Ohio State redshirt senior pitcher Adam Niemeyer had been through this game before. Navigating through the loser’s bracket of the 2016 Big Ten Tournament, the right-handed pitcher started Ohio State’s 11-4 win over Michigan to continue its championship run.
As the Buckeyes faced another elimination game against the Wolverines in the 2018 tournament, Niemeyer took the mound again, coming to the same result with No. 7 Ohio State defeating No. 3 Michigan 5-3 on Friday afternoon.
In the first meeting between Ohio State and Michigan in 2018, Niemeyer allowed one run on five hits, walking one batter with five strikeouts.
Even though the Wolverine offense had opportunities to score, Niemeyer and the rest of the pitching staff limited its production with runners on base, allowing three hits in 20 plate appearances with runners on.
The first time through the order, Ohio State could not get anything going against Michigan left-handed starter Ben Dragani. With only two base runners, including one walk, the Buckeyes recorded five flyouts in the first two innings of the game, striking out only once.
As the lineup turned over, so did the outlook for the Ohio State offense. Starting with sophomore designated hitter Dominic Canzone hitting a double down the left field line, the Buckeyes recorded four hits on four consecutive pitches, scoring their first two runs of the day on an RBI double by senior left fielder Tyler Cowles and an RBI single by senior right fielder Noah McGowan respectively.
After a three-run sixth inning, including senior first baseman Bo Coolen’s first home run of the season, the Buckeyes finished the day with five runs on nine hits, hitting .364 with runners in scoring position.
Michigan cut Ohio State’s lead down to two in the seventh inning on a two-RBI single by Brock Keener. However, senior right-handed pitcher Seth Kinker closed the door on Michigan with 1.2 scoreless innings.
Ohio State will face No. 1 Minnesota in the tournament semifinal at 10 a.m. Saturday.