Ohio State baseball ran into the Brendan McKay show and an offensive onslaught on Saturday afternoon in its NCAA regional game against Louisville. The Cardinals' sophomore pitcher tossed 5.2 innings of shutout ball and went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in at the plate to power the host team to a dominating 15-3 victory.
With the win, Louisville advances to a 4:00 p.m. ET game on Sunday with a chance to win the regional. The Buckeyes will play an elimination game against Wright State prior to that at 12:00 p.m. ET, with the winner taking on the Cardinals.
McKay, last year's national Freshman of the Year and a third-team Louisville Slugger All-American and Golden Spikes finalist in 2016, utilized a fastball sitting in the low-to-mid-90s and a devastating breaking ball in silencing an Ohio State offense that had put up 22 runs in its previous three games. The lefty had 10 strikeouts and yielded just three hits and three walks.
Louisville's lineup was relentless in pounding out 19 hits on the day, including six doubles, a triple, and three home runs, and saw every starter save for one collect at least one hit and score at least one run.
Meanwhile, Ohio State's lone offensive highlights came from senior Daulton Mosbarger, who hit his first home run in a scarlet and gray uniform, a two-run, pinch-hit shot down the right field line in the eighth, and followed that with an RBI single in the ninth.
The Buckeyes had senior John Havird on the bump, fresh off an eight inning, two-hit effort in the Big Ten tournament against Iowa in his last outing. The left-hander simply didn't have it on this day, though, lasting just 2+ innings and allowing eight runs on eight hits, with two walks and a strikeout.
Reliever Austin Woodby didn't fare much better for Ohio State, allowing six runs on eight hits in two innings of his own. The righty walked three and struck out one.
McKay showed why he is perhaps the premier two-way player in the country in the very first inning. After striking out the side in the top half, he thumped a two-out, two-run home run off Havird to give Louisville a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Cardinals blew the game wide open, and it was McKay again doing damage. After a leadoff walk and a single, Havird caught too much plate on an 0-2 fastball and McKay ripped it into right field for the RBI. Devin Hairston followed that with a run-scoring double to the gap in right-center.
A passed ball by Buckeyes' catcher Jalen Washington allowed McKay to score. An RBI double by Blake Tiberi and a two-run homer by Danny Rosenbaum made it an 8-0 Cardinals' advantage.
Austin Woodby relieved Havird, but couldn't stop the bleeding. An RBI single by Corey Ray, a surefire top-10 pick in next week's Major League Baseball draft, made it 9-0, and after Ray stole second and third, he came home with Louisville's 10th run of the day on a single by Will Smith.
Rosenbaum hit his second two-run bomb of the day off Woodby in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 12-0, and Louisville made it a baker's dozen a few batters later with an RBI double by Smith.
That number would become 14-0 on an RBI groundout by Colin Lyman in the bottom of the fifth, closing the book on Woodby.
The game had two weather delays, the first lasting just about ten minutes and the second about forty-five. McKay was replaced after the second delay by junior right-hander Shane Hummel, who was unable to keep the shutout alive thanks to the efforts of Mosbarger.
Lefty Joe Stoll threw the final four innings for the Buckeyes, allowing a run on three hits.
Ohio State will now fight to extend its season on Sunday. The game with Wright State is scheduled to begin at noon and will be available for live streaming on ESPN3.