The Ohio State baseball team blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning as Iowa shocked the Buckeyes with a 9-8 victory in 10 innings Saturday afternoon.
Fans in Bill Davis Stadium sat in silence, stunned as they watched the Buckeyes fall apart in the final two innings of the ballgame.
“We were in a really good situation with a four-run lead,” coach Greg Beals said. “We were behind, rallied and fought to extend the lead there, but we just couldn’t close the door.”
OSU (22-24, 10-10) was trying to rebound from its 7-0 loss Friday night when it could not generate any offense against the Hawkeyes (20-27, 9-11).
While it took five innings for OSU to record its first hit in the first game, it took just two batters Saturday. Freshman outfielder Tim Wetzel singled and later scored to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead.
Iowa tied the game in the second and took the lead in the fourth, thanks to a two-out rally. The Hawkeyes had a walk and three straight hits as they scored three times to take a 4-1 lead.
The Buckeyes tallied two more runs in the fourth and fifth to cut the lead to 4-3 entering the seventh. After junior second baseman Ryan Cypret’s single tied the game at 4-4, a walk and an error put runners at the corners. Sophomore catcher Greg Solomon then crushed a 1-2 pitch deep to left for a three-run home run, giving the Buckeyes a 7-4 lead.
OSU added an insurance run in the eighth inning, taking an 8-4 lead into the ninth. After the Buckeyes handed the ball to freshman closer Josh Dezse, the game seemed to be in hand.
Iowa rallied to tie the game with four runs, taking advantage of Dezse’s off day and a Wetzel throwing error. With only one out and runners on second and third, senior reliever Theron Minium recorded the final two outs to escape the jam.
After OSU failed to score in the ninth, the game went into extra innings. Iowa led off the inning with a single and bunted the runner over to second. A base hit coupled with a fielding error by junior outfielder David Corna allowed the Hawkeyes to score the tiebreaking run.
It was all they needed, as the Buckeyes went down in order in the 10th.
OSU looks to salvage the final game in the series at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Bill Davis Stadium.
Dezse drops the ball
Dezse, who had been very reliable in recent weeks, was off his game Saturday. He was having trouble with his command, and some of his pitches didn’t have the normal zip to them.
“For the last three weeks, he’s been lights out for us,” Beals said. “Today was just one of those days he didn’t have his stuff and the command on his pitches.”
Errors, errors, errors
OSU had four errors against the Hawkeyes. There were two crucial ones in the final innings, which possibly could have altered the outcome dramatically had they been avoided.
“We didn’t play a very clean baseball game,” Beals said, “and obviously the four errors weren’t good.”