The clink of aluminum bats has returned as Ohio State’s baseball team began their season in Port Charlotte, Fla.
The bats started out hot for the Buckeyes as they won their first two games against Connecticut and Auburn, but then lost two in a row to Indiana State.
In Sunday’s game against the Indiana State, sophomore right handed pitcher Jake Post started on the mound for the Buckeyes. He gave them four good innings, but errors allowed three unearned runs to cross the plate for Indiana State.
Freshman pitcher Tanner Tully came on in the fifth and gave up another run in the sixth before the Buckeyes began a nice rally in the bottom half.
A balk and an error plated two runs and left the bases loaded for senior outfielder Tim Wetzel. He hit into a fielder’s choice that scored two more as sophomore first baseman Zach Ratliff turned it into a double steal.
OSU gained its first lead in the eighth after three doubles from freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson, sophomore infielder Craig Nennig and Wetzel.
With a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth, junior pitcher Trace Dempsey came in to try and seal the deal, but gave up four runs on four hits to give the Sycamores an 8-6 advantage.
Indiana State freshman pitcher Ryan Keaffaber stymied the Buckeyes to earn the two game sweep.
“I liked the way we battled today,” Wetzel said Sunday. “It was nice to get the all of the young guys experience. It can happen with a young team, so you have to be ready to go every day.”
Coach Greg Beals was disappointed with the outcome of the final game, especially after how his team battled so far back.
“Today was a big lesson for us,” Beals said after the loss. “We have the ability to play really bad … and to come back like we did. The game is humbling, but we need to do all the necessary work to make sure we’re ready to go out and play.”
Freshman pitcher Zach Farmer began his collegiate career starting on the bump for Saturday’s tilt with the ISU. His start did not go as planned, though, as he gave up a three-hit, two-run first inning.
Dawson got the Buckeyes back in it in the fourth with a three-run homerun off junior Brad Lombard. Dawson finished the day going 3-4 in his first collegiate game.
The Buckeyes wouldn’t score again though and ISU took advantage of their inept bats, scoring two more runs off Farmer and another three off freshman right handed pitcher Adam Niemeyer for a 7-3 win.
The early game Saturday against Auburn matched up a pair of southpaws as the Buckeyes’ junior Ryan Riga and the Tigers’ senior Michael O’Neal were starting on the mound. Both lefties pitched brilliantly as each went six strong innings and only gave up four hits each.
The difference was redshirt-junior Josh Dezse’s RBI single in the fourth. After missing all of last season with a stress reaction, Dezse was the designated hitter for each game and didn’t miss a beat.
That run was all the Buckeyes needed, as Griga didn’t allow a run before handing it off to redshirt-senior pitcher Tyler Giannonatti for the seventh. Dempsey came in to finish the final two innings for his first save of the season and sealing the 1-0 victory for OSU.
“I felt good, but obviously it was a lot more important for the team getting this win,” Riga said. “It gives your more confidence for tomorrow.”
Friday’s season opener against the Huskies started off shaky for the Buckeyes as senior pitcher Greg Greve started out the game giving up two runs in the top of the first. He quickly settled in after that though and the offense made up for those early runs in impressive fashion.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, sophomore infielder Jacob Bosiokovic hammered a ball over the centerfield fence for a grand slam and the Buckeyes’ first runs of the season. His blast energized both the offense and defense as they didn’t allow another run, but added four more of their own for an 8-2 win.
“I was just trying to put something in play and help the team win,” Bosiokovic said. “Fortunately I hit it over the fence.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play UCF Friday in Orlando. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.