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Conference crunch: Victory propels Buckeye baseball to 4th place in Big Ten action; Minnesota awaits

The Ohio State baseball team came into Sunday’s series finale against Iowa not looking just to salvage the series, but to keep itself in the top six of the Big Ten standings and still have a chance to qualify for the conference tournament.

Considering it was also Senior Day, it seemed only fitting that coach Greg Beals lean on his seniors to get an important win.

OSU (23-24, 11-10) beat the Hawkeyes (20-28, 9-12), 10-4, in a game that featured a two-hour rain delay Sunday afternoon.

“It means something to us and the guys in the locker room,” Beals said. “For those guys who gave four or five years in the program, we wanted to make sure that we gave our seniors a good day.”

Senior shortstop Tyler Engle relished the moment in one of his last games in front of the home crowd.

“It’s surreal right now,” Engle said. “It was such a long and weird day but it’s great to come out with a much-needed win.”

OSU’s seven seniors — pitchers Dean Wolosiansky, Theron Minium, Jared Strayer and Drew Rucinski, outfielder Brian DeLucia, third baseman Matt Streng and Engle — were honored before the game.

It didn’t take long for them to step up.

Engle drove in the game’s first run with an RBI double in the second inning to set the tone early.

“It felt good; it really did,” Engle said. “The hit was big at the time, and I thought it might give us a boost.”

Doubles by sophomore catcher Greg Solomon and Streng made it 3-0 before umpires halted the game for a long delay. Two hours later, the Buckeyes picked up where they left off, scoring three more runs to lead, 6-0, after three innings.

After several innings of play in rainy conditions, the Buckeyes added four more runs and were able to close out the game with a 10-4 win against Iowa.

Streng was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Engle was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. DeLucia was 1-for-3 with an RBI, and made some defensive plays in the poor weather conditions. Wolosiansky and Strayer also made appearances on the mound in their final Big Ten game.

“The seniors themselves took care of a lot today,” Beals said. “They were big for us.”

Along with production from the seniors, one player who came through was freshman starter Greg Greve. He surrendered just three hits in five shutout innings in a start cut short because of the rain delay.

Greve said it was tough to keep loose during the delay.

“My coaches did the best job they could to keep me ready,” he said. “They had me throwing for 10 minutes at a time with rest in between and doing sprints back and forth.”

Greve said he did not want to let down the team, especially the seniors.

“I wanted to have a big outing for the seniors,” he said. “I knew this was their last Big Ten outing at home, and wanted to put the team in a position to win.”

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