When there is thunder atop the Ohio State lineup, anything can happen. Once again, the Buckeyes proved that that was the case.
With the help of home runs by redshirt junior right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic and clutch hitting from junior center fielder Troy Montgomery, the OSU baseball team was able to win both of its midweek games against in-state opponents.
For the second game in what is now a three-game streak, Bosiokovic hit a two-run home run to provide the Buckeye offense with a spark, as the Buckeyes topped Ohio University in Athens on Tuesday.
The Buckeyes got on the board early when senior first baseman Troy Kuhn reached base on a fielding error and scored Montgomery from third in the first inning. Junior Jalen Washington would follow up Kuhn’s RBI with a sacrifice fly to score Bosiokovic. In the second inning, Bosiokovic hit his home run, scoring himself and senior shortstop Craig Nennig, who reached base on a single.
These runs would be more than enough for freshman starting pitcher Ryan Feltner, who earned his first collegiate win. The right-hander threw 5.2 innings of one-run ball with one walk, one strikeout and five hits as he stymied the bats of the Bobcats.
Ohio would get on the board in the sixth inning when its right fielder, Tony Gianni, hit a sacrifice fly to score left fielder Mitch Longo from third. Later, center fielder Manny De Jesus scored on a wild, swinging strike three from OSU senior left-handed reliever Daulton Mosbarger. Longo would score later in the inning on a fielding error by Washington, who made his first start of the year at second base after being the everyday catcher.
The ninth inning saw the Buckeyes add a pair of insurance runs as Washington was driven in on a double by freshman designated hitter Brady Cherry, who would later score on senior Ryan Leffel’s pinch-hit sacrifice fly.
In his return from a day-to-day injury, redshirt sophomore closer Yianni Pavlopoulos slammed the door on Ohio, as the right-hander came in and punched out all three batters he faced to earn his sixth save on the season and finish off the 6-3 Buckeye victory.
University of Toledo
Toledo jumped out to a very early 4-0 lead Wednesday on the strength of a five-hit barrage off OSU sophomore starter Austin Woodby, but the Buckeyes battled back to make it a one-run contest thanks to a two-run double off the red-hot bat of senior third baseman Nick Sergakis. He would later score off a sacrifice fly from Washington.
But this game was far from over.
The Buckeyes trailed until the fifth inning when Bosiokovic hit a towering home run to left-center field to tie the game. After junior left fielder Ronnie Dawson was picked off at first, Sergakis hit a home run of his own, one that bounced off the top of the left field wall and over. Even after a late insurance run in the eighth inning, the Buckeyes’ lead was not safe.
Pavlopoulos entered the game with a two-run lead but surrendered three runs off three hits to give the Rockets the advantage. The Buckeyes responded fast, though, as Kuhn doubled to start the inning and advanced to third on a bunt from Washington. Following walks to Cherry (who was lifted for pinch runner Jake Brobst) and pinch hitter Zach Ratcliff, Nennig popped the ball up to second base.
With two down in the bottom of the ninth and the Buckeyes’ backs up against the wall, Montgomery hit a booming double over the center fielder’s head to score Kuhn and Brobst and give the Buckeyes their eighth comeback win of the season already.
“3-1 (count), bases loaded, game-tying run on first base, I think he’s going to throw me a fastball,” Montgomery said about the at-bat. “I don’t think he wants to walk me with the curveball … so I wasn’t looking for that curveball right there, and he threw me a fastball over the plate and I just barreled it up.”
Not lost on OSU coach Greg Beals was the outstanding relief effort from junior left-handed pitcher Joe Stoll, who entered the game and provided the Buckeyes with four innings of shutout baseball, surrendering only one hit and one walk while striking out three.
“Joey Stoll came in and calmed the waters for us and gave our ball club a chance to get back in the game,” Beals said.
Stoll, who had made only five appearances prior to this game and thrown just five innings overall, was called on in the third inning after Austin Woodby — making his first collegiate start — struggled early.
“I try really hard to be ready from the first pitch,” Stoll said. “Going in there too early wasn’t really a big deal … I’m really just trying to help the team out. Any way the coaching staff thinks I can help or anything I can do, I just want to help my teammates win.”
The last couple of games have not been easy on the Buckeyes, as they have struggled to get out of the gate early, having scored first only once in the past eight games. But as evidenced by the 7-1 record in that time span, late comebacks have become seemingly part of the plan for the Scarlet and Gray. Beals mentioned how this team has a mentality where it believes it is always in the game.
“We talk about 27 outs, 27 on both sides of the ball, so let’s be as tough as we can for all 27 outs,” Beals said. “We talk about the whole game and we talk about the mental toughness of playing and responding to the good and the bad.”
The Buckeyes are next scheduled begin a series against Bethune-Cookman on Friday, with the first pitch set to be thrown at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium. The three games are scheduled to see the usual rotation of Tanner Tully on Friday, Adam Niemeyer on Saturday and John Havird on Sunday.