The Ohio State baseball team will return to Columbus from the Sunshine State Classic in Osceola, Florida with a .500 record after dropping Sunday’s game to Kansas State, 3-2. The Buckeyes lost their final two games of the weekend tournament.
Right-hander Jake Post, making his first appearance since 2015 after sitting out last season with Tommy John surgery, had a solid outing for Ohio State. In six innings of work, the redshirt senior gave up two runs on five hits, striking out three and not issuing a walk in taking a no-decision.
Seniors Jalen Washington and Zach Ratcliff each had a pair of hits in the losing effort, as the Buckeyes failed to come up with the clutch hitting they needed late in the game, stranding a total of eight runners in the ballgame.
Kansas State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to two hits and a hit batter with two outs. Josh Rolette’s single to right plated Steve Serratore for the early lead. Post settled in after that in his return to the mound, setting down 10 of the next 11 batters he faced.
There was trouble in the fifth, though, as the Wildcats scored another run. A leadoff bunt single by Will Brennan and a sacrifice bunt by Josh Ethier put a runner in scoring position, and an infield single by Cameron Thompson brought Brennan all the way around.
But the Buckeyes were able to answer in the bottom half of the frame. With one out, Shea Murray sent a long fly ball down the right field line. It stayed in the park, but he ended up on third base with a triple. After Jacob Barnwell worked a walk, Tre Gantt ripped a single into right-center to bring Murray home.
Washington followed that up with a double into the gap in left-center, which brought Barnwell around to tie the game and gave Ohio State two runners in scoring position with just one out. It also ended the day for starter Parker Rigler.
Side-armer Nick Jones relieved and got Noah McGowan to send a grounder to third. Gantt was hung up in a rundown and tagged out, and Tyler Cowles grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.
Freshman Jake Vance made his collegiate debut in relief of Post in the seventh, and the righty from Canton Central Catholic worked around a leadoff infield single to keep the game knotted up. He wouldn’t be able to escape in the eighth, though.
Jake Wodtke led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Serratore. Jake Scudder then singled to center, bringing Wodtke home and giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead. Vance would take the loss in the game.
KState got two shutout innings of relief from sophomore right-hander Mitch Zubradt, picking up the win, and senior lefty Jordan Floyd worked through a jam in the eighth and a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.
Up next for the baseball Bucks is a trip to the desert for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Surprise, Arizona. Ohio State will play two games apiece against Utah and Oregon State in a stern early season test Thursday through Sunday.