Buckeyes drops road trip finale to North Florida, come home for opening day, and weekend homestand with Liberty University.
JACKSONVILLE — For three straight games, Ohio State hit and hit aplenty. Against Harvard, Fairfield and North Florida, the Bucks scored 31 runs on 36 hits.
In their Florida finale Wednesday afternoon at Harmon Stadium, they hit again but not enough—and more important—not in pivotal situations.
As a result of that and some so-so pitching by a congregation that will primarily work from the bullpen, Ohio State fell to North Florida, 9-5, and will come home for this weekend’s home opener versus Liberty with a 6-8 record. North Florida stands 4-12.
The loss came in spite of another big day by Dillon Dingler, who homered for the fourth time in the past two games and drove in three runs. The junior catcher has eight RBI in the last two games.
Ohio State never had a lead and fell behind early, when starter Will Pfennig was hindered by Sam Wilson’s fielding error, leading to two unearned runs in the third.
Pfennig yielded a leadoff single to Raff Libuano. One out later, Abraham Sequera reached on the error, putting runners at first and second. A single by Zach West scored the first run of the game.
Pfennig struck out the next hitter, but with two down Tanner Clark reached him for a run-scoring single giving the Ospreys a 2-0 lead.
TJ Brock came on to finish the inning, but he allowed three runs, all earned, in 2.1 innings.
His successor Pat Murphy, gave up one run in an inning of work, and Joe Gahm was reached for three more in three innings, while Bayden Root finished up working two-thirds of an inning.
Ohio State had 12 hits, but they left 11 men on base. The problem was that six of those stranded were in scoring position. Key hits weren’t coming frequently enough.
Down 2-0 in the fifth, it looked as though the Bucks would stage a rally and take the lead. Nick Erwin started the inning with a base hit, and Mitchell Okuley was hit by a pitch. Brent Todys singled to center but Erwin had to hold at third.
With the bases loaded, Archer Brookman fouled out to third and Zach Dezenzo flied out to end the inning. Three runners were stranded.
North Florida scored three in the bottom of the inning on Tanner Clark’s three-run homer to right.
Down 5-0, Ohio State finally got on the board. Nate Karaffa doubled to left center and Colton Bauer reached on an error. Nolan Clegg singled to left center and the bases were loaded.
Nick Erwin singled to left to plate Karaffa. One out later, Dingler came to the plate. He homered to left, a three-run jack that made it a one run game, 5-4.
Brent Todys followed with a single up the middle and went to second on a failed pick-off attempt. But with the tying run in scoring position, Brookman grounded out.
North Florida added a single run in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-4, and Ohio State came right back in the seventh.
Dezenzo drew a leadoff walk. Karaffa hit into a force at second, but moved up on a balk. Bauer singled through the right side scoring Karaffa and pulling the Bucks to within one run.
Clegg singled up the middle and, again, OSU had the tying run on second. But the rally ended when Scottie Seymour went down swinging.
The Bucks went down in order in the eighth and got nothing but a one-out walk in the ninth.
It was the kind of day, the kind of game, when too many opportunities were lost at the plate and too much was yielded from the mound.