Ohio State right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic is having himself a heck of a start to the season. The redshirt junior, who played only five games last season due to elbow surgery, hit two home runs on Saturday, including a walk-off game-winner, to lift the Buckeyes to a 10-7 victory over Niagara at the Historic Dodgertown Classic in Vero Beach, FL.
Bosiokovic, who homered in yesterday's opener against Toledo, hit a two-run, game-tying homer in the bottom of the seventh, then followed it up with the game-winning three-run dinger in the bottom of the ninth. Through two games, he's 5-for-10 at the plate, with the three longballs, and six runs batted in.
Ohio State improved to 2-0 despite being outhit 15-8 and committing five errors, showing solid resiliency in coming back for the win. In addition to Bosiokovic, second baseman L. Grant Davis and designated hitter Jordan McDonough had two RBIs apiece.
Like Tanner Tully in yesterday's opener, starter Adam Niemeyer struck out the first he faced this season, but Niagara got on the board first thanks to a run-scoring double from Rodgers. Niemeyer ended up striking out the side, three of his six Ks on the day.
In the bottom of the second, Ohio State broke through thanks to a rare feat pulled off by Purple Eagles' starter Daniel Procopio. After walking third baseman Nick Sergakis to open the inning, Procopio hit the next two batters, catcher Jalen Washington and first baseman Zach Ratcliff, to load the bases. He then hit designated hitter Jordan McDonough, his third straight hit batsman, to bring Sergakis home.
After that streak was broken up by a Craig Nennig strikeout, second baseman L. Grant Davis singled to right, bringing around Washington and Ratcliff. The Buckeyes surged to a 3-1 lead despite having just one hit.
More self-inflicted wounds by Niagara allowed Ohio State to add to its lead in the bottom of the third. After Sergakis doubled, he advanced to third on a passed ball by catcher Geoff Seto. Washington then sent a fly ball to center field to plate his fellow co-captain, and the lead was 4-1.
Procopio, considered one of the top pro prospects in the MAAC, went five innings in a no-decision, allowing four runs, three earned, on just three hits. The junior from Toronto struck out four, walked one, and had the three hit batters.
The Eagles fought back in the top of the fifth, chasing Niemeyer from the game. After a single and a stolen base by shortstop Greg Cullen, second baseman Michael Fuhrman singled him home to cut the lead to 4-2. Neimeyer went 4.1 innings, giving up the two runs on six hits in a no-decision.
Seth Kinker relieved Niemeyer and abruptly gave up a double to Rodgers, who advanced to third on an error by Davis, which also allowed Fuhrman to score. A passed ball by Washington brought Rodgers home with the tying run.
The fifth inning misery continued, as Niagara took the lead. A two out walk to first baseman Christian Vangeison was followed by back-to-back errors by Nennig and Davis, and the Buckeyes found themselves trailing 5-4. Kinker was able to strike out leadoff man Tanner Kirwer with the bases loaded to escape the inning.
In the sixth, the sloppy play continued, as a throwing error by Ratcliff allowed Fuhrman to advance to second on an infield single. He came home two batters later on a single by right fielder Taylor Hackett. A double by Vangeison scored Hackett and the deficit was 7-4.
Ohio State clawed back in the bottom half of the inning off Eagles' reliever Austin Miller, pulling within two runs. Washington and Ratcliff had back-to-back singles, then pulled off a double steal, and a McDonough sacrifice fly scored a run.
Niagara went to its bullpen again in the bottom of the seventh, and probably wished it hadn't. After Davis led off the inning against lefty Michael Bucci with a single, Bosiokovic blasted his second home run in as many days to left-center to tie the game.
After Kinker tossed 3.2 innings of relief, allowing four runs, two earned, and striking out four, the Buckeyes brought redshirt sophomore Yianni Pavlopoulos out of the bullpen to make his first appearance since 2014 after sitting out last season due to Tommy John surgery. Aside from a bunt single, he came through the top of the ninth with ease. Pavlopoulos came away with the win.
In the bottom of the ninth, Bosiokovic stepped to the plate with Nennig and center fielder Troy Montgomery aboard, and pulled it down the line off the foul pole for the walk-off winner.
Ohio State still has one game to go in Florida tonight, as they take on Pittsburgh in the nightcap. Senior lefty John Havird will be on the mound for the Buckeyes against big-time prospect T.J. Zeuch.