Seth Kinker has been one of the more reliable arms out of the Ohio State bullpen during the 2018 season. Coming into the Buckeyes’ second NCAA Tournament in the past three seasons with a 1.49 ERA and a .213 batting average against, the senior right-hander threw 4.2 shutout innings in the Big Ten Tournament, allowing two hits while striking out seven.
However, Kinker’s outing in the opening game of the Greenville regional was much different with the right-hander’s blown save resulting in No. 3 Ohio State falling to No. 2 South Carolina 8-3.
Coming in to protect a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, the second-team All American allowed five runs on seven hits, including a three-run home run to South Carolina center fielder Danny Blair.
After allowing four earned runs in Ohio State’s Big Ten tournament-opening loss to Purdue, left-handed starter Connor Curlis shut down the Gamecock offense. Curlis began the game with three no-hit innings, allowing only just one base runner on a walk in the third inning.
South Carolina outfielder Carlos Cortes hit a single to begin the fourth inning, but Curlis escaped without any damage done. In six innings of work, the left-hander allowed four hits and two walks, stranding all six runners on base, including five after the fourth inning.
Freshman Dillon Dingler put the Buckeyes on the board first in the second inning with a solo home run. Ohio State had many opportunities offensively moving forward, stranding the bases loaded in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Dingler was not done though. In the seventh inning, after sophomore third baseman Connor Pohl hit a two-out single, advancing to second on a passed ball, the center fielder hit an RBI double, extending Ohio State’s two-run lead.
Coming into the game with a .246 batting average, Dingler finished the day with two hits in five at-bats, driving in two of Ohio State’s three runs.
Moving to the elimination bracket in the Greenville regional, No. 3 Ohio State will face the loser of No. 1 East Carolina and No. 4 UNC Wilmington at noon Saturday.