Ohio State baseball kicked off a nine-game homestand on Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium, though kicked off may be the wrong term. The team’s 8-1 loss to Northern Kentucky more closely resembled a blocked punt.
The Buckeyes, who managed just six hits on the night, have lost three midweek games in a row and five of their last six overall. For the year, the club is now 15-22, and answers to their struggles remain as elusive as ever.
On an evening devoid of many positives, freshman Dominic Canzone continued his recent hot performance at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He has now hit in three straight games after having his team-high ten-game streak ended last week.
Fellow freshman Jake Vance made his second start of the season, and it wasn’t one he’s likely to remember fondly. In 2.2 innings, the right-hander gave up five runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out two, and took the loss. Vance was one of eight pitchers head coach Greg Beals used on the night.
For Northern Kentucky, Trey Ganns pulled double duty, starting on the mound and hitting cleanup. The junior lefty homered, doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in four runs at the dish, while also tossing five innings of one-run ball to earn the win.
NKU was excellent with two outs, going 8-for-17 as a team in such situations, scoring six runs.
The Norse jumped out to the early lead thanks to that two-out hitting in the first against Vance. Will Haueter started the rally with a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield, then Ganns roped a double to right-center, and Haueter raced all the way around to score. After Vance walked a batter, Dominic Mercurio shot a single to right to score Ganns and make it 2-0.
Ohio State cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second. Canzone doubled to lead things off and was bunted over to third by Jacob Barnwell. Zach Ratcliff followed with a run-scoring groundout. But it was the last time the team would threaten to score.
Ganns got that run back for himself in the top of the third, demolishing a pitch to dead-center for the solo homer. Mercurio would follow later in the inning with a solo shot of his own, stretching the lead out to 4-1.
Northern Kentucky wasn’t done, either. Kyle Colletta and Brendan Alas knocked back-to-back doubles to put another one on the board and subsequently chase Vance from the game. Curtiss Irving relieved and recorded the final out of the inning.
Things remained that way until the sixth, when the Norse tacked on another run. Kyle Michalik, the Buckeyes’ fourth pitcher of the game, gave up an infield single to start and was abruptly pulled in favor of Joe Stoll. T.J. Alas was the first batter Stoll faced, and he doubled in the runner to make it a five-run advantage.
In the eighth, Ganns did his final bit of damage, as Northern Kentucky again got things going with two outs. Against Buckeye right-hander Ryan Feltner, he laced a double down the left field line that brought two more runs home to reach the game’s final score.
The scarlet and gray will now prepare for a three-game weekend set with UNC-Greensboro in Columbus. First pitch in the lidlifter is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET on Friday evening, and the game will be streaming live on BTN Plus.