It was senior day at Bill Davis Stadium for the Ohio State baseball team, but it was a sophomore who made sure the families left the stadium happy.
With the bases loaded and his team trailing by a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, third baseman Conner Pohl snuck a ground ball under the diving glove of his Purdue counterpart that scored a pair of runs and gave the Buckeyes the 7-6 lead.
It was all Ohio State from there.
Ohio State handed the ball to its most reliable weapon out of the bullpen, senior Seth Kinker, who finished the final three innings while Ohio State added nine more runs to grab the series win with a 16-6 victory against Purdue on Sunday.
Head coach Greg Beals said he’s been involved in plenty of turnarounds before. But this was something else, especially against Purdue’s vaunted bullpen.
“Holy cow. I was cheering, I didn’t realize it was getting to take off like that,” Beals said.
The afternoon did not begin well for Ohio State. Minutes after being honored as the final senior on Ohio State’s senior day, redshirt senior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer served up a base hit on the second pitch of the game.
After a fielder’s choice and a stolen base, Niemeyer issued back-to-back walks before Purdue freshman left fielder Ben Nisle drove a bases-clearing double into the left-center field gap to give the Boilermakers the 3-0 lead.
Though Niemeyer recorded a quick pop-out in the top of the fourth, three straight extra-base hits drove in a pair of runs and chased the redshirt senior from his final home start with his team down 5-1.
Another unearned run scored later in the inning. Niemeyer finished his outing with six runs (five earned) over 3.1 innings with eight hits, two walks and one strikeout.
Senior reliever Austin Woodby came in after Niemeyer and dealt 2.2 shutout innings against Purdue, giving his team a chance and claiming the win in his final home game.
“Austin Woodby can’t get missed in this,” Beals said. “Our offense when we score 16 runs, you’re going to talk about your offense. I think Austin Woodby flipped the switch. When I went to the mound and I told him, that’s what I said, I said, ‘Woody you’re going to calm the waters and let’s change the momentum here right now.”
Ohio State scored two more runs in the fifth inning to cut the Purdue lead to 6-3.
With one run already across in the bottom of the sixth inning and runners on first and second, Canzone squeaked a single past the second and first basemen into right field to drive in a run and make it 6-5 with still just one out.
The Buckeyes added two more insurance runs on a wild pitch and bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-6. They just continued to build on that lead with a seven-run eighth inning, fueled by home runs from sophomore shortstop Noah West and senior designated hitter Noah McGowan.
Ohio State will face Cincinnati at 11 a.m. Tuesday on the road before finishing the regular season with a weekend series against Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan.