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Ohio State baseball: Huskers mount late rally against Buckeyes, win 3-2

In the series opener between last season's dual second-place finishers, a dramatic last at-bat rally propelled Nebraska over Ohio State, 3-2, taking the first game of a critical series in Lincoln.

The host Huskers turned back the Buckeyes in dramatic fashion in the series opener.
The host Huskers turned back the Buckeyes in dramatic fashion in the series opener.

In a battle between the Big Ten's top hitting club, Nebraska, and an Ohio State club which pounded out 31 hits over two midweek contests, starting pitchers ruled the evening before a last at-bat rally for the Huskers sent the 1,736 in attendance at Haymarket Park home happy as Nebraska edged Ohio State, 3-2.

Nebraska senior right-hander Christian DeLeon pitched a complete game, holding the Buckeyes to two runs off eight hits in a 119-pitch outing. Ohio State starter Greg Greve held the Huskers scoreless over six innings, scattering five hits, receiving no decision. Ohio State freshman Travis Lakins received the loss, allowing three runs, one earned, in two innings, struck for four hits by the Huskers.

Ohio State improved to 2-5 in the Big Ten, 18-11 overall, Nebraska improved to 2-2 in conference action, 17-13 overall.

Ohio State appeared set to pounce early on the senior DeLeon when sophomore Designated Hitter Ryan Leffel and freshman center fielder Ronnie Dawson each registered one-out singles. But after getting junior first baseman Josh Dezse to fly out to left, DeLeon struck out junior right fielder Pat Porter to end the threat.

After the pair of first inning singles, DeLeon held the Buckeyes hitless over next three innings. The Buckeye bats unable to gain traction, Greve made sure his team remained in striking distance, yielding only a leadoff single in the second and a two-out hit in the third.

The second time Ohio State record consecutive singles the Buckeyes were able to put a run on the board.

A one-out humpback single to center field off the bat of sophomore Jacob Bosiokovic gave Ohio State it's first runner of the fifth. Bosiokovic moved up ninety feet when sophomore shortstop Nick Sergakis singled through the left side. DeLeon picked up his fifth strikeout of the evening when senior left fielder Tim Wetzel went down on strikes, but the Cornhusker was unable to escape this jam unscathed. Sophomore second baseman Troy Kuhn singling pulling a pitch through the Nebraska left side, scoring Bosiokovic, giving the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead.

Entering the contest with a 5.26 ERA, touched for six runs in 5.2 innings against Indiana, Greve continued to put zeros on the board, withholding a Husker challenge in the bottom of the fifth. Conceeding one-out and two-out singles, Greve was able to generate a pop out from Nebraska junior shortstop Steven Reveles to end the frame.

Greve aided his efforts in the sixth with nifty glovework. After Husker junior right fielder Austin Darby opened the home-half of the sixth with a single to left, on second after a sacrifice bunt, the right-hander snagged a comebacker off the bat of Nebraska left fielder Michael Pritchard, tossing to Bosiokovic at third base who tagged Darby, running on contact, for the second out. The inning ended with junior catcher Connor Sabanosh throwing down to Kuhn, catching Pritchard in an attempted stolen base.

Nothing working for either team in the sixth, Ohio State added a run seventh. Drawing a one-out walk, Bosiokovic, moved to second on a Sergakis 5-3 fielder's choice before scoring on a Wetzel sinking liner to center.

Striking out two without issuing a walk, throwing 42 of his 60 pitches for strikes in matching his season high in innings pitched, the senior Greve was relieved by the freshman right-hander Lakins in the seventh. The first-year Buckeye surrendered a one-out single to Nebraska junior third baseman Blake Headley, and issued a two-out walk to junior catcher Tanner Lubach, but induced a weak pop up from freshman first baseman Austin Christensen to end the inning with a F5.

Dawson beat out a one-out bunt to give the Buckeyes a runner in the eighth, but was erased on a fielder's choice with Reveles ranging deep to his right and throwing in time to force Dawson at second. Porter ending the inning with a 4-3 grounder, Nebraska junior second baseman Pat Kelly throwing to Christensen.

Six outs away from a big road win, Nebraska mounted its rally.

Lakins plunked Reveles on a 1-2 pitch to open Nebraska's at-bat in eighth. Nebraska gained a second runner when Kuhn was unable to transfer a corral of a hot grounder from Darby. Both Huskers advanced a base when freshman Ryan Boldt dropped a sacrifice bunt. Reveles became the first Husker to cross home on the night when Pritchard ripped a single to right field, a second consecutive first-pitch single, placing Darby at third. Lakins needed one pitch to record the second out of the inning, a 3-1 putout off the bat of Headley, but the go-ahead run now stood at third. Lakins was unable to close the inning with the tie intact when Nebraska freshman DH Ben Miller's dribbler went no more than 30 feet up the third baseline, but Lakins could not control the ball in time, Miller reaching first without a throw, Pritchard scoring from third. Only the run scored by Darby ended up earned.

Bosiokovic recorded a one-out single in the ninth, but ended game the with a caught stealing, a strikeout of Sergakis and throw out of Bosiokovic a game-ending double play. Bosiokovic, the lone Buckeye to score on the night, joined Dawson as batters with two hits.

Ohio State will look to end a four-game Big Ten losing streak when the two clubs meet for a 3:05 p.m. ET start. Ohio State is set to throw freshman left-hander Tanner Tully (3-1, 2.06 ERA), while Nebraska junior right-hander Chance Sinclair (4-1, 1.28 ERA) will toe the rubber for the hosts.