Midweek games are typically where Power Five teams thrive against smaller mid-major teams. But OSU has struggled to get anything going offensively across these past two midweek games, falling to Eastern Michigan 3-1 Wednesday, a day after losing to Cincinnati.
A visibly frustrating loss for the Buckeyes, the team spent nearly 30 minutes in left field after the loss in the huddle with coach Greg Beals going over the game.
“We’ve got to do better offensively. That’s where I’m willing to share with you,” Beals said when asked about what he discussed in the meeting.
The first batter of the game reached first base on an error, setting the tone for a long inning for OSU redshirt junior Austin Woodby. The Buckeyes’ starting pitcher was able to strike out the next batter, but a double gave the Eagles a pair of runners in scoring position with only one away.
Senior right fielder John Montgomery grounded a single through the right side of the infield, scoring both runners on base and capitalizing on the Buckeyes’ early mistake.
OSU eventually found the scoreboard, however, in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners on first and second and two out, junior designated hitter Conner Pohl lined a base hit over the right side of the infield, scoring the runner from second and giving OSU their first run of the evening.
In the final inning, the Eagles tacked on a run off a solo home run from sophomore first baseman John Rensel Jr, bringing the score to 3-1.
The team was coming off a pair of wins on Sunday against Big Ten rival Penn State, one win of the ninth-inning-comeback variety and another a blowout. Beals said he hoped his team would be able to carry that momentum through this week into their next conference matchup, but that a deflating loss like this can siphon off any energy they harvested over the weekend.
“We had a comeback win and then we had an all-Buckeye win and it was a good day on Sunday,” Beals said. “I was hoping to be able to carry that momentum as opposed to build momentum, just maintain that momentum and help that confidence, that good feeling that we had on Sunday, keep that good feeling going.”
The problem with the team right now is hitting, Beals said, coming off only two runs scored spread across two midweek games. And for his team to start clicking again, they will need to continue to mix some things up until they find a winning combination.
“We’ve got to keep mixing up what we’re doing to find the right thing and it’s not necessarily as much from a personnel standpoint as much as it is what’s going to spark this team and sometimes there’s personnel decisions to help spark the team and other things that we do from a preparation standpoint to help spark the team,” Beals said.
The Buckeyes will try and find a win against the second Michigan-based team they play this week when they travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to face Michigan State over the weekend. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.