After a 1-3 weekend against expected College World Series contenders Oregon and Oregon State, Ohio State opened its home schedule with a Siena College club yet to win a game in 2014, a drop in competition as big as one may see all season. The Buckeyes made sure the Saints' skid would not stop in Columbus, dispatching the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference club in each of the three games.
But it wasn't the rolling weekend one may expect, and one head coach Greg Beals was less than pleased with,
"I would have liked for us to be sharper this weekend," Beals said. "We were sharper last week on the road than we were here. I think the intensity of the games out there had our attention and maybe we were too comfortable in this series. It won’t be that way next weekend when we start conference play against Michigan State so we’ll find out who we are right away."
A lack of concentration could be gleaned from a quick glance at Friday's box score.
Though the Buckeyes picked up an 8-5 win, the Scarlet and Gray committed a pair of errors, and four of the five runs Siena scored were unearned. But that wasn't enough to allow the Saints to break into the win column.
After dominating Oregon with a five-hit, shutout, junior left-hander Ryan Riga provided Ohio State with seven quality innings. Riga surrendered one run off nine hits, striking out a pair without issuing a walk. The Buckeyes provided Riga with run support from its first opportunity. Sophomore third baseman Jacob Bosiokovic stroked a one-out triple to right-center, before scoring on a wild pitch. A second extra-base hit of the first inning was collected when junior DH Josh Dezse doubled to right field, before scoring on a single off the bat of freshman center fielder Ronnie Dawson.
Ohio State managed three-run frames in the fourth and sixth. The big hit of the fourth inning coming from Bosiokovic with a double. The sixth inning saw sophomore second baseman Troy Kuhn belt his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to down the left field line.
Kuhn's homer countered a solo home run in the top of the sixth from Siena second baseman Mike Allen, trimming Siena's deficit to 5-1. Following Kuhn's blast, the closest the Saints would get to the Buckeyes would be the game's final 8-5 score, when the visitors scored four unearned runs. Freshman right-hander Adam Niemeyer closed the game for the Bucks, relieving Riga with two innings of work, allowing three hits and four runs, all unearned, recording one strikeout.
A 3-for-4 effort from Bosiokovic paced Ohio State's 13-hit attack. Dezse, sophomores Craig Nennig and Zach Ratcliff, and junior catcher Connor Sabanosh each picked up two hits.
With a cold front passing through Central Ohio overnight Saturday, the Bucks and Saints doubled up on Saturday to void playing Sunday's contest in frigid temperatures.
The guests struck first in game one of the doubleheader. Off senior right-hander Greg Greve, left fielder Andres Ortiz doubled to left center with two outs, scoring third baseman Justin Esquerra, who was hit by a pitch one at-bat earlier.
The Buckeyes quickly countered with another two-run home-half of the first. Leading off with a walk, Kuhn and Bosiokovic, who picked up a one-out double, scored on two-out single up the middle by Dezse.
Siena evened the score with three hits producing a run in the fourth, taking a 3-2 lead with a run in the fifth. But Bosiokovic and Dezse were again at the forefront of a Buckeye rally, collecting singles in the bottom of the fifth before freshman center fielder Troy Montgomery skied a sacrifice fly to left, deep enough to score Bosiokovic and tie the game, 3-3.
The book would be closed on the scoring for Siena, and only one other inning saw the Buckeyes score. Ohio State crossed home four times in the bottom of the eighth. Sophomore Jacob Brobst, pinch-running for catcher Aaron Gretz after the backstop drew a leadoff walk, scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly from right fielder Pat Porter. The Buckeyes added insurance runs with an RBI-single from Bosiokovic and a two-run triple from Dawson, the only two hits of the inning, as Siena aided the Buckeye effort with a walk and pair of hit batters.
Receiving the victory for the Bucks was freshman left-hander Tanner Tully. The southpaw completed the game with four perfect innings, striking out three. Greve finished with a five-inning start, scattering seven hits while allowing three runs, walking one, and striking out one. Scoring three runs, Bosiokovic picked up his second three-hit game of the weekend, joined by Dezse's 2-for-3, two RBI game as Bucks with a multi-hit contest.
The nightcap played true to the series, big innings propelling the Buckeyes to victory.
Doubles from Kuhn and Ratcliff, with sophomore Ryan Leffel, Montgomery and senior Tim Wetzel each providing singles, broke up the game with a five-hit, four-run second inning. Kuhn's double plated a pair of Buckeyes.
That would be all of the offense freshman left-hander Zach Farmer and company would need. The rookie tossed 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits, walking five with four strikeouts, the Saints leaving nine runners on base as Farmer allowed just one run. Freshman Travis Lakins, senior Tyler Giannonatti and junior Trace Dempsey provided three right-handers out of the Buckeye bullpen, that held Siena without a hit over the final 3.2 innings.
Kuhn and Ratcliff were at the center of the action in the eighth when the Buckeyes iced the contest. Ratcliff followed a single off the bat of Ronnie Dawson with one of his own. After Dawson scored on an RBI-single from Nennig, Kuhn stroked his second two-run hit of the game with a bases loaded single up the middle, scoring Leffel and Ratcliff.
Atop the lineup, Kuhn's big weekend concluded with a 2-for-4, four-RBI outing. Dawson, Leffel and Ratcliff each added an additional two hits as Ohio State out-hit Siena 11-7, in part of a 31-hit weekend, upping the team's average from .242 to .259.
Ohio State returns to action with a pair of midweek games from Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium, hosting the Akron Zips on Tuesday and the Xavier Musketeers on Wednesday. First pitch for both is at 5:05 p.m.