On wrestling night at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus (can’t make this up), Ohio State baseball delivered a stone-cold stunner to visiting Purdue, notching its first victory in Big Ten play by a score of 13-2.
The Buckeyes scored three times in the first inning, once in the second, three again in the third, and twice more in the fourth, taking advantage of rainy, windy conditions and uncharacteristic command problems for Boilermakers’ starter Tanner Andrews to run away with things.
Andrews has been a major reason that first year head coach Mark Wasikowski’s squad is enjoying a revival, already topping last season’s win total. With the exception of one tough start, the junior right-hander has been a true ace for the Boilermakers.
That’s what made his performance in this one tough for Purdue to overcome. Andrews allowed seven runs, six earned, on six hits in just three innings of work, walking five and throwing four wild pitches on a night when every member of the Ohio State starting lineup reached base safely.
The first crooked number went up in the bottom of the first. Jalen Washington and Noah McGowan each singled with two down in the frame, and Zach Ratcliff was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Andrews then uncorked a wicked wild pitch that careened off the catcher’s shin guard and shot down the first base line, allowing Washington and McGowan to both score and Ratcliff to reach third. Brady Cherry delivered an RBI single to left-center to bring home Ratcliff for a 3-0 lead.
Command problems plagued Andrews again in the second. The right-hander walked Dominic Canzone and Noah West to start the inning, then advanced both into scoring position on a wild pitch with Tre’ Gantt at the plate. A couple of pitches later, another wild one went to the backstop, and Canzone scampered home.
In the third, Tyler Cowles and Canzone both singled with one out, putting runners on the corners. West followed with a sacrifice fly to left to plate Cowles and push the advantage to 5-0. After a Gantt walk, Jacob Barnwell delivered a two-run single, and the rout was on.
The scarlet and gray delivered the knockout blow to Andrews in the fourth when McGowan led off with a triple. He scored one batter later when Ratcliff singled back up the middle off Boilermaker reliever Hunter Wolfe.
Ratcliff would eventually score himself, making it a 9-0 lead, when Wolfe uncorked a wild pitch of his own with two outs and West in the batter’s box.
Benefitting from the onslaught was Yianni Pavlopoulos, who was inserted into the starting rotation for the weekend in place of the injured Adam Niemeyer. After struggling in his role at the back end of the bullpen in recent weeks, the redshirt junior breezed through five scoreless innings, allowing a mere two hits and striking out three.
With the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth, the Buckeyes tacked on four more against reliever Adam Dressler. Andrew Fishel singled, Washington reached on an error, and McGowan walked to load the bases with nobody out. Bo Coolen, pinch hitting for Ratcliff, roped a double down the right field line to clear the bases. He would later score as well on a Canzone groundout.
Reece Calvert and Connor Curlis followed Pavlopoulos out of the bullpen, and continued the solid performance on the mound. Calvert tossed two scoreless and Curlis yielded just a pair of unearned runs with four punchouts in his two innings to close things out.
It was a refreshing performance for Ohio State as compared to recent games when the team claimed an early lead and experienced a letdown. Head coach Greg Beals had spoken earlier in the week of “attack it one game at a time and take care of the things that are in the moment,” and it seems the message was received.
The Buckeyes have now won two in a row, improving to 11-14 overall, and getting off the schneid in conference play has them 1-3. Game two of the three game set with Purdue is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, with Big Ten Network broadcasting the matchup live.