and is not stellar, but it is no larger a huge liability.

Pitching is biggest concern, by far. Other than the first 2 games of the year they have been touched up pretty bad by some lesser opponents. Pitching is decline since last year. It is needs to get much better, even to win the B10. What is up with Wolo?

4 of the last 6 said...

Dizzy .... well put. You are especially right that time will tell. There are a lot of games to play and this team, especially the pithcing, is pretty young. I'm going to miss the Sat. DHs; but I think that there being only 3 truly meaningful games per week (don't misunderstand ... want the mid - week wins as well)will help the pitching staff

KnuckleChuck said...

Last year everyone was concerned due to the young pitching and the games that were being lost due to so much pressure put on the youngsters. If you remember that was Armstrong, Wimmers and Rusinski. The defense wasnt stellar, and the pitching wasnt great.

Now I think everyone agrees they have come along nicely in their second seasons. Well with Minimum, Strayer and Oltolrik, now they are the youngsters and will take some time getting used to throwing twice in a day, coming in with bases loaded, and all the other things that it takes to pitch at this level. The defense is better, but still costing runs and needs to keep getting better.

What is so good this year is the run production has allowed these pitchers to get their "feet wet" and work their way into the lineups, and WE DO NEED THEM!.

I think that the more they pitch (Oltolrik - first year / Strayer - 6 innings last year / Minimum - 30 innings 2 years ago, none last year) the better they will get and the more they will help.

Obviously Bob Todd has confidence in them or else they wouldnt be out there. I think they will be just as fine as the 3 from last year who has their ups and downs early in the season.

I love the attitude the whole team has, the fun they seem to be having and the wins that are happening because of all of it. There is a real difference and you have to credit Todd with maybe changing his ways a little and letting them let their hair down. Obviously its not growing longer, but just down. (Except for Stephens' mohawk, lol)

VarsityO said...

KnuckleChuck- Care to expand on your comment that BT has changed his ways. What, exactly, has changed?