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Baseball: Ohio State seeks bounce-back weekend against Bethune-Cookman

Ohio State assistant coach Chris Holick (6) embraces and greets players Malik Jones (5), Tyler Cowles (12) and Dominic Canzone (33) after the top of the fifth inning in Ohio State’s 2-1 win against Cal State Northridge in extra innings on Mar. 16 in Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Ebo Amissah-Aggrey | Lantern Reporter

The Ohio State baseball team strives to rebound from a three-loss weekend in Texas.

Ohio State (5-3) will face off against Bethune-Cookman (3-4) in a four-game series in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Buckeyes are coming off a weekend of sloppy baseball that plagued the team, losing three of the four games played.

The team only walked five batters during the first weekend, but 24 runners reached base on balls the second weekend. The Buckeyes also committed seven errors in Texas.  

These statistics showed up on the scoreboard, as Ohio State surrendered more than three times the amount of runs they allowed opening weekend.

“We need to get back to playing clean baseball: throwing strikes, taking care of the baseball, doing the things that need to be consistent on a championship ballclub,” Beals said.

The opening weekend was defined by dominant pitching, which struggled to shine in the second weekend. Sophomore pitcher Griffan Smith, who picked up his second win this season, is not alarmed by the performance of the pitching staff in Texas.

“It’s a long season,” Smith said. “This is the game of baseball. You’re going to give up hits. You’re going to give up runs. Some days you’re not going to have your stuff.”

Echoing this calm mindset, senior left fielder Brady Cherry will lean on his past experiences to help guide the team through rough patches this season. Cherry has been on Buckeye squads that have made the NCAA tournament and on a team that lost more games than it won.

“I can use that kind of experience to help guys, especially if they’re struggling right at the beginning, because I know I have been there a lot in my career,” Cherry said. “Just being able to let them know that it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of the season.”

Cherry, who came into the season batting a career .240, leads the 2019 team with a .379 average. He has also launched three home runs so far this season.

There is opportunity for the Ohio State offense to thrive against a Bethune-Cookman team that is allowing more than 10 runs a game. The Wildcats also have hit 20 batters and thrown 11 wild pitches in only seven games this season.

Junior pitcher Anthony Maldonado has been a bright spot on the mound for the Wildcats, with a 3.27 ERA and nine strikeouts in two starts this season.

On the offensive side, redshirt senior infielder Brandon Wilkes has hit .500 this season to go along with seven RBIs. Wilkes has six of his eight hits and all seven of his RBIs in the past two games.

Overall, the Wildcats are struggling at the plate. The team has a .217 batting average and only two home runs on the season.

Bethune-Cookman has also been severely beaten on the base paths this season. The team has only stolen one base, while allowing 22 stolen bases on 24 attempts.

Ohio State came into this season with a lot of questions that needed answers. The first two weeks have shown the potential of the team, but it also shed light on the inconsistency a young team can bring to the table.

“I’m excited for us to get back out and get into the third weekend of the season and really identify ourselves and how good we’re going to be,” Beals said.

The Buckeyes will begin their series at 7 p.m. Friday. This will be followed by a 6 p.m. Saturday game, a 4 p.m. Sunday contest and a 1 p.m. finale on Monday.

 

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