The buck finally stopped. A six-game losing streak was snapped as the Buckeyes defeated Illinois on Sunday 8-4.
The much-maligned bats awoke after falling behind 4-1 staring an embarrassing home sweep in the mirror.
With the Big Ten being in complete chaos, a loss would have dropped the Bucks into the Big Ten cellar, although they would be alongside three other schools. But as it turns out the Buckeyes are in a tie for 5th place with Indiana, controlling their own destiny for a berth in the Big Ten Tournament.
Ironically Ohio State (25-19, 9-9) is only a game out of first as the Buckeye nine defend their Big Ten championship.
As the seniors come down to their final five games in Bill Davis Stadium, barring BTT berth, a pair of Central Ohio natives in Kilbourne products Ryan Dew and Cory Kovanda led the Buckeyes in victory.
Making the start in right field, Dew went 4-for-5 with a home run, double and five RBI. The co-captain Kovanda also had a 4-for-5 day, scoring two runs, as the Bucks banged out 18 hits.
In what has been a surprisingly good twist, the Buckeyes best unit has been their relief pitching. A day after Jared Strayer went five innings without yielding a run, Theron Minium and Eric Best each went three innings keeping the Illini at bay. For Minium the win moved him to 4-3 on the year, for Best it was his third save.
The trio of Best, Minium, and Strayer have been incredible the last two weeks, leading one to believe if the Buckeyes bats have returned, if Wimmers follows suit, dare we bring back that Regional word?!
Score by Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Illinois 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 10 0
Ohio State 0 1 4 2 0 0 1 0 X 8 15 1
E - Burkhart(5). LOB - Illinois 12; Ohio State 12. 2B - Hurley(19); Stephens(7); Dew(6); Engle(5). 3B - Parr,
J.(5). HR - Dew(4). HBP - Cummins, C.; Engle. SH - Burkhart(1). SB - Argo, W. 3(37); Lutes, C.(10). CS -