COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Scarlet team opened the 2009 Scarlet and Gray World Series with a 7-0 win over the Gray behind solid pitching from freshman starter Brett McKinney and a 16-hit attack with catcher Dan Burkhart leading the way with four hits, three runs and two RBI.
McKinney, a 6-2, 225-pound right-hander from Badin High School in Hamilton, Ohio, worked 5.0 scoreless innings while allowing just five hits, one walk and he struck out four. His two biggest strikeouts came in the second inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. He got out of the jam by coaxing a fly ball for the third out and he was not seriously threatened from that point.
“It felt really good…great,” McKinney, whose parents Chuck and “Mel” were among the 100-or-so fans in the stands, said. “I knew I could do it [pitch well]. It makes a difference when you are locating pitches and throwing strikes. And I was able to throw strikes with all three pitches – my fastball, slider and change-up.”
McKinney also said getting out of the bases-loaded squeeze was “a confidence booster.”
Gray starting pitcher Theron Minium also pitched himself out of a bases loaded jam, in the top of the first inning. His came with two outs and he was able to get out of the inning with a fly-out as well.
Minium gave up just one unearned run and took the loss. He pitched 3.2 innings, scattered five hits and had one walk and two strikeouts.
Scarlet, coached by Pete Jenkins, jumped on top in the fourth when redshirt freshman Ryan Cypret knocked in Brad Hallberg, another second-year freshman. The visitors would add another pair in the fifth when Burkhart, the Player of the Year in the Big Ten last year, doubled in junior shortstop Tyler Engle. Burkhart then came around to score to extend the Scarlet lead to 3-0.
Burkhart singled and scored in the seventh inning and then had an RBI double, part of a three-run eighth inning, to put the game away.
“Something had been wrong mechanically with my swing but I just figured it out a couple days ago,” Burkhart said. “Actually a couple other players noticed what I was doing and they helped me. Tonight it felt good.”
Cypret had three hits and two RBI while Ryan Dew had two hits, including an eighth-inning double, and a pair of RBI. Hallberg and junior outfielder Brian DeLucia, returning to the field after medical redshirt seasons in 2009, had two hits apiece.
Gray had only seven hits off a trio of Scarlet pitchers. Michael Stephens and David Corna had two apiece.
The Scarlet and Gray World Series continues at 3 p.m. Monday at Bill Davis Stadium. Junior right-hander Dean Wolosiansky will make the start for Scarlet and the Gray squad will go with 2009 All-American Alex Wimmers.
More News and Notes from the Press Box:
Coach Bob Todd on what he saw Friday: “I’m glad the rain held off and we got to play. There were a couple of really nice plays today. Zach Hurley made a nice throw from center to get a runner at the plate and Dan Burkhart really did a nice job of running the bases, especially scoring from third on an infield hit.”
Three of the team’s four fall-walk-on pitchers saw action in the game. Drew Malley pitched 2.0 scoreless innings for the Scarlet. Nick Jones pitched 2.0 innings and Paul Geuy pitched 1.1 innings, respectively, for Gray.
Jared Strayer closed the game for the Scarlet with one inning of nearly perfect work. His only blemish was hitting Michael Stephens, who has a knack for getting hit anyway.
Strayer unveiled a new sidearm delivery he has been working on since the end of last season.
Burkhart, who caught the entire game, on the freshman Brett McKinney: “He was solid. Like a freshman, he wanted to show us what he had and I thought he did a good job. He threw strikes and that led to outs and that’s what we needed with this weather. And he got the job done with the bases loaded. You can’t ask for anything better than two strikeouts in that situation. He showed us how he is going to compete.”
And more Bob Todd: “We did some things fundamentally well today that we’ve been preaching about all fall. We’ve still got a ways to go, though.”
Somehow a wall of rain that has blanketed the Midwest the last 24 hours did not open up during the game and the teams were able to get a pre-determined eight uninterrupted innings of baseball played.
For the first time in years – Years! – the members of the baseball team had to actually put the tarp onto the field. This was spur of the moment Thursday and the coaches gave the best-in-the-business Bill Davis Stadium grounds crew a break while they were busy preparing other fields for about an eight-event day on Friday on campus.