Ohio State is making sure there is no doubt who is the top college baseball team in Ohio this year. Continuing their dominance against in-state rivals this season, Ohio State dispatched Cincinnati Wednesday night on the road, blanking the Bearcats, 6-0. With the win, Ohio State improves to 33-13 on the season, Cincinnati falling to 15-32.
"It's great to take care of our midweek games, especially against an in-state rival," head coach Greg Beals said, the victory his 400th as a head coach. "We will enjoy tonight’s win and get a practice in tomorrow to get ready for the weekend."
Improving to 5-0 this year against teams from Ohio, with next week's game against Youngstown State the final non-Big Ten game of the season, Ohio State pitchers hurled the team's sixth shutout of the season. With redshirt-freshman Adam Niemeyer making his third career start, the Buckeye pitchers enjoyed the ability to pitch with the lead right from the opening frame.
After junior first baseman Troy Kuhn drew a one-out walk in the top of the first, senior right fielder Pat Porter lined a home run over the right field wall staking Ohio State to a quick 2-0 lead. A day after Ronnie Dawson picked up his seventh home run of the year, a grand slam in Ohio State's 20-7 rout of Miami, Porter tied his outfield mate with his seventh round-tripper of the year for the team lead.
But after Porter's shot provided an early jolt, the game turned into a pitcher's duel.
Cincinnati recorded singles off Niemeyer in the first three innings, but were unable string together any hits and mount a threat. The first and second innings ended after four batters stepped to the plate, the third was a three up, three down affair as Dawson threw a laser to Kuhn, doubling up Cincinnati freshman shortstop Manny Rodriguez who wondered too far or a fly out to Dawson in left field, a 7-3 double play ending the inning. After a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Cincinnati's best chance to cut into it's 2-0 deficit occurred in the fifth.
A single through the left side by freshman Treg Haberkorn and a fielding error by Kuhn on a grounder off the bat of junior catcher Woody Wallace put the first two Bearcats of the inning on base. But Haberkorn was caught too far off second base as senior catcher Aaron Gretz threw out the UC center fielder. Wallace would steal second base of Niemeyer and Gretz with two outs, but the right-hander struck out Cincinnati Rodriguez to end the inning.
Niemeyer dealing, so too was Cincinnati starter Tanner Schimmoeller.
Between the second and sevent innings, Schimmoeller scattered only three singles, recording three of 1-2-3 innings in the process. But when the lineup turned over for a fourth time, the Buckeyes blew open the game at Marge Schott Stadium.
On a 3-1 pitch, Porter singled up the middle to lead off the eighth inning and chase Schimmoeller. Dawson continued a strong midweek with a double down the right field line to put a pair of Buckeyes in scoring position. Junior third baseman Nick Sergakis singled in Porter to stretch the Ohio State lead to 3-0 on the innings third conseuctive hit. Following a out by Gretz, freshman DH Tre' Gantt reached base on a fielder's choice to score Dawson. Ohio State added two more runs in the inning, a pair of stolen bases and UC committing a pair of errors aiding the cause.
After junior left-hander Michael Horesjei was called on to record the final out of the sixth, freshman right-hander Seth Kinker pitched a hitless seventh for Ohio State. Setting a school-record with his 97th career appearance, breaking the mark held by Cory Cox (1998-01), Ohio State senior closer Trace Dempsey pitched the final two innings, surrendering only one hit, striking out three bats, to close the door on the Ohio State win.
"We had good pitching tonight," Beals said. "Niemeyer did a great job of working his fastball and changeup and stayed down in the bottom of the zone. The bullpen continued to put zeros up too."
Niemeyer improved to 2-0 on the season with 5.2 innings of shutout baseball. The native of Minster, Ohio scattered four hits, struck out four batters and walked one Bearcat. Another product of northwest Ohio, from Ottawa, Schimmoeller received the loss, following to 1-1 on the year after seven-plus innings, allowing three runs off six hits, walking two Buckeyes and striking out a pair.
Ohio State was led at the plate by Porter and Dawson, the three-hole and cleanup batters. Porter picked up three hits in four at-bats, scoring a pair of runs, driving in two and adding a walk to the box score. Dawson added a bunt single next to his eighth-inning double for two hits in five at-bats.
Returning to Big Ten play, the Buckeyes close the home schedule with a weekend series against Maryland. After being swept by Illinois to end Ohio State's shot at a Big Ten championship, the Buckeyes are still seeking an opportunity to host an NCAA Regional. Maryland enters the weekend at 33-16, providing Ohio State with another chance to make a statement. Friday's first pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. with Ohio State left-hander Tanner Tully and Maryland right-hander Mike Shawaryn, a pair of 2014 Freshman All-Americans, set to square off.