A laser beamed through the twilight and over the right field fence at Bill Davis Stadium off the bat of Ohio State sophomore third baseman Conner Pohl.
It was the final rocket of the bat of a Buckeye in an explosive six-run fourth inning for the Ohio State baseball team (17-7), which propelled Ohio State from there to a 19-4 victory against Toledo (6-15) Wednesday night.
Pohl finished the game 3-3 with a career-high six RBIs and a home run. McGowan went 3-3 with a double and two RBIs.
“[Toledo pitcher Nolan Silberhorn] came in and he was throwing all fastballs. He didn’t throw one curveball in his warmups,” Pohl said. “He actually threw a curveball to start off, and he hung it, and he kept it high and inside and that’s exactly where I like it.”
After senior first baseman Noah McGowan jump-started the Ohio State offense with a double just inside the line in the second inning, Toledo pitcher Jacob Youngpeter appeared shaken. He hit Pohl with a pitch after going ahead 0-2, threw a passed ball the next batter and walked the bases loaded with one out.
Junior Jacob Barnwell came through with a two-run single for the Buckeyes, and Dominic Canzone hit a sacrifice fly to score another run two batters later. The score stood 3-1 after two innings.
Rockets sophomore Layne Schnitz-Paxton came on in the bottom of the third inning and fared even worse than Youngpeter, surrendering six earned runs in 1.1 innings with three walks.
Despite Ohio State’s offensive output, Toledo actually struck first Wednesday after a pair of singles and a passed ball advanced runners to second and third with only one out in the opening frame. Junior center fielder Ross Adolph came through with a groundout to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead. But it was all downhill from there.
A lot of Ohio State’s reserves saw action thanks to the overwhelming lead the Buckeyes possessed.
“That means our everyday guys had a really good day,” coach Greg Beals said. “Those guys that got in the game, they practice, they work just as hard as everyone else, and it’s nice to be able to throw them a bone every now and then.”
Sophomore Jake Vance started on the mound for Ohio State and pitched 4.1 innings with an unearned run and three strikeouts. With the win, his record improved to 2-1.
“I was just trying to command the fastball, threw some pretty good changeups, some pretty good curveballs here and there,” Vance said.
Toledo’s pitching staff overall was sloppy, issuing 13 walks, a balk, a wild pitch and a hit batter across its eight pitchers.
Ohio State freshman Griffan Smith, redshirt senior Yianni Pavlopoulos and redshirt junior Thomas Waning combined for 2.2 innings of shutout pitching in relief of Vance before the Rockets finally broke through with three runs in the eighth produced mostly by bench players.
Ohio State built upon its lead further in the fifth with 10 batters registering at-bats and scoring five runs, aided by RBI singles from Pohl and junior shortstop Kobie Foppe, making it 15-1.