In a huge spot, Ohio State got exactly what it needed on Friday night, holding on to beat Michigan 3-2 to start off the final weekend home series of the season. With the victory, the Buckeyes improved to 11-8 in Big Ten play and inched closer to securing a berth in the conference tournament.
This game belonged to Ohio State starter Tanner Tully, who looked every bit the ace of the staff that he's grown into as he picked up his fourth consecutive quality start. Tully tossed eight innings of one run ball, scattering five hits and striking out eight in improving to 7-3 on the season.
Wolverines' starter Brett Adcock had one rough inning, giving up all three of his earned runs in the fifth, and took the loss. For the game, the lefty went 6.2 innings, allowing six hits and walking four while striking out nine.
The offense for the Buckeyes was delivered by their two co-captains. Jalen Washington homered and Nick Sergakis drove in a pair with a single, which was all Tully needed.
Michigan took the early 1-0 lead thanks to a Tully wild pitch. Jonathan Englemann doubled with one out in the top of the second, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly, and came plateward when a breaking ball in the dirt got away from Buckeye catcher Jalen Washington.
Adcock worked out of trouble in the second and remained in control into the fifth. That's when Washington belted his second homer of the season, a solo shot over the left field wall to tie the game at one.
Ohio State wasn't done in the inning, tacking on two more to take a 3-1 lead. After the Washington homer, Brady Cherry doubled into the left field corner and Tre Gantt walked. Both runners advanced a base on an Adcock balk, setting up Sergakis to deliver a two-run single to center.
From there, Tully was lights out. At one point, the lefty set down 16 Wolverines in a row, commanding the strike zone and never allowing the maize and blue to get anything going.
Michael Horejsei struck out the first batter of the ninth inning, and Yianni Pavlopoulos relieved him to close things out, but things got interesting.
Pavlopoulos allowed a run and put both the tying and winning runs on base with two outs, but a highlight reel diving catch by Troy Montgomery in center field ended the game and preserved the win. It was the 11th save of the season for Pavlopoulos.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, and will stream live on BTN Plus. John Havird will be on the bump for the Buckeyes against Michigan's Oliver Jaskie.