On a night with plenty of offense, the Ohio State baseball team used more late-inning heroics to beat Toledo, 9-8, at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus. The Buckeyes won the game on a two-out, two-run double by junior Troy Montgomery in the bottom of the ninth for another walk-off win.
WHAT. A. GAME.— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) March 31, 2016
Montgomery seals it with a WALK OFF DOUBLE!!@OhioState_BASE wins 9-8 v Toledo! @OhioStAthletics https://t.co/n5wf3flrXD
Montgomery, who doubled twice on the night and stole a base, helped Ohio State improve to 16-7-1 on the season and bailed out both closer Yianni Pavlopoulos and the umpires after a controversial call in the top of the ninth aided Toledo in taking the lead.
Pavlopoulos, who had converted six save opportunities coming into the night, gave up three runs in the ninth, surrendering a 7-5 lead. It seemed he had the game closed out on a ground ball off the bat of the Rockets' Deion Tansel, but the umpire at first called him safe. A double and a single later, the Buckeyes trailed 8-7.
Despite the setback, Pavlopoulos earned his second win of the season in a game that saw the two teams combine to score 17 runs, collect 23 hits, and use 12 pitchers.
Redshirt sophomore Austin Woodby started on the bump, his college debut as a starter, but it did not go well particularly well. The Springboro, Ohio native took a no-decision, surrendering five runs on eight hits in only two innings of work.
Toledo's Jordan Kesson, also making his first career start, fared even worse. The right-hander lasted just 0.2 innings, giving up three runs on one hit and four walks.
Buckeye third baseman Nick Sergakis, the Big Ten leader in hits, continued to roll. The Columbus native extended his reached safely streak to all 24 games this season, going 2-for-5 with a home run, a double, two runs scored, and three RBIs.
Right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic continued his incredible season as well, hitting his team-leading eighth home run of the season, walking twice, and scoring two runs.
In the top of the first, Toledo sprinted out to a 4-0 lead off of Woodby. A two-run homer by A.J. Montoya, an RBI double by Ryan Callahan, and a run-scoring single off the bat of Brad Boss did the damage.
In the bottom of the frame, Ohio State repaid the favor to the Kesson. After back to back walks to Bosiokovic and Ronnie Dawson put two runners on base for Sergakis, who entered the night second in the Big Ten in batting average at .418, he delivered a two-run double into the left-center gap to cut the lead in half.
Sergakis then stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by fellow co-captain Jalen Washington to trim the lead to 4-3.
Toledo got a run back in the top of the second after Woodby had retired the first two hitters on just four pitches. Tansel singled to left and stole second for the second time in the game. Dalton Bollinger followed with a double into the left-center gap for a 5-3 lead.
Alex Wagner, who relieved Kesson to end the first, joined an exclusive club in the bottom of the second. He became one of just two pitchers to give up a home run to Craig Nennig. The Ohio State senior shortstop, who was homerless coming into the season, hit a shot out to left, his second of the season, to cut the lead to 5-4.
Lefty Joe Stoll did a nice job in relief of Woodby, silencing the Rockets' bats in four innings of work. Stoll gave up just one hit, walked one, and struck out three..
In the bottom of the fifth, the Buckeyes took their first lead of the night thanks to a pair of solo home runs by Bosiokovic and Sergakis off Toledo reliever Steven Duby. When the inning was over, the scarlet and gray held a 6-5 lead.
Dawson supplied an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with a bases loaded sacrifice fly, bringing Tre Gantt across the plate for a 7-5 lead.
Redshirt sophomore Kyle Michalik and senior Michael Horejsei kept the Rockets off the board in the seventh and eighth, but Pavlopoulos couldn't get out of the ninth without the go-ahead run crossing the plate.
In the bottom of the ninth, though, Troy Kuhn led off with a double against Toledo closer Michael Jacob to give Ohio State life. After a Washington sacrifice bunt and walks to Brady Cherry and Zach Ratcliff, the bases were loaded. Nennig popped out to the second baseman, but Montgomery picked up his teammate with a shot off the wall in left-center as a jubilation ensued.
The Buckeyes will play host to a non-conference series this weekend against Bethune-Cookman. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET.