COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Clutch hitting and a strong performance by starter Drew Rucinski pushed Gray past Scarlet, 5-2, Monday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium, tying the Scarlet and Gray World Series at one win apiece. A deciding Game 3 will be played Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
The junior from Broken Arrow, Okla. had everything working, retiring 13 of the 17 batters he faced.
"Rucinski looked filthy today," Scarlet catcher Dan Burkhart said. "He has developed a changeup that's almost like Alex Wimmers' changeup. It really messed with the left-handed hitters today and if he is able to throw it this season he is going to keep a lot of batters off balance."
The Gray team got on the board in the top half of the first on a two-out single by senior Michael Stephens driving in another senior, Zach Hurley. The visitors tacked on another in the third when redshirt junior Matt Streng drove in senior Cory Kovanda on a ground ball to second base.
Scarlet threatened in the bottom of the fourth with runners on first and third and just one down but a Chris Griffin liner was snagged by redshirt freshman Zach Nowland at first and turned into an unassisted double play to end the inning.
With one down in the top of the fourth, freshman Hunter Mayfield singled and advanced to third on a double into the gap in right-center by Hurley. Kovanda then drove home Mayfield on a sacrifice fly to put Gray up 3-0.
After Kovanda drove in redshirt junior D.J. Hanlin to increase the Gray lead to 4-0 in the top of the sixth, Scarlet put a pair on the board in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead in half. After walking to lead off the inning, redshirt freshman Joe Ciamacco scored on a Burkhart groundout and freshman Steel Russell would score on a wild pitch for the second Scarlet run.
Gray added an insurance run to go up 5-2 in the top of the seventh when Stephens singled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a single by redshirt junior Matt Streng and scored on a single by redshirt sophomore David Corna.
Scarlet would make it interesting in the bottom of the seventh as three of the first four hitters singled but junior Paul Geuy induced a pop-up by Russell and Griffin grounded into the game-ending fielder's choice.
"It kind of all came together for us," Kovanda said. "We were good defensively and got some really good pitching. We're in first gear and getting ready to cruise into second Wednesday night."
Kovanda finished the day 2-for-3 with a run scored and pair of runs batted in. Hurley, Kovanda, Stephens and Streng each had a pair of hits for the Gray squad. Russell went 2-for-3 with a run scored for Scarlet.
Rucinski tossed five-plus innings, giving up just one earned on a pair of hits while striking out three. Geuy picked up the save for Gray and redshirt junior Dean Wolosiansky took the loss for Scarlet, going 3.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two earned runs.
The rubber game of the 2009 Scarlet and Gray World Series will be tonight at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m