Ohio State sophomore right fielder Dominic Canzone was looking to do what his team had done all day: remain patient at the plate.
Standing in the batter’s box with the bases loaded and two outs, he did not have to do anything.
Left-handed pitcher Andrew Witczak threw a wild pitch past the catcher, scoring junior outfielder Malik Jones for the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, leading Ohio State (31-15, 11-7) to the 10-6 victory against Campbell (26-20, 17-5) in the first game of the final homestand of the season.
WIth 10 hits in the three-run win, many of the Buckeyes’ baserunners came via walk, recording 12 walks, the fourth-time that Ohio State has had a double-digit walk total in a game this season.
Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said this is the mentality for the Fighting Camels pitching staff.
“This team, if you look at their line, they strike guys out and they walk guys They pitch tough, so you got to make sure that you are sitting in there, making sure you are getting the pitch you want to hit,” Beals said. “Don’t go chasing early. They are going to try and strike you out, so that means they are going to nibble a lot and miss some, so we got some free bases.”
Offensively, the Buckeyes did not have much to work with early in the game. After Canzone hit a ground ball for the first out, right-handed starter Michael Barefoot walked three straight batters, ending his day on the mound after four batters.
With the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, freshman center fielder Dillon Dingler scored the first run of the game for Ohio State on an RBI single. Junior designated hitter Brady Cherry added another run for the Buckeyes on a bases-loaded walk.
However, the Campbell offense saw the ball well against freshman left-handed pitcher Griffan Smith early on. In his first career home start, the second collegiate start of his career, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound pitcher allowed six runs on seven hits in two innings including two RBI doubles by left fielder Jeff Hahs.
When redshirt senior pitcher Kyle Michalik entered the game in the third inning, he know what his role had to be for the rest of the game.
“One guy struggles and another guys is there to pick him up and go as long as we can,” Michalik said. “Games are never out of reach for this team. We battle, we fight, so you can go in if we are down four runs or if we are down more, this team is going to keep fighting.”
In four innings — the longest outing of his career — the right-hander set down the 12 batters he faced, striking out three. Along with redshirt senior Austin Woodby and senior Seth Kinker, the Ohio State bullpen combined to allow just two hits and strike out six in seven innings of work.
Beals said he views all three pitchers as examples to younger pitchers, such as Smith.
“Those guys, Mihalik and Woodby and Kinker are comfortable in competition,” Beals said. “The reason why they are comfortable are because they have a great identity in who they are and how they are going to go about getting guys out. It’s one thing to have identity, it’s another thing to get guys out and they were able to do both tonight.”
With seven shutout innings from the bullpen, the Ohio State offense came to life in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on four hits, including an RBI triple by sophomore shortstop Noah West.
The Buckeyes added three more runs in the eighth inning with four hits, including two RBI doubles by sophomore first baseman Connor Pohl and senior outfielder Tyler Cowles.
Ohio State will finish the two-game set with Campbell on Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium.