Junior Jacob Bosiokovic is writing a new story at Ohio State, one that include the long ball in clutch situations. The junior right fielder was a one-man gang in win over Niagara.
VERO BEACH, Fla.—He was on his way to batting practice. It was Saturday around noon. His step was light and confident. He had the look of someone who had proven something to him self – and others.
The previous night in Ohio State’s season-opening 7-1 win over Toledo here in the Dodgertown Classic, Jacob Bosiokovic had a statement game. He homered in his first at-bat and was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, including an impressive dash from first to home on Nick Sergakis’ fifth inning single and a throwing error.
He’d shown speed, power and proficiency in right field battling winds that railed from right-to-left.
“I’m relieved. That’s the best way to put it,” he said. “But the thing for me is I have to keep it up. I’ve always been a guy that runs hot and cold… I’ve got to keep this up.”
It was a personal imperative and he lived up to it.
Saturday night against Niagara, Bosiokovic slammed two home runs, a two-run shot to tie the game in the seventh and a walk-off, three run shot to give Ohio State a 10-7 win over Niagara.
He was surrounded at the plate and celebrated in the stands. “Bo-Zee”, as he is known by teammates and coaches, had rescued his team from a tawdry performance that included five errors, three in one inning—some understandable, some just plain silly—which led to two unearned runs, as well as some spotty pitching by Adam Niemeyer and reliever Seth Kinker.
“This is great,” said senior captain Nick Sergakis. “It’s huge for him and huge for us. That is gonna help him—that right there.”
The question at that point—after such a dramatic finish and long game (3:23)—was whether or not the Buckeyes would have anything left for the nightcap of their doubleheader against Pitt.
The adrenaline spent and the celebration among his teammates was as much about Bosiokovic’s success as it was about the win.
They know this guy. They know what he’s been through: a tough transition to college ball, changing positions in Columbus—from short to third—where the ball got on him much quicker, where he faltered, first in the field and later at the plate. They knew about the elbow injury that cost him all of the 2015 season, and the natural worry he experienced, wondering if he could come back and play like he once had and reaching the level he hoped to.
It has not been easy for Bosiokovic, but when summer rolled on he knew there was an opening in the line-up. Pat Porter, whose reputation and legend will be long-standing at OSU, had moved on to the Houston Astros. Right field was open, there for the taking.
Bosiokovic set his eyes on the earning that position. He worked hard and his efforts were noticed. When the season started Friday night, it was Bosiokovic in right.
“He’s so talented,” Beals said. “He can run. He’s a good defensive player. So, there’s that. But the question is still out there for Bo-Zee.
“Three hits (Friday night) is great, a great start, and hopefully it gives him a boost, added confidence. But he’s got to do it over a period of time. He hasn’t done that yet.
“That being said,” he continued, “he’s the best defender at right field and first base, and he’s the best base runner among all the candidates for first base and right field. He brings more to the table than anybody else.
“And,” he adds, pausing, “he also has the ability to do something stupid-crazy, like hitting a ball over the scoreboard.”
He does and he did. One cleared the scoreboard in left-center like a gull headed for the Atlantic. The other hammered the left field foul pole.
But while Bosiokovic’s battle goes on, he remains realistic.
“I feel more relaxed and prepared than I ever have,” he said. “I think that’s a big part of (his performance), but I have to translate this into the long term…The story of my career here has been: hot, cold, hot, cold. That doesn’t work.”
So far, Bosiokovic is writing a new story at Ohio State, one that works very well, one that includes, as Beals would say, some “stupid-crazy things” like balls flying over the scoreboard, and blasts off the foul pole in left that send teammates and fans into a frenzy.
NOTES: Bosiokovic also figures in an unsettled bullpen picture. He was a successful pitcher in high school. “I love to pitch,” he said. “I can get it up there 91, 92 – 94 on a good day. Throw a lot of sliders…There’s nothing like throwing one by somebody or making them miss on a breaking ball…I’m ready to go. We’ll see how it all shakes out with our bullpen. We’ve got some capable guys, but you never know.”…Righty Seth Kinker worked 3.2 innings behind starter Adam Niemeyer Saturday against Niagara. He allowed seven hits and walked two. He was charged with four runs, two earned – and was beset in the fifth when OSU committed three of its five errors leading to four runs and a 5-4 lead…Niemeyer gave up six hits in 4.1 with two walks. He had six strikeouts all in the first three innings. Yianni Pavlopoulos got the win. He pitched a scoreless ninth.
(Edited By Julie McMaken Wright)