Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Lantern: Bullpen back in gear

Alex Kopilow
Issue date: 4/30/09

Ohio State baseball coach Bob Todd was pleased to see his bullpen hold Akron batters to one run in the Buckeyes' 7-3 win Wednesday. It serves as a sign that the bullpen has recovered after last week's gaffe against Ball State, where the Buckeyes gave up 20 runs in four innings.

Five pitchers for the OSU relief corps gave up zero earned runs on five hits and struck out six batters in seven innings pitched.

The key was we pitched ahead [of the count] and we didn't walk people," Todd said.

Armstrong gave up back-to-back singles to Nick Solitario and Kevin Haas. Solitario advanced to third on Haas' single and scored when Zips designated hitter Jake Plata singled to center field. With a 1-0 lead and runners on first and third base, Armstrong threw a wild pitch, allowing Zach Roberts to score from third base.

OSU loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning on a single, double and a walk. Michael Stephens hit a two-RBI single to left field to tie the game at two. OSU catcher Dan Burkhart hit a three-run home run to right center field to give the Buckeyes a 5-2 lead.

"Those are the kinds of things we need to have a successful season, big two out hits," Todd said.

OSU starting pitcher Andrew Armstrong earned the win in his first start in two weeks after suffering from tendonitis in his left arm. He improved his record to 2-1 in a start that coach Todd described as decent. Armstrong gave up two runs on four hits and struck out three batters in three innings pitched.

OSU second baseman Corey Kovanda singled left field to lead off the fifth inning. Michael Stephens doubled to left center field and earned his third RBI of the game. The Buckeyes extended their lead to 7-2 when Ryan Dew singled to right field to score Stephens from second base.

Starting pitcher Scott Foster took the loss for the Zips. The redshirt freshman gave up seven runs on seven hits in four and two-thirds innings pitched.

Akron added its third run in the eighth inning. Jake Platta reached first base on a catcher's interference call on OSU backup catcher Shawn Forsythe. Akron catcher John Turk singled to advance Platta to third base. Pinch hitter Kyle Hallett doubled to leftfield to score Platta.

The No. 27 Buckeyes improved their record to 32-10, while the Zips fell to 14-28 for the year.

Ohio State is 1-3 in Wednesday games this season at Bill Davis Stadium. This season, OSU has lost to Marshall, Kent State and Ball State, and earned a win over Morehead State.

The baseball team will begin its nine-game home stand in a weekend series against the Michigan Wolverines at 7 p.m. Friday at Bill Davis Stadium.

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