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Baseball: Ohio State splits doubleheader, wins series against No. 24 Michigan

Ohio State junior outfielder Dominic Canzone (33) celebrates after making it to third base during the game against Michigan on April 12. Ohio State won 10-5. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Ohio State (20-17, 4-5 Big Ten) takes the series, but split the Saturday doubleheader against No. 24 Michigan (24-11, 5-3 Big Ten) in front of a crowd of 4,841, the largest in over a decade.

Game 1

Ohio State used explosive bats to cruise to a win and secure the series victory.

The Buckeyes (20-16, 4-4 Big Ten) jumped on No. 24 Michigan (23-11, 4-3 Big Ten),finishing with a 10-4 victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. They utilized the long ball to get after the usually dominant Michigan pitching staff.

“We swung the bats really, really well,” head coach Greg Beals said. “We beat their pitching staff for two games.”

The Buckeyes would finish the game with three home runs and 12 hits.

The game was completely blown open after a three-run home run from redshirt senior center fielder Ridge Winand made the lead 8-0 in the third inning. It was Winand’s first home run of his career, capping off a six-run third inning for the Buckeyes.

“As I was rounding the bases, all that hard work felt like it paid off, and it was against the Team Up North which is awesome,” Winand said.

Junior right fielder Dominic Canzone continued his success against the Wolverines. The co-captain would make is imprint on the game with a solo shot, his ninth home run on the year, off the scoreboard in right-center field in the bottom of the third inning.

Canzone would finish with three hits and two RBI. In his career, Canzone has recorded multiple hits in five of his six games against Michigan.

“Big time players got to play in big time games, and Dom Canzone certainly proved that this weekend,” Beals said.

Ohio State redshirt freshman pitcher Seth Lonsway was not his usual dominant self, finishing the day with four strikeouts, his lowest total since his start against Furman on March 11. Despite the uncharacteristic low number of strikeouts, the redshirt freshman was able to go 5.2 innings and allow only three runs in his fifth win of the season.

“We went freshman Lonsway and freshman Pfennig for a victory, so it bodes well for the future and bodes well for these guys growing for the rest of the season,” Beals said.

Junior pitcher Karl Kauffmann came into Saturday’s game with a 2.29 ERA, Michigan’s best, with an average start length of over six innings.

Kauffmann would finish the game with the worst start of his career in terms of runs allowed, giving up a career-high eight runs in 5.1 innings of work.

The Buckeyes were also able to balloon Kauffmann’s career home runs allowed from three to six.

In the bottom of the second inning, Ohio State freshman shortstop Zach Dezenzo, who came into the day with five home runs, was able to crush a two-run home run to center field to open up the scoring. This was the first home run surrendered by Kauffmann this season.

Following Canzone’s home run, a triple from senior left fielder Brady Cherry pushed home the fourth run of the game for Ohio State. Cherry would be knocked in on a single to right field from junior first baseman Conner Pohl.

The Wolverines were able to cut into the deficit, after senior first baseman Jimmy Kerr’s two-out double cleared the bases to make the score 8-3 in the sixth inning.

Canzone continued his hot hitting against the Wolverines with an RBI-double to right centerfield in the bottom of the sixth inning.

A no doubter by Michigan sophomore designated hitter Jordan Nwogu over the left-center field wall made the game 9-4 in the seventh inning.

This would be the only damage done against freshman pitcher Will Pfennig. The right-hander would go 3.1 innings in relief and strike out six to earn his second save of the season.

“Will Pfennig is able to use his breaking ball, and command his ball to both sides of the plate,” Beals said.

Ohio State outscored the Wolverines 20-9 in the first two games of the series.

Game 2

Stellar pitching cooled Ohio State bats and carried Michigan to series-finale win.

Ohio State (20-17, 4-5 Big Ten) fell 6-2 to Michigan (24-11, 5-3 Big Ten) in the second game of the doubleheader. After allowing 10 runs in each of the first two games, the Wolverines settled in to limit Ohio State’s potent offense.

Michigan sophomore pitcher Jeff Criswell would put on the best pitching performance of any Michigan starter against Ohio State. He would go 6.2 innings, tying his longest outing, and allow only two runs.

“They got good arms,” Beals said. “They have good, lively fastballs, and they attack with the fastballs.”

Ohio State sophomore pitcher Griffan Smith has not won a game since March 3 against Bethune-Cookman. Smith’s last start was a career-high six innings pitched in a no-decision against Northwestern.

Smith was unable to collect a win against Michigan, finishing with six strikeouts, one off his career high, but allowed four runs in five innings of work and earned his second loss of the season.

Michigan struck first in the second inning with a solo home run by junior designated hitter Dominic Clementi, his first home run on the year. The junior emphasized the run by stomping on home plate, which would begin a four-inning stretch of scoring for the Wolverines.

In the fourth, a triple by senior second baseman Ako Thomas pushed Michigan’s lead to three.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Buckeyes were able to stop the bleeding with Dezenzo scoring from first base after a fielding error in left field.

Canzone was able to bring home a second run after a groundout to shortstop brought home Winand.

Canzone would extend his on-base streak to 33 games. The co-captain is now hitting .540 against Michigan in his career.

“I just wanted to do everything I could for my brothers,” Canzone said. “That Team Up North isn’t coming in here and taking series from us.”

The Wolverines would go on to score two more runs in the final four innings.

This is the first home loss against Michigan for Beals. He is now 8-1 at home against the Wolverines.

The Buckeyes will return to the diamond Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. when they host Xavier.

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