After spending the first month of the season on the road, the Ohio State baseball team wanted to play as much as possible on their home field at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes got their wish in the home opener on Saturday afternoon, hosting Xavier in a marathon 13-inning affair.
Ohio State fell, 3-2, on a day when temperatures hovered just above freezing. Redshirt junior Curtiss Irving yielded the winning run to the Musketeers in the top of the 13th with a bases loaded, full count walk. The run batted in was credited to Joe Gellenbeck, with the run scored by Conor Grammes.
Tre’ Gantt singled in the bottom of the inning to put the tying run on base, but his teammates couldn’t bring him around. Gantt had three hits in the game, the lone offensive bright spot.
In a game in which all of the scoring before the extra frames happened in the first three innings, Ohio State was held to just four hits and struck out 17 times, and the Buckeye bullpen could only hold out for so long.
Kyle Michalik, Seth Kinker, and Yianni Pavlopoulos combined to toss seven scoreless innings of relief for the scarlet and gray.
Jake Post started on the mound for Ohio State, and had kind of an all-or-nothing-day in the chilly conditions. In five innings of work, the redshirt senior right-hander allowed two runs on six hits, walking four and striking out six. Post did not figure into the decision.
Also not figuring in the decision was the Musketeers’ Zac Lowther, though through no fault of his own. The junior southpaw allowed just one hit in his six innings of work, but gave up two runs, only one of which was earned. Lowther walked three batters, but also set down 11 via the strikeout.
Xavier struck first, putting up a run on Post in the top of the first inning. Mitch Gallagher led off with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a fly ball to center off the bat of Sam Flamini. A two-out single by Nate Monastra brought him plateward for the early lead.
The Musketeers tacked on one more in the second after Lowther struck out the side in the bottom of the first. Conor Grammes hit a leadoff double to right-center and Will Larue singled, putting runners on the corners. A safety squeeze by Matt Fallon scored Grammes.
Ohio State erased the deficit in half in the bottom of the third, scoring its first runs of the season at home. Shea Murray worked a leadoff walk, and Lowther committed a throwing error when Jacob Barnwell attempted a sacrifice bunt, giving the Buckeyes two on with nobody out. After Gantt bunted both runners over, Jalen Washington sent a fly ball to center field, scoring Murray. Noah McGowan followed with a single to score Barnwell and tie the game 2-2.
Post and Lowther held both teams’ bats in check from there, turning things over to their respective bullpens with the game still knotted at two runs apiece.
The relief corps on both sides did their job and then some. Michalik allowed a lone hit in two scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh for Ohio State, Kinker followed by putting three zeroes of his own on the board, and Pavlopoulos worked through two without allowing a run. For Xavier, Matt Kent tossed 4.1 scoreless frames, and Taylor Williams worked the final 2.2 innings to lock down the win.
The Buckeyes and Musketeers will now shift venues to Cincinnati thanks to predicted inclement weather in Columbus. A Sunday doubleheader at Hayden Field will get started at noon.