Trace Dempsey, as he's done confidently all season, came in with designs on putting a cap on one of the most impressive seasons for a reliever in Big Ten history. But Dempsey wasn't himself Friday, failing to get the four outs necessary for his 18th save and ultimately letting the Hoosiers back in to even the score at 2-2. Michael Basil, Indiana's senior shortstop, recorded his third hit of the game with a no out RBI double in the top of the ninth to make things uncomfortable for OSU's closer. After Basil stole third, second baseman Nick Ramos hit a long sacrifice fly to deep center which scored Basil and forced Ohio State to bat in the bottom of the frame.
After starter Aaron Slegers got the first out of the ninth inning, Indiana went to the pen, calling on California native, Ryan Halstead, The 6-5, 230 pound right hander came in for his 20th appearance of the season, looking to keep Indiana in the hunt for a potential outright B1G title. Halstead punched out the first batter he faced then secured an easy third out of the frame to force free baseball in Columbus.
But despite reliever Greg Greve appearing to settle things down getting the first out of the 10th, the situation only got worse from there. A walk gave way to a hit-and-run single which put IU in position to have a runner on first and third with one out. The Hoosiers then successfully executed a safety squeeze which recorded the second out of the 10th but allowed the Hoosiers claim their first lead of the game at 3-2, adding to the nightmare for Ohio State. But after Greve walked the basses loaded, a floater left over the plate for 2B Nick Ramos gave way to a grand slam over the right field fence, helping to secure a 5-run 10th and break things open to a 7-2 margin. The Buckeyes failed to provide anything beyond one hit in the bottom on the inning as Indiana celebrated their first conference title in over 60 years.
The Buckeyes fell to 29-2 when leading after 8 innings (that one previous loss came in their first game of the year against Mercer) and 34-20 overall (14-8 in Big Ten conference play). OSU also fell to to 16-10 on the season in the suddenly offensively dormant Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium (though admittedly previous opponents Louisville and Oregon have elite level staffs).
Starter Brian King was perhaps the real story of the game for the Bucks throwing 6 2/3 innings of 4 hit, scoreless ball recording 4 strikeouts in the process. Ohio State got both of their runs on four hits in the fourth inning including an RBI from Mike Carroll and another run scoring hit from Troy Kuhn. Unfortunately after that, the Bucks were never able to get anything going at the plate again.
The Buckeyes still have much to play for against the Hoosiers in tomorrow's rubber game, in which with a win they can lay claim to a split championship with Indiana as well well as the 2013 Big Ten baseball tournament's #1 overall seed. After that, they can shift their focus to the tournament ahead. Indiana grabbed it in 2009, and last year, Purdue, a senior layden side, won the 2012 tournament crown. Can Ohio State make amends for Friday night's collapse and claim a tourney win (and postseason berth) in 2013?