The Buckeyes entered Saturday's elimination game against Nebraska failing to score more than three runs in each of their last 11 contests, going 2-9 to put their NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy the Buckeyes offense has gone M.I.A.
Against Nebraska, Ohio State couldn't muster three runs, being shut out for the sixth time this season as the Cornhuskers advanced to the Big Ten Tournament title game. Ohio State, meanwhile, heads back home to Columbus.
Where they were unable to score a run, the Buckeyes had their chances early and often.
Senior center fielder Joe Ciamacco led off the Buckeye first inning with a walk. Nebraska right-handed pitcher Christian DeLeon threw a pick-off attempt up the first base line, allowing Ciamacco to advance to third with no outs. But seniors Ryan Cypret, Kirby Pellant and Brad Hallberg were unable to drive Ciamacco in.
In the third inning, freshman Jacob Bosiokovic led off the inning with a double to left-center. Junior Tim Wetzel reached first in a botched sacrifice attempt as DeLeon hesitated with the throw. Ciamacco would advance the runners 90 feet before Cypret and Pellant flew out to end the inning as Ohio State again failed to score a run with a runner on third and less than two outs.
As Ohio State failed to capitilize on their opportunities, the Huskers did not.
Senior DH Rich Sanguinetti led off the top of the fourth with a double down the left field line. Two batters later classmate Michael Pritchard drove him in with a single up the middle. Ohio State starter Jaron Long would get Chad Christensen to line out to right but the Huskers saw first baseman Kash Kalkowski single through the right side in front of Blake Headley driving in two runs with a double to right center.
That would be all of the damage done against Long who went seven innings. The junior righty scattered five runs while walking one, striking out three.
But the Buckeyes could not support the quality start from the 2012 All-Big Ten first-teamer.
Nebraska would tack on two runs in the eighth off Ohio state reliever Brett McKinney. With runners on second and third and Ohio State's infield in, Christensen lined a single up the middle to push the score to 5-0.
The Buckeyes saw Cypret, who missed the prior six contests due to a broken right index finger, lead off the sixth with a double and Bosiokovic reach scoring position in the seventh after a single and a wild pitch, but Greg Beals' club were unable to advance either around the bases. No Buckeye after Bosiokovic reached second base the remainder of the contest.
Bosiokovic led the Buckeyes at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort. Cypret, Wetzel and right fielder Mike Carroll recorded the lone other. The Buckeyes went 1-for-10 with a runner in scoring position.
Following McKinney, sophomore closer Trace Dempsey pitched a clean ninth inning. Long received the loss and fell to 6-7 on the season. DeLeon held the Buckeyes in check with eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just five hits.
As Ohio State exits the tournament, they must wait until Monday to see if their season will extend into NCAA postseason play. The 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament will be announced at Noon ET on ESPNU.