The Ohio State baseball team lost its second straight game, and ultimately the series, to Michigan this afternoon, 4-1, in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes' struggling bats were the story of the weekend, as the team scored a grand total of three runs, and dropped to 9-12 in Big Ten play.
One positive to take from the series is that, thanks to losses by Purdue and Michigan State, the Buckeyes have clinched their fourth consecutive appearance in the Big Ten tournament, which will be played in Omaha beginning May 21st.
Senior Greg Greve made the start for Ohio State today, having pitched the Buckeyes to rubber game victories in the last two conference series. After pitching around a one-out single in the first inning, the right-hander gave up back-to-back singles to Cole Martin and Kyle Jusick to lead off the second, but induced a double play grounder by Kevin White, and seemed poised to pitch out of the jam. A bloop single to center off the bat of Dominic Jarrett scored Martin, though, and the wheels started to come off for the Buckeyes. A two-out single by Eric Jacobson and an error by second baseman Nick Sergakis loaded the bases before a wild pitch scored Jarrett to push the Wolverines' lead to 2-0.
Martin and Jusick struck again in the bottom of the third. After the Michigan catcher singled with two outs in the inning, he came around to score when Jusick doubled down the right field line. A Travis Maezes double in the fourth led to a successful squeeze bunt by the Wolverines' leading hitter, Jackson Glines, and the lead was 4-0.
Greve went six innings, giving up the four runs, three of which were earned, while scattering ten hits. The senior got no offensive support, and dropped to 6-4 on the season.
Michigan sent freshman Brett Adcock to the mound and he shut down the Buckeyes from the jump. The southpaw tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven.
Ohio State's lone run came off James Bourque in the top of the ninth. Troy Kuhn led off the final frame with a walk and a stolen base and, after Bourque struck out Josh Dezse, Pat Porter laced a double down the line in right to plate Ohio State's only run of the game. Bourque set down Troy Montgomery and Aaron Gretz to finish things off.
Michigan improved to 13-11 in the Big Ten and, more important, pushed its record to .500 for the first time all season at 26-26-1.
The Buckeyes enter the final week of the regular season knowing that the Big Ten tournament awaits. A midweek contest with Cincinnati on Tuesday and the final conference series with Northwestern, beginning Thursday, are all that stand between Ohio State and a trip to Omaha. Finishing the final week strong and getting the bats going will be imperative if the team does not want to see its season come to an early end.