The Ohio State baseball team entered its Coastal Carolina trip with an unblemished record, sitting at 3-0-1 after a quick start to the season. That unbeaten start was abruptly put to a screeching halt, as Duke crushed OSU 8-1 Friday afternoon.
OSU’s hitters were stymied by Duke’s ace Bailey Clark. Over six strong innings, the 6-foot-5 right-handed junior recorded 10 strikeouts, while the Blue Devil offense was powered by sophomore center fielder Evan Dougherty, who smashed three home runs in four at-bats.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Niemeyer (0-1) was tagged with the loss for OSU, dropping the Buckeyes’ record to 3-1-1. The righty from Minster, Ohio, threw 6.2 innings for the Buckeyes, allowing four earned runs and striking out seven, one shy of his career high.
OSU’s only offense in the loss came from junior left fielder Ronnie Dawson, who hit his first home run of the season to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning.
OSU quickly turned the page on its first loss on the season on Saturday to grab a 6-4 victory over the No. 19 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, the host of the tournament.
OSU’s offense was powered by the long ball, as the Buckeyes crushed three home runs, moving their season total to 10 through six games.
The first homer came from the bat of senior co-captain Nick Sergakis. The three-run blast to left-center field pulled the Buckeyes out of a 2-0 hole in the fourth inning. The Columbus native said he had a lot of emotions running through him as he ran around the bases versus the club he transferred to OSU from, but he was able to keep himself in check.
“Maybe if I was a little younger, and a little more pissed off at them, I would have shown it a little more,” the third baseman said in a postgame interview posted to the team’s Twitter account. “I tried to act professional because it was early in the game, and it only put us up at the time being. I knew what type of team they coach over there, and what type of players they recruit. I knew it was going to be a fight to the finish.”
OSU’s surge in the fourth was continued by freshman designated hitter Brady Cherry, who hit his first career homer to plate senior first baseman Zach Ratcliff, pushing OSU’s lead to 5-2. Cherry would later add his second home run of the game with a solo blast in the eighth inning, which proved to be plenty of run support for junior ace Tanner Tully and the OSU bullpen.
In total, Tully fanned a career-high nine batters over 5.1 innings of work, earning his second win of the season (2-0). The combined effort of sophomore righty Seth Kinker and senior lefty Michael Horejsei protected the OSU lead into the eighth inning, where redshirt sophomore Yianni Pavlopoulos took over.
Needing five outs for OSU’s fourth win of the year, the Homer Glen, Illinois, native picked off the lead runner, then stuck out four more batters to earn his first career save. In total, OSU’s pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts in the win.
OSU coach Greg Beals said he was pleased to see his team respond a day after experiencing something it hadn’t in many months: a loss.
“It’s a big win against a great program in their ballpark today,” Beals said in a press release. “I really liked the fact that we did it on the heels after not playing very well yesterday. The character that we showed to bounce back — it was good to come in here and get a win.
“We did a lot of little things right today, too. We used a couple pickoff plays that we’ve been working on during the offseason and also had a big out on a bunt play. The home runs look great on the scoresheet, but we did the little things right this afternoon.”
OSU is set to continue its trip in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with two more games. The Buckeyes are scheduled to face Liberty on Sunday at 1 p.m. before a rematch against Coastal Carolina on Monday at 4 p.m.