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Ohio State baseball squanders late lead, loses to Indiana 6-4

The normally reliable Buckeye bullpen couldn't hold the lead against the Hoosiers

Ohio State Athletics

Entering Thursday night's game with Indiana, the Ohio State baseball team was 27-0 in 2015 in games where it held the lead after the seventh inning. That streak was snapped in Bloomington, as the Hoosiers used a three-run eighth for a comeback 6-4 win.

The loss was Ohio State's sixth in its last seven Big Ten games, and dropped the team to a 13-8 conference record overall. The Buckeyes are struggling down the stretch, and sit in a fourth place tie with Maryland. Indiana, on the other hand, is surging, having won its last four in Big Ten play, evening up their record at 10-10. The Hoosiers clinched a spot in next week's conference tournament in Minneapolis with the victory.

Holding on to a 4-3 lead, Ohio State head coach Greg Beals went to his usually steady bullpen to close the door on a road win, but junior lefty Michael Horejsei struggled. A solo home run by Hoosier left fielder Logan Sowers with one out in the home half of the eighth tied the game, and things spiraled from there.

Horejsei walked center fielder Craig Dedelow, who went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, and an uncharacteristic passed ball by Buckeye catcher Aaron Gretz allowed him to advance to second. Right fielder Will Nolden then delivered a double to the right-center gap, and Dedelow came around to put Indiana back on top. Nolden scored an insurance run when third baseman Isaiah Pasteur knocked a single back up the middle off of Trace Dempsey, who had come in to relieve Horejsei.

Dedelow's second inning longball and two-out, two-run single in the third off Ohio State starter Adam Niemeyer gave the Hoosiers the early lead. Niemeyer settled down, though, giving up just those three runs on six hits in five innings of work, earning a no-decision.

The Buckeyes knotted things at three in the fifth when right fielder Pat Porter ripped a three-run home run out to right. The senior from Chagrin Falls, Ohio put the scarlet and gray in the lead an inning later with a two-out RBI single, and went 4-for-5 on the night in the losing effort.

Indiana fireballer Scott Effross closed things out in the ninth, routinely hitting 93 with his fastball. It was the second save of the season for the former Freshman All-American. Will Coursen-Carr picked up the win for the Hoosiers after two perfect innings of relief. Horejsei suffered his first loss of the season, being charged with three runs in 0.1 innings.

The two sides will be back at Bart Kaufman Field to finish the series with a doubleheader on Friday. Sophomore Travis Lakins (4-3, 3.84 ERA)  will be on the bump for Ohio State in game one against Indiana's Kyle Hart (3-0, 2.45). First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET. Game two, which begins approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one, will feature senior lefty Ryan Riga (5-3, 2.86) against an as yet unannounced starter for the Hoosiers.