The Ohio State baseball team scored the most runs (27) over the course of a full weekend series this season against Iowa, but it wasn’t enough as they lost the first and third games of the series to lose the series and fall to 7-14 in the Big Ten. They fall to 12th in the conference.
The Buckeyes dropped the first game on Friday 9-5, but bounced back with a commanding 12-7 win on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the Buckeyes blew a 9-2 lead late in the game, and another 10-9 lead in the ninth inning to lose 11-10 for the series loss.
The offense for the Buckeyes finally seemed to click, thanks in large part to breakout performances from their outfielders. OSU’s trio — junior left fielder Tre’ Gantt, redshirt senior Shea Murray and freshman right fielder Dominic Canzone — went a combined 18-for-40 (.450 batting average) and either scored or drove in 19 of OSU’s total 27 runs. Both Gantt and Canzone extended their hitting streaks to five games.
The Buckeyes offense provided enough run support, but the pitching staff gave up nine runs on 15 hits and the team dropped the first game 9-5.
A squeeze bunt in the second inning had OSU on top early, but junior first baseman Jake Adams bashed his Big Ten-leading 17th home run in the bottom of the third to knot the game up at one.
Another Hawkeye run scored in the fourth before Iowa went on a scoring frenzy in the fifth inning, racking up three runs on three hits and two walks to push their lead to 5-1.
The Buckeyes scored their second run of the game in the top of the sixth off sophomore catcher Jacob Barnwell’s second home run of the season, but Iowa grabbed that run back when Adams grounded into a run-scoring double play in the bottom half of the inning.
An RBI-double in the seventh, followed up by an RBI-groundout and single in the eighth extended Iowa’s lead to 9-2.
With their backs against the wall, the Buckeyes were able to string a couple of hits together in the top of the ninth inning. Senior shortstop Jalen Washington launched a 1-1 fastball over the left field fence with a pair on base to bring the score to 9-5. After the long ball, a walk gave OSU a glimmer of hope before Iowa struck out OSU’s final batter and slammed the door on their victory in game one.
A strong start from sophomore Conner Curlis and a combined seven hits from Gantt and Murray helped the Buckeyes even the series in game two with a 12-7 victory over Iowa.
After Gantt walked with one out in the first, sophomore third baseman Brady Cherry kicked the scoring off with an RBI-double down the right field line to give OSU the early 1-0 lead.
The Buckeyes later loaded the bases in the top of the fourth for redshirt senior center fielder Murray, who singled to right field to drive in a run before freshman second baseman Noah West doubled to the right-center field gap to score two more. Another single by Gantt later in the inning scored Murray and extended the Buckeye lead to 5-0.
Iowa received help from their star first baseman, Adams, in the bottom half of the inning, however, as he homered in his second-consecutive game (18th long ball of the season) to cut into the deficit and draw the score to 5-1.
The Buckeyes were able to get that run back in the top of the fifth with an RBI-walk to West before scoring two more runs off four hits in the sixth inning.
Curlis ran into his first bit of trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning, though. After retiring the first two batters he faced, a throwing error gave Iowa some life. A walk to the next batter set junior third baseman Matt Hoeg up with a golden run-scoring opportunity that he cashed in on with his fourth home run of the season.
Another throwing error in the next inning again helped Iowa set themselves up in a position to put more runs on the board, and three RBI-hits in the inning helped Iowa come within one run of tying OSU.
Entering the ninth, the Buckeyes were looking for insurance in this 8-7 ball game. Murray led off the inning with a home run and Gantt extended the lead with his second RBI of the day with a double to the left-center field gap. Gantt later came around to score on freshman third baseman Conner Pohl’s first collegiate home run, solidifying OSU’s 12-7 victory.
Lost in all the run scoring of Saturday’s game was a solid outing from Curlis. The southpaw allowed just one earned run (three unearned) over six innings of work. Only nine batters reached base against him with six reaching via a hit, two via a walk and one hit by a pitch. He also struck out four batters in this game.
The Hawkeyes came back from an early 9-2 deficit to tie the game up at nine late, and though OSU took a 10-9 lead in the ninth inning, Iowa won the game and the series on a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Both the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes scored a pair of runs in the first inning, but Canzone propelled his team to a 6-2 lead with his first collegiate grand slam in the top half of the second inning.
OSU was able to keep its scoring consistent throughout the game, adding runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings and staking out an early 9-2 lead over Iowa.
I could just say In the bottom of the seventh, Adams, who had been a one-man wrecking ball against OSU, homered in his third straight game. This time it was a three-run home run, bringing his team to within four runs.
The next inning, Iowa strung together a pair of hits to lead off the inning. A strikeout and RBI single later, senior third baseman Corbin Woods hit a three-run home run to tie the game up at nine apiece.
A double from Pohl — his fourth hit of the game — and a pair of walks loaded up the bases for Gantt who lifted a sacrifice fly to score Pohl from third and give the Buckeyes a 10-9 lead.
Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, Adams singled to the left side to put the tying run on base for the Hawkeyes. Then on the first pitch he saw, junior right fielder Robert Neustrom launched a walk-off two-run home run to send the Hawkeyes home victorious with a series-clinching 11-10 win.