IU Falls at Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Going against the top pitching staff in the Big Ten, the Indiana baseball team lost a pair of games against Ohio State on Saturday evening at Bill Davis Stadium. The Hoosiers were shut out in the opener, 3-0, and fell in game two, 7-3. IU falls to 22-21 overall this season (5-14 Big Ten), and OSU improves to 22-15 (6-10 Big Ten).
Game one saw the Buckeyes grab a 1-0 lead in the second with an unearned tally. Second baseman Jason Zoeller reached on an error and came around on a blooper down the right-field line by shortstop Jedidiah Stephen.
After the Hoosiers put runners on first and second with two outs in the opening inning, Buckeye starter Cory Luebke did not allow a baserunner in the next three innings. Junior left fielder Jay Brant recorded the only IU hit in that span, but he was thrown out attempting to stretch a double into a triple.
Senior third baseman Corby Heckman snapped Luebke's streak in the fifth when he led off the stanza with a base knock into center field. IU put runners on first and second with two down as freshman shortstop Tyler Cox laced a single into right field. However, Luebke kept the Cream and Crimson off the board by getting junior center fielder Reggie Watson to ground out.
Indiana starter Brian Lortz was equally effective, holding OSU in check after its second-inning run until the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, center fielder Mike Rabin delivered a base hit and proceeded to steal second, where he trotted home on a ball served over sophomore second baseman Josh Richardson's head by designated hitter Steve Caravati for a 2-0 Ohio State lead.
In the sixth, third baseman Ronnie Bourquin hit his second home run of the season over the right-field wall for the final 3-0 margin.
Luebke never let IU threaten again en route to his fourth win in six decisions. The southpaw recorded his first career shutout and complete game, holding the Hoosiers to four hits while striking out three and walking one.
Lortz (2-5) collected his first complete game this season and the second of his career, surrendering two earned runs on six hits. In his last three starts, the right-hander has allowed two, four and three earned runs, respectively, but the team has only scored two, three and zero times in those ballgames.
Ohio State jumped on the board with three runs, two of which were unearned, in the first inning in the nightcap. Right fielder Matt Angle tallied the first run of the contest on a ground out by third baseman Ronnie Bourquin, and second baseman Jason Zoeller closed out the scoring with a two-out, two-run single back through the box.
The Buckeyes threatened to break the game open in the second, but IU starter Adam Poole (1-3) wiggled out of trouble. OSU put runners on second and third with one out, but Poole retired center fielder Mike Rabin on a pop out to senior third baseman Corby Heckman, and junior center fielder Reggie Watson tracked down a shot off the bat of left fielder Steve Caravati into the left-center field gap.
Senior right fielder Joe Kemp knocked in the first Hoosier run of the day in the third with a two-out base hit to center field. Kemp plated Watson, who was hit by a pitch and swiped second base before cutting the squad's deficit to 3-1.
In the bottom half of the stanza, Ohio State responded with a two-spot to take a 5-1 lead into the fourth inning.
Matt Saba relieved Poole in the third and kept the Hoosiers in the game, allowing them to chip away at the Buckeye advantage in the fifth. Freshman shortstop Tyler Cox started the rally with a single off OSU starter Mike Madsen (4-3) and second baseman Jay Brant and Kemp worked consecutive walks to load the bases for junior first baseman Ryan Parker, who ripped a single into center field to plate Cox and Brant.
Reliever Rory Meister entered the ballgame and set down junior designated hitter Zach Boswell on a grounder to first baseman Paul Farinacci to preserve his team's 5-3 lead.
After being held scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, the Buckeyes concluded the game's run-producing with a two-run sixth, accounting for the final 7-3 score.
Saba ended up tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and punching out a pair.
On the offensive side, Parker went 1-for-3 with two RBI, while Kemp (1-for-2) delivered the other RBI. Watson, Brant and Cox each plated one run.
Meister threw the final 2 1/3 frames to pick up his first career save. The right-hander did not allow a run, hit or walk in addition to striking out four batters.
Indiana looks for a series split as the four-game set concludes tomorrow, Sunday afternoon, with a 1:05 p.m. (EDT) starting time.
Check back soon