Ohio State is now 2-5 in Big Ten play after falling to Rutgers, 7-4, at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus on Friday night. The Buckeyes have now lost four straight conference games and will need to come up big on Saturday and Sunday to salvage a series win.
Howie Brey of the Scarlet Knights overcame a rough first inning to settle down and put in a very solid start. Brey moved to 4-3 for the year after allowing four runs on seven hits, striking out six and walking three, in a complete game.
Just one member of the starting nine failed to pick up a hit for head coach Joe Litterio, as his team improved to 3-4 in Big Ten play.
This was not Tanner Tully's night for Ohio State. The junior left-hander survived six innings, but gave up seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits and three walks as he fell to 4-3 on the season.
Nick Sergakis drove in a pair of runs for the Buckeyes, and Troy Montgomery hit his seventh home run of the season in the losing effort.
Rutgers put up a crooked number on Tully in the first inning thanks to timely hitting with two outs. R.J. Devish and Mike Carter both reached safely to lead things off, but Tully retired the next two he faced. An infield single by John Jennings loaded the bases and a single to center by Jawuan Harris that was misplayed by Montgomery cleared them, and Ohio State was in a 3-0 hole right off the bat.
The Buckeyes bounced right back in the bottom of the frame, though, scoring three times. A single back up the middle by Jacob Bosiokovic and a bunt single by Ronnie Dawson put two on with one out for Sergakis. The team co-captain did what he's been doing all season, ripping a double into the left-center gap to drive in both runners.
Sergakis came around from second to tie the game when Troy Kuhn looped a single into short left field.
Three straight hits to start the top of the second helped the Scarlet Knights put another three runs on the board. An RBI single from Devish and a two-run double by Chris Suseck made it a 6-3 game.
In the third, Rutgers stayed hot. Christian Campbell led off with a double and came around to score on a single by Milo Freeman for a 7-3 lead.
Montgomery got a run back with a solo home run, his second in as many games.
Freshman Ryan Feltner relieved Tully and threw three scoreless innings, but Brey was just too tough for the Buckeyes' bats to overcome.
Game two of the series will take place on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Ohio State is dedicating the game to the memory of Zach Farmer, the former Buckeye pitcher who passed away from leukemia at the age of 21 last August. Be The Match will be in attendance, with fans encouraged to sign up to be registered as marrow donors at the front gates of Bill Davis Stadium.