Ohio State baseball (17-18, 7-6 Big Ten) took down rival Michigan (13-26, 6-7 Big Ten) in dominating fashion as the Buckeyes’ 11 hits led them to a 7-2 win.
It was an all-around effort for OSU, as eight of its hitters had at least one hit and four players recorded RBIs.
“Our hitters got after it tonight — 11 hits we got, and score seven runs on a Friday night,” coach Greg Beals said. “You give (Drew) Rucinski and this bullpen seven runs on Friday, its going to be a tough game for our opponents.”
The pitching came through for the Buckeyes, only giving up two runs, one of which was earned. Senior pitcher Drew Rucinski went 6.2 innings and gave up the only two runs while striking out seven batters.
“Our guys were ready to play today, and you could sense that as soon as they showed up to the ballpark,” Beals said. “It’s Michigan. There’s not a whole lot else that needs to be said.”
OSU went down one in the top of the first on a wild pitch by Rucinski, but regained the lead in the bottom of the inning when freshman first baseman Josh Dezse hit a three-run home run with one out. It was Dezse’s third home run of the season.
“Anytime we can get on the board early, that’s huge,” Rucinski said. “It definitely helped to jump out and take the lead like that, and definitely helped me calm down.”
Dezse closed out the game in the ninth with three straight strikeouts.
“My adrenaline was pumping,” Dezse said. “You can’t not have it pump when you’re playing Michigan and you’re coming in to close.”
Games two and three will become a doubleheader Saturday, with the first game starting at 3:05 p.m. The decision to add the Sunday game to Saturday was based on the chance of thunderstorms.
Beals earns 1st win against Michigan
Beals previously went 0-6 against the Wolverines as coach of Ball State.
“Coach Maloney and Michigan were getting me over there at Ball State,” Beals said, “but I wouldn’t trade any of those losses for tonight’s win.”
Dezse opening and closing
Dezse continued what has been a strong Big Ten season with four RBIs in the game. He is now hitting .420 in Big Ten play with 18 total RBIs. He also closed the game with three strikeouts in the ninth.
“Bookends for Josh Dezse, he had the big hit in the first inning then shut it down in the ninth,” Beals said. “We get the three runs, it takes the edge off, it really allows Rucinski to settle into the game, knowing that he’s got a two-run lead right away.”
Rucinski dominates Michigan
Rucinski picked up his second win against Michigan. In those two starts he has a 2.21 ERA with 20 strikeouts, including a complete game in his first win.
He is the Big Ten leader with his 2.11 ERA, and has moved to 5-1 on the year.
“He’s proven that he can go out,” Beals said. “He’s taking it to the other teams on Friday nights and against their No. 1s.”