A day of promise falls short in the top of the ninth. The Buckeyes leave the tying run at second in a Saturday loss to Michigan State.
East Lansing – The Ohio State Buckeyes, for the second day in a row, came close, but could not break through at the end against the Michigan State Spartans.
They lost 6-5 on Saturday with the potential tying run standing at second base in the person of Tre Gantt, after captain Jalen Washington led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to bring them to within a run.
Gantt, following Washington’s home run, doubled, bringing to the plate the most formidable part of the Buckeyes’ batting order…Brady Cherry, Noah McGowan, Dominic Canzone, and Zach Ratcliff…with the opportunity of driving home the dying run.
But Cherry struck out.
An out later McGowan struck out for the second out of the inning.
Canzone walked, putting runners at first and second with two out for Ratcliff.
But Ratcliff, too, struck to end the game and the Buckeyes’ hopes for a series win against the Spartans.
In a game that saw OSU actually outhit Michigan State, 12-8, it was an ironic change in fortune to Friday’s loss in the weekend opener…a game in which the Buckeyes got just four hits in a 2-0 decision.
But true to recent form, the Buckeyes had to fight back through adversity.
Michigan State jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, fueled by a Zach McGuire three-run home run of reliever Ryan Feltner. Feltner was forced into emergency duty for starter Jake Post, who was struck in the head by a line drive two outs deep in the inning.
OSU answered in the top of the second, scoring twice on a pair of doubles by Bo Coolen and Connor Pohl – 4-2.
OSU scored again in the top of the third to cut the deficit to 4-3, as Tre Gantt scored on a groundout by McGowan.
It stayed 4-3 until the sixth when MSU’s Dan Chmielewski’s two-run home run extended the Spartan lead to 6-3.
Ohio State scored in the top of the seventh when Canzone homered to right to make it 6-4; and again in the top of the ninth with Washington’s homer off closer Riley McCauley to cut the lead to a single run.
But following Gantt’s double the Buckeyes’ day came to a disappointing end with the consecutive strikeouts to give MSU the series, and drop the Buckeyes to 14-21 for the season and 3-8 in Big Ten Conference play.
It negated some highlights: a two-hit day by freshman Connor Pohl (Arcanum High School), a three-hit day by Tre’ Gantt, and Dominic Canzone’s (Walsh Jesuit) second home run of the season. In addition, it overshadowed the best offensive effort by the Buckeyes in Big Ten play this year, 12 hits.
The two teams will rap up the series on Sunday with Reece Calvert tabbed to start for Ohio State, seeking to snap a four-game losing streak.
Notes: Buckeye starting pitcher Jake Post became the tough-luck loser and was forced to leave the game in the bottom of the first inning after being struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of MSU’s Dan Durkin. Sophomore Ryan Feltner replaced Post and surrendered five runs on five hits over four innings of work, while striking seven Spartan batters. However, he threw four consecutive scoreless innings in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings before giving up a two-run homer Chmielewski in the sixth. Saturday marked the first multi-hit game for Connor Pohl. Dominic Canzone’s two-hit day raised his average to a team-leading .308.