Seth Lonsway had begun a trend through his first five starts of the season.
In each of his odd-numbered outings, the redshirt freshman had allowed one run, striking out 25 in 16.1 innings of work. However, in his second and fourth start of the year, control became the issue, walking eight and allowing 10 earned runs in six innings pitched.
But coming out for his sixth start of the year, the odd-numbered mentality continued, as Lonsway helped Ohio State (13-10) to its fifth straight win, a 7-5 victory against Hawaii (9-14) on Saturday.
Lonsway recorded his second straight start of at least six innings of work, allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks. The redshirt freshman struck out nine, his most in a game since March 1.
“His breaking ball’s nasty, when he is able to utilize it, he’s going to be tough because the fastball has a little life,” Beals said.
For Lonsway, he said his approach is to not overthink things on the mound, using his three-pitch arsenal to get hitters out in a consistent fashion.
“I try and be as consistent as possible,” Lonsway said. “We are figuring some things out and trying to be better than the previous start, not trying to do too much on the mound, but trying to command all three pitches and establishing first-pitch strikes.”
Despite facing Hawaii redshirt junior pitcher Dylan Thomas, the former first-team All-Big West member as a closer, Ohio State’s offense, which has scored 12 runs and 19 hits in the previous two games against the Rainbow Warriors, continued its hot streak.
Senior left fielder Brady Cherry gave the Buckeyes their first run of the game in the fourth, hitting a first-pitch fastball well over the center field wall for his sixth home run of the season.
Cherry recorded two hits in three at bats for the Buckeyes, recording his 20th and 21st RBIs of the season.
However, his first at bat did not go as planned. Watching four or five sliders, he struck out. But he knew what Thomas would use in his second at bat, taking advantage on the home run to center.
“Wasn’t really sitting on it, but it looked really good and put a good swing on it,” Cherry said.
The Buckeyes continued their rally, with junior first baseman Conner Pohl and sophomore catcher Dillon Dingler each recording a single, advancing to second and third, respectively, after a throwing error by Hawaii redshirt sophomore left fielder Daylen Calicdan.
Ohio State freshman center fielder Nolan Clegg drove both in, hitting a single to left field, extending the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-0.
Despite allowing two runs in the top of the inning, the Ohio State offense was not done, recording four runs on five hits and an error before recording an out in the fifth, chasing Thomas from the game.
Thomas allowed seven runs, five earned, in four-plus innings of work, giving up 11 hits and striking out six in his third loss of the season.
“I thought it was big for us to beat [Thomas],” Beals said. “They feel like this is the way to use them and we were able to beat their best guy, bodes well for us heading into tomorrow’s game.”
Hawaii began to chip away at its deficit in the sixth inning, adding one run on a single by junior second baseman Jack Kennelly. But Lonsway forced a flyout to shortstop, stranding runners on second and third.
In the fifth inning, Rainbow Warriors shortstop Maaki Yamazaki reached after Lonsway overthrew Pohl at first base, advancing to third and scoring the first run of the game on a ground out by junior second baseman Jack Kennelly.
After Hawaii freshman center fielder Scotty Scott hit a double and Calicidan added a single, the Rainbow Warriors cut its deficit to one after a wild pitch by Lonsway, scoring Scott from third.
In relief of Lonsway, junior pitcher Joe Gahm allowed two runs in the seventh inning on a walk and two singles in the seventh inning.
For Cherry, the offensive consistencies for Ohio State is more than just putting up as many runs on the board as the team can. It’s about making the Buckeyes’ pitching staff more comfortable on the mound, allowing them to pitch with the lead.
“Pitching with a lead is a lot easier than pitching in a tie game or a close game,” Cherry said. “If we can put runs on the board and play good defense, it should give pitchers a lot more confidence to go out there and throw strikes, stay relaxed and enjoy themselves too.”
Ohio State will end its four-game series against Hawaii at Bill Davis Stadium Sunday at 1:05 p.m.