After ending their last trip to Florida on a two game losing skid, Ohio State’s baseball team made sure to end their second trip on a much higher note.
The Buckeyes sent three opponents packing in Orlando, Fla., this weekend at the UCF Baseball Tournament, defeating Central Florida, The Citadel and Oklahoma.
“It’s huge to get the sweep and finish the weekend,” coach Greg Beals said. “We didn’t finish last weekend the way we wanted to so it was big to make a statement against three good opponents.”
Against the Sooners on Sunday, freshman pitcher Zach Farmer started his second game for the Buckeyes and bounced back nicely after getting roughed up a bit last weekend.
After giving up one run in the first, Farmer settled down going 5.1 innings and only allowing two hits.
The Buckeyes scored three of their six runs in the fourth inning with junior outfielder Pat Porter driving in two runs and scoring the third on a wild pitch.
The teams traded runs for the remainder of the game, with OSU coming out on top 6-3 after a two run eighth inning.
Saturday’s game versus The Citadel was a matchup of lefties as the Buckeyes’ junior Ryan Riga took the mound against the Bulldogs’ junior James Reeves. The start was delayed three and a half hours because of heavy rain.
Although The Citadel took the lead in the first inning, OSU used a four run second inning to pull itself back into the lead after RBIs from senior outfielder Tim Wetzel, sophomore infielder Troy Kuhn and two from Porter.
The Citadel tied things up in the fifth inning setting the stage for freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson.
Dawson came to the plate with three men on base in the bottom of the ninth and no men out. His single to left field was enough for Kuhn to score from third, winning the game for OSU, 5-4.
Kuhn said winning the first two games of the weekend was a confidence booster for the Buckeyes.
“I think we gained a lot of momentum from the first two games. Just real exciting games and late finishers.” Kuhn said. “We came out on top (this weekend) and I think those first two games meant a lot.”
Even though the Buckeyes won Friday’s matchup against Central Florida by six runs, the game wasn’t a blowout as the score line suggests.
If not for two runs in the top of the ninth inning, OSU would have come away with a loss, but a two run single from Wetzel sent the game to extra innings, with the teams tied 3-3.
After neither team scored in the 10th, 11th or 12th innings, the Buckeyes scored six in the 13th, and held Central Florida scoreless for the 9-3 victory.
“The whole weekend, we grinded.” Porter said. “We never gave up. We trusted our pitchers and trusted our hitters to get it done.”
The Buckeyes are next scheduled to play Friday in the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.