Indiana’s potent offense battled off more than a dozen two-strike pitches in its first two innings against Ohio State junior pitcher Connor Curlis, and finally broke through against the Buckeyes’ Friday night starter with a two-run third inning.
Curlis retired the next eight batters, but the damage was done and the Ohio State (25-11, 6-4 Big Ten) offense failed to materialize against No. 8 Indiana (29-6, 7-2 Big Ten) in a 4-0 loss Friday night at Bill Davis Stadium.
Indiana starter Jonathan Stiever, one of the Big Ten’s top MLB draft prospects, entered Friday’s game with a 2.78 ERA and lived up to the billing, firing six strikeouts in seven shutout innings.
“Seemed like he was ahead in the count a lot,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “But I thought we had some fastballs to hit that we didn’t capitalize on.”
The Buckeyes had chances to break through, but went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. They had just five hits and drew four walks.
“We’ve been really, really good all year long with our two-out production,” Beals said. “We just didn’t get them tonight.”
Perhaps Ohio State’s best chance for a run came off the bat of sophomore right fielder Dominic Canzone with two runners on base in the second inning. He smacked a ball out to left field, but it ultimately died into the glove of Indiana’s Matt Gorski at the warning track.
Defensive issues continued to plague the Buckeyes, who surrendered an unearned run in the eighth inning off an errant throw to first from senior third baseman Noah McGowan. Ohio State committed three errors and Curlis threw a wild pitch..
“You could argue we fueled all their run production,” Beals said.
Indiana picked up an insurance run in the sixth by playing small ball, scoring on a successful squeeze play by designated hitter Drew Ashley that brought catcher Ryan Fineman home.
Though the rest of Ohio State’s offense was lacking, sophomore first baseman Conner Pohl extended his hitting streak to 16 games on a first-inning single.