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Ohio State baseball earns series split with 8-7 win over UNLV

The Buckeyes head back to Columbus for the home opener with a hard-fought win against the Rebels.

Ohio State Athletics

Ohio State baseball earned a split in its series with UNLV on Tuesday night, pulling out an 8-7 win in Las Vegas. The Buckeyes, who improved to 8-6-1 on the season, did a little bit of everything in winning two out of four against the Rebels.

Six different players drove in runs, led by two off the bat of junior Troy Montgomery, and sophomore Seth Kinker earned his first win of the season with two scoreless innings of relief.

UNLV freshman Nick Ames had a 5-for-5 night in the losing effort, driving in four runs.

Mongtomery led the game off with his fourth home run of the season to give Ohio State the early 1-0 lead. For the preseason all-american, it was his sixth hit of the series.

The lead was short-lived, though, as UNLV answered back with three runs in the bottom of the frame. After freshman righty Ryan Feltner recorded two quick outs, a single, a walk, and a single loaded the bases for Ames. The first baseman, who had just two hits all season entering the game, ripped a double down the right field line that cleared the bases.

The Buckeyes retook the lead in the top of the second thanks to a lack of command from UNLV starter Blaze Bohall. Tre' Gantt led things off with a double, his third of the series, and came around when Troy Kuhn came through with an RBI single.

Bohall then issued walks to L. Grant Davis, Montgomery, and Ronnie Dawson, which brought Kuhn home to tie the game. Davis scored the go-ahead run when Nick Sergakis drew a free pass, the fourth of the inning. The Rebel righty threw 63 pitches in the first two innings, allowing four runs on four hits with the four walks, and his day was done.

Feltner pitched around trouble the next two innings. In the second, he worked out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout and got a 6-4-3 double play after a leadoff single in the third. In the home half of the fourth, though, he couldn't pitch around a leadoff double by Ames, who tied the game on a ground out by Payton Squier.

Command issues plagued Feltner all evening, and he was lifted after issuing his sixth walk of the game in the bottom of the fifth. The freshman also gave up six hits and was charged with five runs, four of which were earned.

Kinker relieved and the Rebels reclaimed the lead. After Ames notched his third hit of the game, Kinker struck out Bryan Menendez, but catcher Jalen Washington made a snap throw down to first that was off line. As the ball bounced into short right field, Max Smith trotted home for a 5-4 UNLV advantage.

Meanwhile, reliever Corey Wilson settled the game down for the Rebels. The lefty threw three hitless innings, but Ohio State got to him in the top of the sixth. After Kuhn walked to lead things off, Davis singled to give the Buckeyes runners on the corners with nobody out. Craig Nenning then put down a well-executed squeeze bunt up the first base line to bring Kuhn in to tie the game at five.

A fly ball to deep left-center off the bat of Montgomery after Davis had advanced to third on a wild pitch put Ohio State back in the lead, 6-5.

In the seventh, Dawson displayed his speed and baserunning daring to give the Buckeyes a 7-5 lead. After being hit by a pitch, the Grove City, Ohio native tagged up and advanced to second on a fly ball to center off the bat of Sergakis. Gantt followed with a single back up the middle and Dawson scored standing up despite a close play.

Gantt then scored on a throwing error by UNLV third baseman Kyle Isbel after Kuhn hit what looked to be a routine grounder to extend the lead to 8-5.

Ames stayed hot in the bottom half of the inning, as the Rebels got one back off Ohio State reliever Michael Horejsei. After Smith reached on a throwing error by Davis, Ames torched one to dead center that got over Montgomery's head. The RBI double was the Tucson native's fourth hit of the ballgame.

A two-out single by Nick Rodriguez brought Ames home and drew UNLV back to within one at 8-7. Rodriguez advanced to second on an error by Dawson in left, and Horejsei's appearance was over. Austin Woodby came out of the bullpen to record the final out of the inning.

Yianni Pavlopoulos entered in the eighth and tossed two scoreless innings to earns his third save of the season. The redshirt sophomore made it interesting, but struck out three, including the final out of the night.

Up next for the Buckeyes is the home opener at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium on Friday against Hofstra. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. ET.