After a slow start in February, the Ohio State baseball team is surging through March.
Balance across the field has continued to be the theme for the Buckeyes, as they tallied their 15th win of the season Tuesday afternoon with a 9-2 win against the Toledo Rockets at Bill Davis Stadium. Freshman pitcher Jacob Niggemeyer started on the mound for the Buckeyes and picked up the win after giving up just two runs in 6.0 innings of work.
The Rockets kept it close through five innings after initially taking a 1-0 lead in the first. But OSU tacked on six runs between the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to seal the win.
“We got off to a slow start, but we finished really strong,” coach Greg Beals.
The game shifted for the Buckeyes when junior Jake Post took the mound.
“Once we went to the bullpen we really gained control of the ball game,” Beals said.
Senior catcher Connor Sabanosh was quick to credit Post’s performance after he tossed 1.2 innings and gave up just one hit.
“We always have faith in Jake, every time he comes in we feel like we are going to have a shutdown inning,” Sabanosh said. “Once he came in we really added on the last three innings. It allowed us (the field players) to settle and just play and let Jake do his thing.”
The Buckeye offensive domination started in the bottom of the fourth with a home run by junior infielder Troy Kuhn.
OSU continued to excel in the batters box with a couple two-out hits.
“We got quality at-bats late in the game and got a lot of two out hits,” Beals said. “Those are big difference makers on the scoreboard, because you either get the two out hit and score the run or you don’t and the innings over.”
The top of batting order has continued to be the offensive leader for the Buckeyes, working off the bats of Sabanosh and sophomore centerfielder Troy Montgomery. Montgomery has hits in 13-consecutive games and has reached base safely in 16-consecutive games, both being the sophomore’s career bests. Sabanosh has also reached base safely in 15-consecutive games.
But the stats are not Sabanosh’s main concern, he said.
“I try not to look at stats or anything. I know when I feel well and I try to just not think at all and play simple baseball,” Sabanosh said. “But it’s always nice to get a couple hits in a game.”
Montgomery added that he too is not concerned with the stats, but more focused on doing his job to help the team win.
“I’m the lead off hitter so anything I can do to get on base, maybe steal some bags and score a few runs then I feel like I’m doing my job,” Montgomery said.
Even though Montgomery and Sabanosh are clicking consistently with their bats, the true success has come from the Buckeyes’ balance across the offense, Beals said.
“All nine spots on our line up got a hit today and that makes it tough on a pitching staff, when you are able to get something all the way top to bottom in your lineup,” he said.
OSU will look to continue their offensive momentum as they take on the Akron Zips on Wednesday at 5:05 p.m.