Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
The Ohio State baseball team won 4-1 Sunday to sweep Northwestern in a three-game series over the weekend.
The Buckeyes (27-20, 11-10 Big Ten) swept the Wildcats (16-29, 5-16 Big Ten) while holding them to just three runs for the entire series. The winning pitcher for OSU Sunday was sophomore John Kuchno, who went six innings and allowed one run on six hits and improved his record to 7-3 in 2012.
Sunday’s win was capped off by Josh Dezse, who picked up his sixth save of the season. Dezse, a sophomore first baseman and closer, said although each game was a must-win, the team remained relaxed throughout the series.
“A couple guys kept the pressure down,” Dezse said after Sunday’s win. “In the dugout joking around, having fun and staying loose, I think that helped. We have this goal (to make the Big Ten tournament) and we’re going to make it. I think that’s the locker room thought right now.”
Saturday featured a doubleheader after the Friday game was canceled due to rain and lightning. Game two was a 7-1 win for the Buckeyes.
The night belonged to junior left-hander Brian King, who took a perfect game into the eighth inning. Junior Colby Everett broke up the perfect game bid on the first pitch of the eighth with a single to center field. King improved to 4-3 with the win and pitched a complete game allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts.
“(The perfect game) was in the back of my head,” King said after his win Saturday. “It’s just a tough thing to do. Once it gets broken up you just have to pick up your game and pitch to win. I had all three pitches today and put them where I wanted so I could keep them off balance.”
Although King was the one who pitched seven innings of perfect baseball, he said the offense helped him.
“The runs are awesome,” King said. “You can just go out there and throw your game and not have to worry about anything. That really helped for tonight, them putting up runs and I could kind of coast and just hit my spots.”
Game one was a 3-1 OSU win which featured sophomore pitcher Jaron Long’s fifth win of the season to improve to 5-2 and lower his ERA to 1.90, the best among OSU starters.
Long pitched eight innings and only allowed one run on eight hits and one walk while striking out three batters.
Coach Greg Beals said Long didn’t have his best stuff Saturday, but competed for a win.
“I was really impressed with Jaron Long, with subpar stuff tonight,” Beals said after Saturday’s doubleheader. “Jaron had probably, from a stuff standpoint, his worst start. But he competed his tail off and fought his way through a ballgame and got us eight innings deep. That was a gritty performance on his part without his ‘A’ game.”
Late in the game, Beals made a visit to the mound after Long allowed runners into scoring position. Long said he told Beals he wasn’t going to come out of the game and got himself out of a jam.
“(Beals) just kind of came out there and asked how I was feeling, asked if I was tired,” Long said. “Obviously I didn’t have my best stuff, so he wanted to make sure that I was confident. I told him I was feeling good, as long as he thought it was my game. We talked it over and agreed win or lose I was going to be out there.”
Next OSU will play a two-game series with Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. starting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Buckeyes’ final Big ten series is the weekend of May 17 at Indiana. OSU is currently in sixth place in the Big Ten and is one-and-a-half games back from a three-way tie for third place with Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State.