The Ohio State baseball team picked up its fifth straight win against a ranked opponent, and its seventh straight win overall with a 3-2 outlasting of Minnesota on the road on Thursday night. The Buckeyes improved to 14-8 in Big Ten play, and moved into sole possession of third place in the standings.
Ohio State came up with clutch two-out hitting in their final at-bat to score the go-ahead run. Craig Nennig hit a seeing-eye single, Ronnie Dawson floated a single, and Troy Kuhn chopped a ball to short with no play to be made to break a 2-2 tie and give the Buckeyes a big series-opening win.
Troy Montgomery, who has been hitting fifth the past couple of weeks after leading off the past two seasons, showed he likes hitting in Minneapolis. The junior reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with three singles, a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
Starting pitcher Tanner Tully continued to be on top of his game for Ohio State. Though he didn't factor in the decision, the junior lefty tossed his ninth quality start of the season, going 6 innings while limiting the Gophers to two runs on 10 hits, striking out four and walking one.
For Minnesota, starter Matt Fiedler matched Tully, giving up two runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work, though his four wild pitches would factor in the Buckeyes' scoring.
In the top of the second, Ohio State claimed the early 1-0 lead thanks to the speed of Montgomery. The Buckeye center fielder led off with an infield single, advanced to third on a single by Jalen Washington, and scored when Fiedler uncorked a wild pitch.
Minnesota tied the game in the bottom of the frame after a single by Austin Athmann and a double by Micah Coffey set up Matt Stemper for an RBI groundout.
The Gophers used some timely two-out hitting in the bottom of the fifth to claim their first lead of the ballgame. Fiedler, Athmann, and Coffey all singled off Tully, with the last resulting in a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota maintained the lead until the top of the seventh when Tre Gantt got the Buckeyes going with a one-out single. Gantt moved to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a Nick Sergakis single, and tied the game when Fiedler let loose another wild pitch.
Tully ran into trouble in the seventh the first two batters singled, but Seth Kinker came in out of the bullpen and put out the fire. The sophomore rolled a double play and got a fly out from Athmann to strand a runner at third.
On the other side, Lucas Gilbreath took over for Fiedler in the seventh and shut Ohio State down until the top of the ninth.
Senior Michael Horejsei took over in the eighth and recorded the final six outs to shut down the Gophers and seal the victory.
The two teams will take field at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday for Game Two of the series, which will air live on Big Ten Network. Ohio State's John Havird will be on the bump against Minnesota's Dalton Sawyer.