Ohio State improved to 17-7-1 on the season with a 6-2 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Friday night. It was the fifth straight win for the Buckeyes, and their 10th in the past 11 games.
The starting pitchers on both sides were on their game early on a chilly, windy night in Columbus. Ohio State's Tanner Tully was perfect through the first three innings, and finished with a very strong 8-inning outing, improving to 4-1 on the year. The lefty allowed two runs while scattering eight hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
B-CU's German Hernandez was equally tough, keeping the Buckeyes off the board through the first four innings and finishing with 6.1 innings of six-hit ball with four strikeouts and a walk. The righty allowed five runs, but only three were earned, as he took the loss.
Jalen Washington was the only Buckeye with more than one hit in the ballgame. The junior co-captain was 2-for-4, scoring a run, driving one in, and throwing out a base stealer from his catcher position.
It wasn't until the bottom of the fifth that Ohio State finally broke the scoreless stalemate. Washington got aboard to lead things off with an infield single and eventually came around on a nice piece of two-out hitting by Craig Nennig for a 1-0 lead.
Troy Montgomery followed that with a double the other way, capping a very good at-bat with several good pitches fouled off, and Nennig was waved around. Montgomery then stole third and the throw from B-CU catcher Clay Middleton sailed into left field, allowing the Buckeye center fielder to trot home for a 3-run inning.
The Wildcats answered back with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth off Tully, stringing together three straight hits. Rakeem Quinn bunted his way on, Jameel Edney doubled off the wall in left, and Michael Cruz singled back up the middle, cutting the lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ohio State put up a pair of insurance runs and ended Hernandez's day thanks to some sloppiness in the field by Bethune-Cookman. Brady Cherry reached when Quinn dropped a fly ball in left. After an L. Grant Davis single and a sacrifice bunt by Nennig, Montgomery sent a grounder to shortstop Demetrius Sims which was booted. Jake Brobst, pinch running for Cherry crossed the plate.
A balk by Wildcat reliever Joseph Calamita brought Davis home to restore the three-run Buckeye lead at 5-2.
After Tully worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth thanks to a gritty 6-3 double play turned by Nennig, the Buckeyes added a little more extra padding to the lead against reliever Zach Olszewski. Nick Sergakis extended his reached safely streak with a single to lead off. The senior co-captain, who has reached in every game this season, moved to second on a wild pitch, third on a sacrifice fly by Troy Kuhn, and scored on a Washington single.
Sophomore Seth Kinker relieved Tully in the ninth and set B-CU down 1-2-3 to close out the game.
Game two of the series will take place on Saturday at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET, with the game available on BTN Plus. Adam Niemeyer is scheduled to be on the bump for Ohio State against B-CU's Tyler Norris.