Ohio State tuned up for a big weekend against Michigan by defeating Akron, 7-3, Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium in front of 987 fans. The win improved No. 27 Ohio State’s record to 32-10. Akron drops to 14-28.
Michael Stephens and Dan Burkhart had three RBI apiece to lead Ohio State. Cory Kovanda scored two runs and five Ohio State pitchers had 11 strikeouts as opposed to just two walks while scattering nine hits.
Andrew Armstrong made his first start since March 23 and his first appearance since March 29, vs. Penn State, due to a lingering arm issue. In a nice-to-have-him-back effort, Armstrong went 3.0 innings, allowed four hits, gave up two earned runs, walked a batter and struck out three. He also picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the season.
“The key was our pitchers pitched ahead and didn’t walk people,” Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. “It was good to see Andrew Armstrong come back. He isn’t pitching like he did for us in the fall, but I hope he keeps improving and gets better and better.”
Former Ohio State assistant coach Pat Bangtson’s Zips took a 2-0 lead with a couple of runs off a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice in the third inning off Armstrong.
Ohio State responded in a big way, putting a handful of runs up on the board – all with two out – in its half of the third to take a 5-2 lead. Stephens had a two-run single and Burkhart crushed a Scott Foster pitch deep into right center field for a three-run home run, his eighth of the season to tie Stephens for the team lead.
Stephens drove in Kovanda with a double in the fifth inning and Ryan Dew singled home Stephens to increase the Buckeyes’ lead to 7-2.
Meanwhile, sophomore Jared Strayer was putting together his second consecutive effective relief appearance. Entering the game in the fourth inning, Strayer pitched 3.0 innings and allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out two Zips. He left at the start of the seventh inning but not before tying his career high in innings pitched, set previously vs. Marshall back on April 1.
Dean Wolosiansky, Eric Best and Jake Hale all pitched an effective one inning to close the game out strong from a staff standpoint. Each pitcher struck out two batters.
OSU Athletics Release & Game Notes