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Baseball: Ohio State’s bats roar to life in third game for sweep of Penn State

Ohio State sophomore infielder Conner Pohl (39) takes a swing at a pitch in the fourth inning of the game against Ohio University in April 10. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The Ohio State Buckeyes’ pitching staff roared with life in first two games against the Penn State Nittany Lions, surrendering one combined run for a pair of wins.

Then it was the offense’s turn to produce with 11 runs in Game 3 and lead the Buckeyes (24-10, 6-3 Big Ten) to a sweep of the Nittany Lions (7-22, 1-11 Big Ten) in State College, Pennsylvania.

Game 1

Neither offense earned a single run in Friday’s game.

That said, calling the 1-0 Ohio State win a “pitcher’s duel” might be a stretch because although only one runner scored, 24 were left on base.

Ohio State senior closer Seth Kinker entered the one-run game in the sixth inning needing nine outs to deliver the Buckeyes the win and secure his eighth save of the season. Penn State threatened in the ninth after a double by center fielder Jordan Bowersox put runners on second and third with two outs and arguably Penn State’s best hitter, junior catcher Ryan Sloniger, at the plate.

On a full count pitch, Kinker got Sloniger to fly out to center field and seal the victory. It was the sixth time a runner was stranded on third Friday.

An errant throw on a failed pickoff attempt in the fifth inning by Penn State starter Justin Hagenman allowed the lone run to score when Ohio State sophomore right fielder Dominic Canzone scored from second.

That run was Hagenman’s only blemish in 6.2 innings of work.

Junior Connor Curlis started for the Buckeyes and threw 4.2 shutout innings, but walked four batters. Senior Kyle Michalik took over next and picked up the win, his first of the season.

Game 2

Through six innings, Ohio State junior starting pitcher Ryan Feltner showed why he is regarded as one of the Big Ten’s top MLB draft prospects.

He went six shutout innings allowing only five hits and walking just three batters with five strikeouts. The quality start earned him his fourth win of the season as the Buckeyes took a 5-1 game two win.

The bulk of Ohio State’s offense came in the fourth inning. Junior designated hitter Brady Cherry homered for the second time this season as part of a four-run outburst. An error by Penn State left fielder Braxton Giavedoni assisted in the effort and meant two runs were unearned.

Penn State made it a 5-1 game in the eighth on an RBI single by Giavedoni, but Michalik entered for the ninth and retired the Nittany Lions in order to secure the victory.

Game 3

Ohio State head coach Greg Beals mentioned before the series began that he felt Penn State was ripe for Ohio State’s offense. And in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Buckeye offense was finally fruitful.

Sophomore first baseman Conner Pohl and senior left fielder Tyler Cowles combined for seven RBIs in the 19-8 win, with each delivering two-run home runs.

The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 6-3 lead in the third inning after Cowles singled home a pair of runs. Two more runs scored by the end of the frame to extend Ohio State’s lead to 8-3.

Junior Penn State first baseman Shea Sbranti teed off on redshirt senior starter Adam Niemeyer for a three-run bomb in the second inning, and the Nittany Lions brought the game back within three on a two-run single from freshman designated hitter Parker Hendershot in the third.

It was all Ohio State from there.

The Buckeyes added three more in the fourth assisted by the Pohl home run, part of a string of nine unanswered runs.

Niemeyer finished with five earned runs in five innings and earned the win, his third. Redshirt freshman Dante Biasi started for Penn State and fell to 1-5 on the year after allowing seven earned runs in 2.1 innings.

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