The momentum Ohio State built up with its win over No. 22 Coastal Carolina on Saturday carried over to Sunday at the Caravelle Resort Baseball at the Beach tournament. The Buckeyes came from behind to beat Liberty by a score of 5-4 in a dramatic final inning and a half.
After falling behind by a run on a controversial call in the top of the eighth, junior Jacob Bosiokovic stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out, two-run home run that propelled Ohio State to the win.
Ohio State is now 5-1-1 on the season, and is guaranteed to emerge with at least a .500 record for the weekend. The team will again match up with Coastal on Monday afternoon in a bid for a three-win tournament.
The Buckeyes wasted no time in getting to Liberty starter Michael Stafford, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Daulton Mosbarger, who transferred from Akron when its baseball program was shut down, picked up his first hit as a member of the scarlet and gray with a leadoff single. After Bosiokovic flew out to left, Stafford gave up three consecutive run-scoring extra-base hits.
Junior Ronnie Dawson tripled home Mosbarger, then came home on senior Nick Sergakis' double. With the hit, Sergakis, who scored when junior Jalen Washington lashed a double of his own, has hit safely in each of the seven games Ohio State has played thus far this season.
Stafford lasted just 1.1 innings for the Flames, being replaced by junior Evan Mitchell after hitting Mosbarger with a pitch and walking Bosiokovic. The lefty allowed 3 runs on five hits in getting a no-decision.
Mitchell stopped the Buckeye threat in the second, inducing a double play grounder off the bat of Dawson to keep the score 3-0.
Ohio State starter John Havird had no such trouble early on in this one. The senior lefty set down the first ten batters he faced, striking out four. But Liberty got on the board against him in the top of the fourth thanks to a hit batter and a pair of singles. Senior Dalton Britt drove sophomore Dylan Allen home for the Flames' first run.
In the fifth, a pair of walks and a two-out RBI single by Allen trimmed the lead to 3-2, and the Flames would tie the game in the seventh on a double by freshman D.J. Artis off senior reliever Michael Horejsei. The run was charged to Havird, who tossed 6.1 innings, allowing five hits while walking a pair and fanning six in a no-decision.
Mitchell did a nice job of shutting down the Buckeye bats in relief, throwing 5.1 scoreless innings, and allowing his team to get back into the game. He was pulled with two outs and runners on the corners in the bottom of the seventh, and righty Eric Grabwoski struck out senior pinch hitter Ryan Leffel to end the inning.
The game turned in the eighth, as Liberty took the lead on a controversial call. After Ohio State reliever Austin Woodby allowed a walk and a single to put runners on the corners, junior Andrew Kowalo sent a fly ball into center field. Mosbarger made a diving catch, and the initial ruling was that junior Andrew Yacyk, tagging up at third, left the base early and was called out. But an umpires' conference resulted in the call being overturned, and the go-ahead run was in.
In dramatic fashion, the Buckeyes reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning. After Grabowski retired seniors Craig Nennig and L. Grant Davis, Mosbarger picked up his second hit of the ballgame with a single to right. Bosiokovic, last weekend's hero who had struggled throughout the team's time in Myrtle Beach, stepped to the plate and sent a shot over the wall in left field. It was his fourth homer of the season and put Ohio State back on top 5-4.
Sophomore Yianni Pavlopoulos came on for the ninth, looking for his second save in as many days. The righty, who missed last season due to Tommy John surgery, struck out two and got a flyball out with runners on the corners to end the game and collect the save. Woodby, who transferred from Cincinnati, picked up his first win in scarlet and gray.