Sunday, March 13, 2011

Black Knights Blitz Buckeyes in Blunder-filled Besting

The only good that came with today's embarrassing loss to Army is that it allowed myself the chance to work on alliteration as you can see in the title. Outside of that, the Buckeyes took a giant step backwards in falling 14-9 to an Army team that came in with just one win in 11 contests.

This is a bad loss.

This is a bad loss that stings more as I see St. John's is only 5-8 taking away any thought that Ohio State has a quality win to their record, not sure how I was oblivious to the Johnnies struggles but back to today.

The saying strong up the middle is apparently falling on deaf ears for the Buckeye players as a combined five errors were made between the catcher, shortstop, and center fielder. In total the Buckeyes committed six errors which led to six unearned runs. After 11 games Ohio State now has 19 errors which has led to 19 unearned runs.

I will not rehash the disgust with the defense. Six errors speaks for itself.

As you can see by the box score, several Buckeyes had good games at the plate en route to nine runs. But again this comes against Army, a team that surrendered 18 runs against Radford. It is nice to see both Tyler Engle and Brian DeLucia collect a few hits though.

Ryan Cypret led Ohio State with a 5-for-6 game at the plate, while DeLucia added four hits in six at-bats, and Engle reached base five times drawing two walks with three hits in four at-bats.

Unfortunately for the latter two, their strong offensive games come as Engle made his sixth error of the season while DeLuica had two errors in center field.

On the mound freshman Greg Greve struggled for the second time in three starts. While the defense behind him did not help, and he did strikeout seven batters, some of the excitement over what he showed in fall practice needs tailored back a bit. Seldom do rookies enter the rotation running, Ohio State hasn't had that going back now 5-6 years since J.B. Shuck and Cory Luebke, two outstanding pitchers.

Army struck Greve for four runs in the first, two unearned, and three in the second with two runs again being unearned. Greve combined with Theron Minium got the Buckeyes through the sixth with just two more runs being added after the second inning.

With two Buckeye runs in the first, four in the second, and a lone run in the sixth, Ohio State trailed just 9-7 going into the seventh.

However from there Army would build upon their lead as Brett McKinney allowed a solo home run in the seventh, Andrew Armstrong was unable to find the strikezone in the eighth as he hit a batter, allowed a hit, an issued a four-pitch walk with recording just one out. David Fathalikhani recorded the final two outs in the eighth but not before two runs scored on Armstrong's accord. Army finished their scoring in the ninth as a runner reached first after a strikeout but throwing error by backstop Greg Solomon.

Ohio State initially countered Army with two runs of their own in the seventh, but a 1-2-3 eighth, and three consecutive strikeouts by DeLucia, Matt Streng, and Brad Hallberg with the bases loaded in the ninth sealed the loss.

Ohio State falls to 6-5 while Army improves to 2-10.

Buckeyes will take Winter Quarter final exams this week before kicking off their California spring break with a three game set at California in Berkeley. The Bears are currently ranked 29th by the National College Baseball Writers Association.

More will come midweek on where the Buckeyes are at the season's quarter-point, as well as some lingering thoughts from a disappointing weekend.


BaseballBucks33 said...

6 errors is horrible but the pitching staff is a worse concern with all the walks/hit batters.Their is no depth in the pen at all. Greve has not been good lately but Beals does not have many more options. The bottom line is the talent is not here yet,hopefully it is on the way the next few yrs. Engle problems at SS are not new,Solomon has been solid behind the plate so far but DeLucia has not played CF much if ever. And Brad Hutton is an infielder playing LF. Not giving the guys a pass on defense today but my point is guys are playing out of position. Either way this was a bad weekend for sure and next weekend is going to be ugly I am afraid.

Chris Webb said...

Disagree on the bullpen depth. It's done enough so far. The impression that there is no depth may come from being forced into action entirely too soon...

Which again the problem is that the defense is allowing extra outs to the opposition which forces more pitches unto the pitchers and gets to the bullpen earlier than desired.

I'll look at the stats later, and try to do seem deep digging, but for the amount of pitches Greve, Wolosiansky, and Rucinski are throwing they should be pitching into the seventh every time, bare minimum through the sixth.

The bullpen has enough depth to consistently get 12-9 outs a weekend between Fathalikhani, Armstrong, Minium, Dezse and the rest.

I'm fine on Greve for now, Engle's problems may not be new, but last year he had 10 errors all year. The pace of the botching is new for this season and unfortunate.

BaseballBucks33 said...

With Engle it is all about accuracy and arm strength,,he has pretty good range but throwing is another issue. I agree the errors are killing the starters pitch counts,that is the worst part about the fielding woes. Obviously I have not seen them play this year so it is hard to know what the deal is but I thought the defense would be much improved,maybe it will be by yrs end.

BaseballBucks33 said...

What the heck is going on man,I knew this would be a rough year but this last week has been a nightmare??? Pitchers can't throw strikes,our defense is horrible and guys are out of position all over the diamond. This Cal State team just joined the D1 ranks last year. I don't know man but I figured we would be better than this.

Chris Webb said...

While Ohio State's play has been spotty, I wouldn't knock CSU-B. They did topple South Carolina and have played very well this year. They may be DI for a short time but they have a very rich recruiting bases and much more talent than Ohio State has on its roster at this moment. They should be a Regional team.