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Buckeyes have offensive explosion

The first night home game of the baseball season did nothing to deter the sizzling offense of the Ohio State baseball team.

Every Buckeye hitter had a base hit in their 12-7 win over the Xavier Musketeers (7-22, 3-3 in the Atlantic 10) Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.

Left fielder Zach Hurley went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI, and first baseman Ryan Dew added a home run and four RBIs for Ohio State (17-8, 2-1).

“Tonight, we did some things well, and it was particularly true with our seniors,” said coach Bob Todd. “I mean, Hurley and Dew, and Dew had some big hits, Kovanda’s always been a spark plug for us. And that’s the kind of stuff you’ve got to have.”

Hurley hit his sixth home run of the season on the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 6-6.

“I got a good pitch to hit, and I just went with it,” Hurley said.

Ohio State grabbed a 7-6 lead on Michael Stephens’ RBI single later
in the inning.

Hurley delivered again in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out, two-run double to give OSU a 9-6 lead.

Second baseman Cory Kovanda’s RBI single, a bases-loaded walk to Dew and a sacrifice fly from shortstop Tyler Engle later in the fifth gave them a 12-6 lead.

“We were clicking offensively, and this is what I’ve been waiting for all year out of this team,” Hurley said. “I knew it was just a matter of time before we got everyone in the lineup, all one through nine, clicking.”

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Starting pitcher Eric Best lasted only two innings for Ohio State, giving up five runs (two earned) on six hits.

His counterpart, Xavier’s Zac Richard, went only three innings, allowing five runs and seven hits.

Brett McKinney came on in relief of Best and threw four shutout innings, which was key to the Buckeyes seizing the lead.

“I was more focused on throwing strikes than anything else, and I felt I did a pretty good job of that,” McKinney said. “You have to take advantage of every inning you get, whether it’s in mid-week or weekend, and especially when you’re a freshman, you don’t know when you’re going to get another shot. So you’ve got to take advantage of them.”

McKinney gave up only four hits in four innings, and shut down the Musketeers’ lineup that had scored in all three prior innings.

“We were counting on that and we kind of thought that McKinney was a key to us if he could give us some strong innings in the middle,” Todd said.

Xavier scored four runs in the second inning, and another in the third, as an error by Engle helped hand the Musketeers a 6-3 lead.

Engle made up for his mistake and hit his first home run of the season in the bottom of the second, and designated hitter Matt Streng had an RBI single in the third to cut the deficit to 6-5.

After Xavier scored in the top of the first inning, Ohio State took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning when Dew delivered a two-out, three-run home run, his third of the season.

The Buckeyes will have a three-game series in Big Ten play against the Indiana Hoosiers beginning Friday at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium.

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