Timely Hitting and Lively Pitching Lead Buckeyes over Musketeers in Home Opener
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS — After 17 games away from
Bill Davis Stadium, the Buckeyes (8-10) finally made their way back
to the old homestead, and did it with a 4-1 win over Xavier (16-10) in their home
Brett McKinney pitched five solid
innings, giving up two hits and one earned run, all of which came in
his fifth and final inning. The Buckeye bullpen pitched four
scoreless innings, allowing just three hits in the process.
“What you saw is really what I
believe in from a pitching staff,” said head coach Greg Beals.
“You saw us mix and match a lot. You
saw us go with combinations with the matchups—the righties with the
righties, the lefties versus the lefties. We've got some guys in our
bullpen that are capable of pitching that way. And that's how we're
going to use our pitching staff a lot.”
The Buckeyes scored three runs in the
third inning, each run coming with two outs. Left-fielder David
Corna started the inning out innocently enough by getting hit by a pitch, but
that was quickly followed by a Tyler Engle single. After a Brian
DeLucia strikeout, freshman Tim Wetzel singled to centerfield to load
Following a Ryan Cypret strikeout,
freshman DH Josh Dezse came to the plate looking to make something
happen. He took a 1-2 pitch and dropped it into right
field, scoring two runs in the process.
“It was a slider, down and away,”
“I didn't want to strike out and I
didn't want to let my team down. I just tried to put the ball in
play, and a good thing happened.”
Wetzel would then score on a wild pitch
to cap the inning's scoring.
After four hitless innings, McKinney
came out for the fifth inning and immediately gave up his first hit
of the game. He then followed that up with a walk. He struck the
next two batters out, but threw a wild pitch and then gave up an RBI
single, putting Xavier on the scoreboard for the first time all
He forced a flyout for the third out
and was met at the dugout by his teammates, who were appreciative of
such an outing from the sophomore.
“To me the story is Brett McKinney
setting the tempo on the mound,” said Beals.
“He really gave our team a comfort
knowing that we've got a guy on the mound that's dealing, and there's
not a lot of pressure on us offensively, let's let things happen.
McKinney really set the tempo for us.”
“I felt really good,” McKinney said
of his pregame bullpen work.
“It's probably the best bullpen I've
thrown before a game in a while. I had three pitches going early, so
I felt pretty comfortable going out to start the game.”
While it was his start that set the
tone, it was the way he ended his outing that solidified it.
“I didn't want a big inning," he said.
scored the first run, and I didn't want to give up a run, but once
they scored the first one, I had to put a stop to it. I didn't want
to give up a big inning and get their momentum back. I felt like we
had all of the momentum on our side, so I was just trying to keep it
Theron Minium came on in relief of
McKinney and pitched a perfect sixth inning, striking out two. He
gave up a single to his first batter in the seventh and was replaced
by David Fathalikhani, who enticed a double play on the first pitch
“It makes a coach look smart when you
go get a guy and he rolls a double play ball right away,” quipped
The Buckeyes added an insurance run in
the bottom half of the seventh after catcher Greg Solomon tripled and
then scored on a wild pitch. Jared Strayer closed out the ninth to
earn his first save. McKinney got the win, moving his record to 1-1
on the season.
“It's great,” Beals said of being
“It's nice to be at home in the
friendly confines of your own ballpark and with your own people.
Having the students out, that's awesome. That type of support is
what Buckeye Nation is known for, and that really means something to
- Ohio State is 12-3 all-time in home openers at Bill Davis Stadium.
- The Buckeyes have won their last seven home openers dating back to 2005.
- McKinney threw first pitch strikes to 13 of his first 14 batters
faced. The sophomore did not allow a hit until his 14th batter of the
game led off the fifth inning.
- The Buckeyes held Xavier's top four hitters (and top four in the lineup) to just one hit in 12 at-bats with three strikeouts.
- The three Buckeyes making their first appearances in Bill Davis
Stadium (Tim Wetzel, Josh Dezse and Greg Solomon) combined for four of
the Buckeyes' seven hits, two RBI and two runs scored.
- The Buckeyes threw just 110 pitches in the game...a solid effort out of the pitching staff.
- The Ohio State bullpen tossed 4.0 scoreless innings, striking out four and giving up three hits.
- Only three Xavier batters had a hit in the game: Bruening had three hits and Phil Bauer and Elwell each had a hit apiece.
- Ohio State moves to 29-8 all-time against the Musketeers.
- Big Ten Conference play opens this weekend at Bill Davis Stadium.
Ohio State hosts Northwestern at 6:35 p.m. Friday, 3:05 p.m. Saturday
and 2:05 p.m. Sunday. The game Sunday will be televised live on the Big
Ten Network. The Friday and Saturday games will be streamed to the
internet at BigTenNetwork.com. A small fee will be charged.
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