As Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel once said, “Now there’s three things that can happen in a ball game: you can win, you can lose, or it can rain.”
After a week of rainouts, the Ohio State baseball team experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in its weekend series against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, completing Stengel’s trifecta.
The Rebels snapped the Buckeyes’ six-game winning streak on Saturday before making it two straight OSU losses on Sunday.
Sunday’s game went scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when UNLV took a five-run lead. The Buckeyes responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the fifth, but the Rebels added two more in the sixth on their way to a 7-4 win.
“It was a costly loss today and we had an opportunity to put ourselves in good position this weekend and we lost ground on that,” OSU coach Greg Beals said in a press release. “UNLV pitched the ball pretty well against us, but I also think our hitters need to stay more offensive.”
Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 loss was the Buckeyes’ first defeat at home since March 20 against Michigan State.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, senior catcher Aaron Gretz lit the spark for the Buckeyes, smashing his first career home run to the tie the contest at 2-2. But that wouldn’t be enough to spark the Buckeyes as the bats stayed stagnant for the remainder of the matchup.
“Baseball is a game of failures. You’re going to fail seven out of 10 times. The important thing is we still have confidence in our team,” sophomore outfielder Troy Montgomery said.
Beals said his team played well despite coming up short in key situations.
“We had an unfortunate error to allow them to get the go-ahead run and (senior outfielder) Pat Porter barely misses a ball that would have given us the lead in the previous inning, too,” Beals said in a press release. “Their pitchers did a really good job of pitching ahead in the count.”
On Friday, the Buckeyes won their fourth walk-off in five games, and seventh this season. It was the Troys of the team who once again lead the Buckeyes in the ninth to their victory. Montgomery led off with a double to left-center to get the bats started before moving to third after senior catcher Connor Sabanosh grounded out.
After an intentional walk on Porter, junior infielder Troy Kuhn hit a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line, allowing the speedy Montgomery to score the winning run.
“Our team chemistry is the best since I’ve been here,” Kuhn said. “We play for each other, and this has been a lot of fun lately.”
The Buckeyes are set to return to Bill Davis Stadium on Tuesday to take on Louisville at 7 p.m.