Program victory No. 2,500 will have to wait another day for Ohio State baseball. The Buckeyes dropped their Big Ten opener, 6-5, to Northwestern on Friday night in Columbus.
Ohio State fell to 12-7-1 on the season, and had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Senior third baseman Nick Sergakis extended his streak of reaching base safely in every game thus far in 2016, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run and an RBI single in the losing effort.
Northwestern got on the board in the top of the first thanks to some sloppy play by Ohio State. Leadoff man Jack Dunn hit a routine groundball to shortstop Craig Nennig that was booted, and was followed by a double from Zach Jones to give the Wildcats two runners in scoring position. With designated hitter Jack Schieber at the plate, a pitch from Tully got away from catcher Jalen Washington, and Dunn trotted home for a 1-0 lead.
After Schieber walked and right fielder Matt Hopfner flied to short center, Jack Claeys laid down a bunt that Tully fielded. The Buckeye lefty went home with the ball, but Washington was unable to apply the tag to Jones, and Northwestern took a 2-0 lead.
Tully had to work a little after that, but held the Wildcats in check for the next four innings. The junior southpaw finished with two runs allowed, one earned, with a career-high four walks and four strikeouts in his five innings of work.
His counterpart for Northwestern, lefty Reed Mason, gave up a few loud outs in the early going, but kept Ohio State in check. Mason kept the Buckeye bats scoreless for five innings, allowing just two hits in that span.
The Wildcats added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth off reliever Austin Woodby. A pair of singles by Connor Lind and Willie Bourbon gave Northwestern runners on the corners with nobody out. An errant pickoff attempt at first, an error on Brady Cherry, allowed Lind to come home. Bourbon came plateward on a two-out single by Dunn for a 4-0 lead.
Ohio State finally got to Mason in the bottom of the sixth. Jacob Bosiokovic, back in the lineup after missing nine games with a hamstring injury, led things off with a double. Two batters later, Nick Sergakis sent his second home run of the season over the wall in left to trim the lead in half, 4-2.
Mason finished with two runs allowed on four hits, striking out six and walking two in six innings of work before being relieved by Tommy Bordignon. Bordignon lasted 1+ innings before a leadoff walk to Ronnie Dawson in the bottom of the eighth, the third of the night for the Wildcat righty, ended his night.
Dawson stole second and third on consecutive pitches by right-handed reliever Pete Hofman. Sergakis then delivered an RBI single under the glove of Bourbon at second to bring the Buckeyes back to within one, 4-3.
Troy Kuhn reached on an error and Washington walked to load the bases for Ohio State with one out. Tre Gantt then worked a walk, the seventh for Buckeye hitters, to bring Sergakis home and tie the game up at four.
The tie was perilous, though, as Northwestern reclaimed the lead in the top of the ninth. A single by Ben Dickey off Yianni Pavlopoulos and one for Jones off Seth Kinker, along with a walk by Schieber loaded the bases with one out. A single by Hopfner brought home the game-winning run. A sacrifice fly by Claeys made it 6-4 and sealed the Buckeyes' fate.
Ryan Leffel delivered a pinch hit RBI double in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough.
The two sides will take the field for game two on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET.