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Ohio State baseball tops Liberty, loses next day in extra innings to round out tournament

OSU players Jalen Washington (2), Nick Sergakis (21) celebrate during a game against Toledo on Feb. 19. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

OSU players Jalen Washington (2), Nick Sergakis (21) celebrate during a game against Toledo on Feb. 19. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

After splitting the first two games of the Coastal Carolina Tournament, the Ohio State baseball team finished it just like it started, winning Sunday’s game before falling on Monday in extra innings to finish the tournament 2-2.

Carrying on the momentum from Saturday’s victory over Coastal Carolina, OSU (5-2-1) rode a wave of energy into a three-run first inning against Liberty. The 3-0 lead, however, slowly dwindled over senior John Havird’s second start of the season.

With OSU down 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, though, OSU dug deep and found another win, defeating the Liberty Flames in comeback fashion.

With two outs and senior outfielder Daulton Mosbarger on first base, redshirt junior right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic blasted a two-run bomb to left field, pushing OSU ahead 5-4.

Redshirt sophomore closer Yianni Pavlopoulos then slammed the door on the Flames, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Redshirt sophomore Austin Woodby (1-0) picked up the win for OSU, and the save was Pavlopoulos’ second of the season.

The home run was Bosiokovic’s Big Ten-leading fourth of the season. Bosiokovic also leads the Big Ten in total bases (20) and is tied with Michigan’s Harrison Wenson for RBIs (10).

Sergakis continued his big weekend, going 3-for-4 in the game with an RBI and run scored. OSU’s co-captain also made the defensive play of the game. He dove to stop a sharply hit ball by Liberty senior shortstop Dalton Britt, then jumped up and fired to senior first baseman Troy Kuhn for the second out of the second inning.

The final showdown

Rounding out the four-day tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and needing a win claim the Coastal Carolina Tournament, the Scarlet and Gray faced off one more time against the No. 18 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

OSU received a solid pitching performance from freshman Ryan Feltner and the OSU bullpen, but it all unraveled late.

Over the first eight innings, the combined pitching staff held Coastal Carolina in check, only allowing one run combined between three pitchers.

With OSU up 2-1 heading into the ninth, things seemed to be heading into OSU’s favor for a double dose of upset over the ranked tournament host.

But instead of calling upon his closer, perhaps due to fatigue from pitching the past two days, OSU coach Greg Beals decided to leave Woodby in.

Woodby had already faced 11 batters, striking out four of them in impressive fashion, but Coastal led off with a single from pinch-hitting freshman second baseman Cameron Pearcey.

After a failed bunt attempt was caught by junior co-captain Jalen Washington, and another strikeout by Woodby, OSU needed just one more out for the tournament title.

Coastal senior infielder Zach Remillard had other plans, however, as he rocketed a shot off the 20-foot wall in center field to plate Pearcey for an RBI triple.

The momentum pendulum swung in the Chanticleers direction in extras, as OSU went 1-2-3 in the top of the 10th.

OSU brought in Kinker to get the Buckeyes through another inning and give their offense another shot, but Kinker’s command wasn’t ready for the challenge.

A leadoff single, followed by a sacrifice bunt, gave Coastal Carolina a runner in scoring position with one out. An intentional walk to try to set up a double play backfired, as Kinker walked the next batter to load the bases.

Senior left fielder Anthony Marks then dropped a walk-off single, just in front of Bosiokovic’s diving attempt in left field, to bring around Pearcey and win the game 3-2.

In the loss, Sergakis went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI and a run scored, raising his batting average to a team-high .455.

During the trip, OSU suffered its first two losses of the season but showed its resiliency and ability to compete with the top teams in the nation.

OSU is next scheduled to head to the Snowbird Classic for three games against Seton Hall, Illinois State and Boston College from Friday to Sunday in Port Charlotte, Florida.

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