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Baseball: Ohio State edges out Hawaii for fourth straight win

Ohio State senior Nate Romans (7) swings at home plate in the Buckeyes’ home opener against the Lipscomb Bison on March 15, 2019 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The Lantern

Home runs and relief pitching helped Ohio State to its fourth straight win.

Ohio State (12-10) defeated Hawaii (9-13) 6-5 Friday to extend its win streak. The power of junior right fielder Dominic Canzone set the tone for the Buckeyes, while the steady pitching of freshman pitcher Bayden Root secured the game.

“I really liked the competitiveness of our at bats and where we are offensively right now,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said.

Canzone had three hits, including his fifth and sixth home runs of the season, and three runs in the game.

“My teammates have had my back all year. Struggled a little bit at first, but starting to get in the groove again,” Canzone said. “It’s a lot easier when there are guys hitting all over the place.”

Root provided more than three innings of solid relief pitching for the Buckeyes, finishing the game with three strikeouts and no runs allowed, earning his second win of the season.

“I started to feel really, really good. Got in a really good rhythm. Had a good tempo. I was very comfortable out there,” Root said.

To lead off the bottom of the first inning for the Buckeyes, Canzone blasted a home run over the centerfield wall to open up the scoring.

On the first pitch of the bottom of the third inning, Canzone continued his success, hitting his second home run of the game over the right field wall to move the score to 2-0.

After sophomore center fielder opened the fourth inning with a single, senior designated hitter Kobie Foppe delivered a deep single to second base that brought him in, making the score 3-0.

The Rainbow Warriors cracked the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a one-out single by freshman center fielder Scotty Scott. Calicdan was able to hit a ball to centerfield to score the runner from third, and a fielding error from Dingler allowed the runner at first to score and tie the game at three.

After a walk and wild pitch, runners were on second and third with one out. A sacrifice fly ball from senior third baseman Ethan Lopez gave the Rainbow Warriors the 4-3 lead.

Smith would finish the game with four runs allowed and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings pitched.

“He was cruising there through the first four innings,” Beals said. “In that fifth inning, he just kind of wore down a little bit.”

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, a high fly ball from Cherry was carried by the wind over the right field wall to even up the game, giving him his fifth home run of the season.

“I got a decent barrel on it,” Cherry said. “Just a little bit underneath but had some decent backspin, and obviously a little help from the wind.”

Further damage was prevented, as Duarte recorded the final out by way of a diving catch made on a line drive hit down the middle.  

The defense was able to make big plays all game, according to Root..

“When you got guys like that behind you picking it, it just gives you so much confidence as a pitcher,” Root said.

Canzone was able to continue his red-hot game with a double ripped to the right field wall. Redshirt junior second baseman Matt Carpenter was able to send a bunt down the right field line to put runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the seventh.

A wild pitch allowed Carpenter to move over to second. With one out, junior first baseman Conner Pohl was able to hit a sacrifice fly ball to left field to allow Canzone to score and give Ohio State a 5-4 lead.

Freshman shortstop Zach Dezenzo was able to deliver a two-out single that brought Carpenter in from second base, extending the lead to two runs after seven innings.

Scott was able to open up the final inning for Hawaii with a single up the middle. A walk the following at bat put two runners on with no outs.

A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, and a groundout by Lopez allowed a run to score. With the score at 6-5 and two outs, Pfennig was able to strikeout the final batter and strand the tying run at third.

This was Pfennig’s first save of the season.

Ohio State will play game three against Hawaii at 3:05 p.m. Saturday at Bill Davis Stadium.

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