Ronnie Dawson provided the theatrics and Ohio State baseball survived to fight another day. In an elimination game on Saturday night at the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, the Buckeyes outlasted Michigan State for a 3-2 win in 10 innings thanks to Dawson's 13th home run of the season.
Leading off the top of the tenth against Spartans' reliever Walter Borkovich, Dawson found a 1-0 slider to his liking and let loose.
"Your big players have to make big plays, and we got one from [Ronnie]," head coach Greg Beals said after the game.
The two teams will now play another elimination game on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET, with the winner advancing to the championship game against Iowa.
Because of Friday night's game against Michigan being suspended, Ohio State's pitching staff was out of turn. Adam Niemeyer threw two innings Friday, and Ryan Feltner picked up where he left off when the game resumed on Saturday afternoon. That meant senior Daulton Mosbarger took the mound against Michigan State in Saturday evening's affair.
Mosbarger gave the Buckeyes 4.1 innings in his first start of the season, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The lefty did not factor in the decision after giving way to Kyle Michalik. The bullpen took it from there, with Seth Kinker and Yianni Pavlopoulos combining with Michalik to throw 5.2 scoreless innings.
Ohio State got on the board first, plating a run in the second inning. Troy Montgomery and Jacob Bosiokovic singled back-to-back to lead things off and were both bunted over by Jalen Washington. Ryan Leffel followed that with an RBI groundout for the 1-0 lead.
Michigan State knotted things up in the bottom of the frame thanks to a single by Kris Simonton, a walk for Marty Bechina, a double steal, and a two-out bunt single by Kory Young.
The Spartans then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third thanks to a leadoff single by Jordan Zimmerman, a sacrifice bunt by Dan Durkin, and RBI single by Matt Byars.
In the top of the fourth, though, the Buckeyes came right back to tie the game. Troy Kuhn singled to lead off and Montgomery beat out a bunt single before Bosiokovic bunted them both into scoring position. Washington then sent a ground ball to second to bring Kuhn in.
From there, the bullpens got involved and the chess match really got going. Both sides executed well defensively, and the game ended up going to extra innings.
That's when Dawson got a hold of one to give Ohio State the 3-2 lead.
Pavlopoulos came on in the bottom of the tenth and recorded his 14th save of the season.
Sunday's rematch will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network, as will the tournament championship, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.