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Baseball: Ohio State splits four-game series in Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge

Ohio State junior starting pitcher Connor Curlis delivers a pitch against University Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Snowbird Classic on Feb. 16, 2018. Ohio State won 11-7. Credit: Courtesy of Press Pros Magazine.

The Ohio State baseball team rode 35 combined runs in its first three games in Surprise, Arizona, to capture two of its first three in the Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge.

In game four the bats cooled off in the desert, and after getting shut out by No. 2 Oregon State (8-0, 0-0 Pac-12) on Saturday, the Buckeyes (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten) finished the road trip with an even two wins and two losses. Ohio State won both game against Utah (0-6).

Defense was of significant concern for the Buckeyes across the four games, with a total of 12 errors on the weekend.

Game 1: Utah

Ohio State already had a 4-0 lead in the opening frame when sophomore right fielder Dominic Canzone stepped up to the plate for his second time that inning, this trip with the bases loaded. He saw a 1-0 pitch he liked and smacked it into left, scoring a pair of runs as part of a seven-run opening inning for the Buckeyes Thursday.

It was more than enough offense to get Ohio State past Utah 7-2.

Junior Connor Curlis took the hill to start for the Buckeyes and pitched well, surrendering just one earned run in 5.1 innings with five strikeouts. He received credit for the win, his first of the season.

Game 2: Oregon State

The Buckeyes held a 6-4 advantage over the No. 2 Oregon State Beavers leading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Beavers came back with six runs in the frame aided by a pair of errors by Ohio State junior second baseman Brady Cherry.

Ohio State attempted a comeback in the final at-bat, scoring two runs in the top of the ninth, one from third baseman Conner Pohl’s second home run of the day, but Oregon State was able to hold on for the 10-8 victory against the Buckeyes.

Junior starting pitcher Ryan Feltner opened the game on the hill, going six innings and giving up four earned runs. Senior reliever Seth Kinker took his first loss on the year after surrendering six runs in the eighth inning — none of them earned.

The Ohio State defense committed four errors in the game.

Game 3: Utah

A 20-run offensive explosion propelled Ohio State to a second win, 20-13, against Utah Saturday in Surprise, Arizona.

Five different hitters had at least three hits for the Buckeyes in the game, including a 5-for-7, four-RBI day from senior right fielder Noah McGowan, who hit his third home run of the season during the contest. This marked the seventh straight game with an RBI for the Ohio State right fielder. Canzone had a 4-for-6 day with two RBIs and his third stolen base on the year. Senior left fielder Tyler Cowles went 3-for-6 with a pair of RBIs.

Redshirt senior pitcher Adam Niemeyer started the game for the Buckeyes, going four innings and giving up six runs, four of them earned. Redshirt senior Curtiss Irving (1-0) was credited with the win after a scoreless eighth inning in relief.

Game 4: Oregon State

Ohio State might have kept it close with Oregon State in the initial meeting Friday, but on Sunday, Oregon State sophomore pitcher Grant Gambrell took the hill and delivered seven shutout innings. He retired a dozen hitters by strikeout.

It was more than enough for the Beavers to notch a 6-1 win over the Buckeyes . The Beavers found six runs despite losing their best hitter, junior second baseman Nick Madrigal, before the game with a broken wrist.

Redshirt senior pitcher Yianni Pavlopoulos (1-1) got the start for the Buckeyes and pitched four innings giving up six runs, only two of them earned after a pair of errors by senior first baseman Bo Coolen.

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