Ohio State's first real test on the diamond this season didn't go exactly as planned, as the team dropped two out of three to No. 11 Oregon this weekend in Eugene. The Buckeyes had a chance to win the series, but took it on the chin on Sunday. The team will need to have very short memories, as there is still work to be done out west. Greg Beals' squad will hook up with No. 5 Oregon State tomorrow night.
Game one of the series on Friday night started off unassumingly, with senior starter Greg Greve yielding just one unearned run through the first three innings. The Ducks came alive in the bottom of the fourth, though, scoring seven runs, highlighted by back-to-back two-run singles by Austin Grebeck and Tyler Baumgartner and an RBI double by Mitchell Tollman. Greve's final line was eight runs, seven earned, in 3.2 innings of work. Freshman Adam Niemeyer pitched well in relief for the Buckeyes, setting down the first 12 batters he faced and striking out a career-high eight in a scoreless 4.1 innings. The Buckeye bats never got going against Oregon's Tommy Thorpe, who went seven scoreless, yielding just two hits and striking out ten. The final tally was an 8-2 win for the Ducks.
Saturday's game provided the lone highlight of the weekend for the Buckeyes, as junior lefty Ryan Riga tossed a shutout. Riga, who today was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for his performance, struck out a career-high ten in blanking the Ducks. This is already the second time the southpaw from Fairfield, Ohio has won the award this season, as he was also honored after opening weekend for his blanking of Auburn. An RBI double by redshirt sophomore Ryan Leffel, making his first career start at first base, got the Buckeyes on the board in the top of the sixth. Ohio State added four insurance runs in the ninth, though Riga wouldn't need them, cruising to a 5-0 victory.
"Everything was working for me tonight," Riga said about his performance. "I was able to throw everything for strikes against righties and lefties. It was a good day, but we need to come back out tomorrow and finish this off."
The Buckeyes were unable to finish things off on Sunday, getting routed in the rubber match 20-4. In a game in which Ohio State actually held the early 1-0 lead, the Ducks ripped off four runs in the second and seven in the third to blow the doors off. Freshman starter Zach Farmer lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up the first four runs, and fellow freshman Tanner Tully gave up seven, though only one of them earned, in 1.1. Oregon added four in the sixth off redshirt freshman Shea Murray and five in the eighth off closer Trace Dempsey to complete the mauling.
The weekend leaves the Buckeyes 8-5 for the season as they head to Corvallis for a date with the Beavers in the team's first midweek game of the year.