The rain finally stayed away for the Ohio State baseball team as it salvaged a split in the doubleheader against the North Florida Ospreys in walk-off fashion at Bill Davis Stadium.
“It was huge for us going forward,” OSU coach Greg Beals said. “We didn’t play great and didn’t have the bite we had over the weekend.”
OSU (20-19), coming off its first series sweep against Michigan in 15 years, was looking to continue building momentum in a doubleheader against the Ospreys (24-19).
In the first game, which had been postponed from Tuesday because of rain, North Florida jumped on OSU senior pitcher Dean Wolosiansky quickly with four runs in the first.
After senior third baseman Matt Streng cut the lead in half with a two-run home run in the second, the Buckeye bats were kept in check by Ospreys starter Marshal Rosenberg. Rosenberg scattered four hits and struck out five over seven innings.
North Florida added three more runs over the course of the game to win, 7-2.
The second game proved to be similar, until the final two innings.
After the Ospreys took a 2-0 lead in the third, the Buckeyes seemed to be in trouble. North Florida pitcher Tommy Organ dominated the OSU lineup, throwing a no-hitter through five innings.
After sophomore catcher Greg Solomon broke up the no-no in the sixth with a bunt single, OSU began a two-out rally. Senior outfielder Brian DeLucia and junior second baseman Ryan Cypret each drove in a run, tying the score, 2-2.
“We needed to get something going,” Solomon said. “I’m a pretty good bunter so I knew, even if I got out, it was something needed to shake things up.”
The seventh inning started out with two quick outs for OSU. But junior outfielder David Corna and Solomon both singled to keep the inning alive. After senior shortstop Tyler Engle walked, the bases were left loaded for DeLucia.
Down to his final strike, DeLucia hit a single that fell just inches fair down the right field line to give OSU a 3-2 win.
“I hit a slider and I knew he was going to come back with it,” DeLucia said. “I thought it was going to tail foul, but lucky for us it didn’t.”
OSU travels to Illinois for a three-game series this weekend to resume Big Ten play.
This marked the third time in four games that the Buckeyes were able to rally back from a multiple run deficit to win the game. They did it twice on Saturday against Michigan to win in extra innings both times. It was 2-0 after five innings when OSU scored twice in the sixth and once in the seventh to win.
“It says something about the character of our ball club,” Beals said. When you keep fighting and keep scrapping like these guys do and won’t say die, you never know what can happen.”
Offense nowhere to be found
Aside from six hits in the final two at-bats in game two, the Buckeyes had been no-hit through five and managed just four hits in 12 innings of baseball until that sixth inning.
“I did not like the lack of offense in our approach,” Beals said. “We weren’t taking offensive swings, and it looked like we were on the defensive and second-guessing ourselves.”
After starter John Kuchno gave up two early runs in three-plus innings of work, the bullpen kept OSU in the ballgame. Sophomore David Fathalikhani, junior Andrew Armstrong and senior Jared Strayer combined for three-plus innings, gave up no runs and allowed only one hit in a strong outing for the bullpen.
“If we felt we could get to our bullpen and still be in it, we would be tough,” Beals said. “We were able to get to those guys and get them their work.”