Tyler Cowles tried to set the tone early on for the Ohio State offense. In the third at-bat of the game against the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Patrick Fredrickson, the senior left fielder hit a solo home run, extending his 14-game hitting streak and giving the Buckeyes the 1-0 lead.
However, as Fredrickson found his groove, so too did the offense of No. 1 Minnesota, defeating No. 7 Ohio State 8-1, eliminating the Buckeyes from the 2018 Big Ten Tournament.
The Golden Gophers broke through for their first lead of the game in the sixth inning as designated hitter Toby Hanson hit an RBI triple. As Ohio State brought four pitchers in during the sixth, trying to stop the bleeding, but Minnesota continued to pile on, scoring six runs on five hits and four walks to extend its lead to 7-1.
That was more than enough for Fredrickson. In six innings of work, Fredrickson allowed one run on two hits, walking two batters with one strikeout.
As Fredrickson dealt, Ohio State pitching continued to get out of high pressure situations early in the game. Starting his fifth game of the 2018 season, redshirt senior Yianni Pavlopoulos allowed five hits and three walks in three innings of work.
Inheriting a bases loaded situation with no outs in the fourth inning, left-handed freshman pitcher Griffan Smith recorded two flyouts, allowing Minnesota to tie the game, but struck out left fielder Ben Mezzenga to strand two runners.
Even with five hits and four walks, Minnesota stranded nine runners on base through the first five innings, recording two hits in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.
With Ohio State coming into Saturday’s game with a No. 34 RPI ranking, the Buckeyes will now need to wait to learn of their fate with the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament Bracket scheduled to be announced at noon Monday on ESPNU.