The Ohio State baseball team extended it’s winning streak to three and picked up its 27th win of the season at home at Bill Davis Stadium on Tuesday night by defeating the Morehead State Eagles, 6-3.
Buckeye pitcher Zach Farmer, who was diagnosed with leukemia last May, took the opportunity to throw out the first pitch before OSU outscored the Eagles, 3-0, in the final six innings.
“He’s a guy we care a lot about. To have him back and to see his smile is great. He was ready and excited to throw out the first pitch,” coach Greg Beals said of Farmer. “It’s always good to have him around. It’s inspirational and motivational for our guys.”
It was a cool, windy night at Bill Davis Stadium, but the bats came out swinging hot from the start. The Eagles jumped on the board early in the first inning after a two-run home run put them ahead, 2-0.
OSU hit the field next for its first shot at offense during the bottom of the first, and cut the lead to 2-1 after an RBI groundout by junior first baseman Ryan Leffel, which sent sophomore outfielder Troy Montgomery home.
After the Eagles added another run in the second, senior catcher Connor Sabanosh tied the game at three in the bottom of the inning with a two-out RBI single. Sabanosh came out strong for the Buckeyes again in the bottom of the 4th, doubling to right center and sending sophomore infielder Jalen Washington home to give the Buckeyes the lead for good.
Washington went 2-for-3 at the plate in his first start for the Buckeyes and turned a double play on defense.
“It’s nice to have those athletes in your program — guys that can play,” Beals said. “Jalen is a catcher, shortstop, second baseman, he’s the jack of all trades.”
Washington said he felt more than ready to start for the Buckeyes, and added that he felt settled in as soon as the game began.
“It was easy for me to get out there with the guys behind me because I knew they had my back,” Washington said. “I’ve been cheering for them all year, and it really felt good to have them cheering for me for once. My first start felt pretty good.”
Montgomery hit his team-best fifth triple of the year to send Washington home and extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Senior outfielder Pat Porter took the plate next and hit a line drive to right field, reaching base for the 17th straight game.
Redshirt-junior pitcher Michael Horejsei and redshirt-freshman pitcher Kyle Michalik held the score until senior Trace Dempsey took the field and delivered his 93rd career appearance, which is the the second-most in program history. Dempsey struck out all three batters he faced to tally his sixth save of the year, while Horejsei was credited with the win after striking out three in 2.0 innings pitched.
Redshirt-freshman pitcher Adam Niemeyer made his second start for OSU, but took a no decision after giving up three runs on six hits in 4.2 innings pitched.
The Buckeyes are set to face Morehead State again Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium to conclude the series before traveling to Evanston Ill., on Friday to begin a three-game weekend matchup.