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Baseball: Early walks doom Ohio State in 9-5 loss against Cincinnati

Junior pitcher Jake Vance (3), delivers a pitch during Ohio State’s game against Hawaii on March 24 at Nick Swisher Field. The Buckeyes came up short and lost the contest 3-15. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The Lantern

Cincinnati dominated in all facets of Wednesday’s game to give Ohio State its first pair of consecutive losses since March 3-12, when the team lost five in a row.

The game was defined by the difference in starting pitching success. Ohio State (16-13, 2-1 Big Ten) was outplayed by Cincinnati (11-16, 3-3 American Athletic) in a 9-5 defeat.

“The story is their starting pitcher had the best night of his year. Our starting pitcher had the worst night of his year,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said.

Cincinnati redshirt senior pitcher David Orndorff had Tommy John surgery last year, cutting his fourth year short. In Orndorff’s two previous starts this season, he went a combined seven innings and allowed eight runs.

Against Ohio State, the righty rediscovered some of the success he had prior to his surgery. Orndorff was able to go six innings, his most this season, in his first win of the season.

He would only allow three runs on three hits, tallying a season-high four strikeouts.

Ohio State junior pitcher Jake Vance had struggled to find his footing in the month of March. In three of his four starts for the month, he allowed five or more runs and has not gone beyond 5.1 innings pitched.

In his last start of March, however, he was able to right the ship a bit. He had a season-high six innings pitched, and he collected his first win since Feb. 17.

He was unable to continue this momentum against Cincinnati.

The righty struggled to find the zone, throwing 28 balls to only 18 strikes. Vance would go on to walk five and hit two batters.

Vance would finish the game with six runs allowed in only 1.1 innings of work. He moved to 2-2 on the season.

“Vance didn’t have his best day today, but he’s going to come back and be even better than he was today,” freshman pitcher TJ Brock said.

After two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases for the Bearcats to open the game, two groundouts and throwing out a runner attempting to steal allowed the Buckeyes to escape the inning with only a one-run deficit.

For the second consecutive inning, the Bearcats loaded the bases without tallying a hit. When Cincinnati’s first hit did come, however, it was a two-run single from junior second baseman Jace Mercer to make the score 3-0.

Junior shortstop Joey Bellini was able to single to shortstop to balloon the score to 4-0. Bellini would finish the game with three hits and an RBI.

By the time the top half of the second inning concluded, the Bearcats were able to add on two more runs.

The Buckeyes were able to draw blood in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI double to left center field by junior right fielder Dominic Canzone.

Canzone was able to continue his success at home with two hits and two runs. The co-captain is now hitting .385 at home this season.

“That’s who he is. Dom is doing what Dom does right now,” Beals said.

An RBI groundout by senior second baseman Kobie Foppe and a sacrifice fly from senior left fielder Brady Cherry made the score 6-3 in favor of the Bearcats after three innings.

Cincinnati would push the score to 7-3 after a wild pitch brought home Mercer. Mercer would finish the game with three runs and two RBIs.

This run would be the only damage done against Brock. He was called in to relieve Vance, and allowed only three hits in 3.2 innings of work.

“Just tried to hold the runs down and do something for the team,” Brock said. “I was really happy with what I did.”

The Bearcats would add two more runs before the conclusion of the game. The nine runs wasr the most runs scored by Cincinnati away from home this season.

The Buckeyes showed some fight late by loading the bases with no outs in the eighth inning, and a sacrifice fly and a pair of walks brought home two runs.

With the score at 9-5 and the bases loaded, redshirt sophomore designated hitter Brent Todys poked a ball with enough distance for a grand slam, but the ball traveled a few feet right of the right-field pole.

“We’re five-to-10 feet from a tie ball game,” Beals said.

The Buckeyes will continue Big Ten play at 6:35 p.m. Friday against Northwestern.

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