Ohio State has another piece of hardware to add to the trophy case after the Buckeye baseball team defeated Iowa in dramatic fashion, 8-7, to win the Big Ten Tournament championship. The title is the ninth in program history and first since 2007, and comes with the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Troy Kuhn laced a double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to bring Ronnie Dawson around with the game-winning run. Dawson had singled up the middle with two outs against Iowa reliever Josh Martsching.
The win was nearly a replay for Ohio State, which blew a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Hawkeyes on Thursday night before ultimately falling in extra innings. Iowa scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth of this one to tie things up before the Buckeyes pulled it out.
In the eighth, Ohio State reliever Michael Horejsei struggled, loading the bases and exiting with two outs. The Buckeyes brought on closer Yianni Pavlopoulos, and he abruptly gave up a two-run double to Iowa's Tyler Peyton, trimming the lead to 7-6. Joel Booker then delivered a game-tying single.
Pavlopoulos closed things out in the ninth to deliver the championship to the Scarlet and Gray.
Dawson, who made a strong case for Most Outstanding Player in the tournament going 15-for-26 (.578), led the charge offensively with a 3-for-5 day, scoring three times and driving in two. Kuhn had three RBIs of his own in a 2-for-5 game.
Iowa took the early lead, scoring a run against Ohio State starter Adam Niemeyer in the bottom of the first. Tyler Peyton led off with a walk and advanced to third on a bloop single to center by Joe Booker. Mason McCoy then sent a ground ball to second base which brought Peyton home.
In the third, the Hawkeyes extended the lead with a crooked number. Peyton doubled over Gantt's head in right field and hustled into third when Gantt had trouble picking up the ball. A single by Booker brought him home.
Booker advanced to third on a double by McCoy, then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Austin Guzzo. McCoy came plateward a batter later thanks to a Robert Neustrom single, and it was 4-0.
Mathews was pulled after three innings, and Ohio State broke through against reliever Ryan Erickson. Nick Sergakis and Craig Nennig led off with back-to-back singles, and Dawson did what he's done all tournament long, smacking a double off the wall in right-center.
Dawson stole third, then scored the third run of the inning when Montgomery drag-bunted his way aboard. Jacob Bosiokovic followed that with a single, and Erickson's day was done. C.J. Eldred came out of the bullpen, but could not stop the bleeding. Washington doubled into the gap in left-center, which scored Montgomery to tie the game and gave the Buckeyes two runners in scoring position with one out.
After Bosiokovic was thrown out trying to score on a chopper to third, Washington scored from second with some heads up baserunning. On a hot shot single by Gantt that glanced off the glove of shortstop Nick Roscetti on a leaping attempt, the Buckeye catcher came all the way around, sliding in ahead of Roscetti's throw to give Ohio State a 5-4 lead.
Tanner Tully entered the game after that big inning and controlled the Hawkeye bats, yielding just three hits and one walk, striking out two in three innings of work.
In the seventh, Ohio State got some much-needed insurance against Nick Allgeyer, scoring twice to extend the lead to 7-5. Gantt laid down a bunt single to lead off and went to third on a bloop double by Dawson. Both runners came plateward on a sharp two-out single by Kuhn.
Seth Kinker, who was responsible for the Hawkeyes coming back to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday night, came on in relief looking for redemption. The right-hander, making his tournament record fifth appearance of the week, threw a scoreless seventh before giving way to Horejsei in the eighth.
Ohio State will find out its NCAA regional destination on Monday, as this year's bracket is announced live at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU.