Ohio State baseball’s season of disappointment continued on Friday night at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus. The Buckeyes were beaten 11-4 by UNC-Greensboro, their sixth loss in the last seven games.
The club saw its record at home fall to 4-10, and now sits 15-23 overall.
The up and down season of right-hander Yianni Pavlopoulos continued. The redshirt junior couldn’t keep the Spartans bats in check, allowing 10 runs, eight earned, on 13 hits in five innings of work, walking four and striking out just one. Pavlopoulos is now 2-5 on the year.
Ohio State’s offense couldn’t keep pace with the UNCG attack, though to the team’s credit, it didn’t roll over after falling behind big in the early going. Freshman Dominic Canzone continued to be a bright spot, extending his hitting streak to four games with a 2-for-4 night at the plate, scoring a run and driving on in. Junior Tre’ Gantt also had a solid performance, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and run scored of his own, and classmate Bo Coolen collected a pair of hits and picked up an RBI as well.
Greensboro was successful hitting with men on base, going 10-for-22 for the game in those situations, and 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position, which ultimately made the difference on the scoreboard.
UNCG starter Bryce Hensley had his difficulties just as Pavlopoulos did. The lefty tossed 4.2 innings, yielding four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out six. A sudden loss of the strike zone in the fifth inning made for a shorter outing than Hensley is accustomed to.
Pavlopoulos got through the first inning and the first two outs of the second with little difficulty, but Greensboro got a rally going to plate a pair before he could finish the second frame. A single, a walk, and an error by second baseman Noah West led to the first run, while an RBI single by Ben Spitznagel brought in the second.
The Spartans would double their lead in the third, again with two-out offense. After Jacob Barnwell threw out his eighth runner of the season, Pavlopoulos walked Cesar Trejo. Tripp Shelton followed that with a two-run bomb to right field, making it a 4-0 ballgame.
Greensboro tacked on another pair of runs in the fourth, as Pavlopoulos lost his command. He walked the first two batters of the inning on eight pitches, and a sacrifice bunt attempt ended up going for a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. An RBI single by Andrew Moritz and a squeeze bunt by Michael Goss got the fifth and sixth runs of the game on the scoreboard.
The Buckeyes broke through against Hensley in the fourth with a little two-out hitting of their own. Canzone collected an infield single and stole second, and one batter later with two away Coolen lined a single to right-center to trim the lead to 6-1.
But Pavlopoulos just couldn’t hold the Spartans down in the fifth. A two-out Ryne Sigmon single scored Austin Embler who had doubled down the right field line earlier in the inning, his third hit of the game.
Hensley briefly lost his command in the bottom half of the fifth, walking Shea Murray and West to lead things off. After Jalen Washington hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners at the corners, Gantt delivered an RBI single to score Murray and make it a 7-2 deficit. Washington would later come home thanks to a wild pitch and a Canzone single drove in Gantt to cut the lead to three.
Had Pavlopoulos been able to put a zero on the board in the sixth, perhaps the momentum could have carried over for Ohio State. But a single, an infield single, and a bunt single loaded the bases with nobody out, and brought head coach Greg Beals out of the dugout to make a pitching change.
Reliever Austin Woodby got a fly ball to center off the bat Goss, a sacrifice fly that scored Spitznagel. Gantt made an errant throw on the play, though, which allowed Caleb Webster to score as well, pushing the lead out to 9-4. Three straight singles after that resulted in two more runs, giving UNCG an 11-4 advantage.
Woodby did manage to throw the first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the top of the seventh, but in the home half, Washington, Gantt, and Brady Cherry were set down on just five pitches by Spartans’ reliever Jack Maynard.
Maynard yielded just four hits over 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, putting away the victory for UNCG and earning his third win of the season.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with a 3:05 p.m. ET first pitch. The game will be streaming live on BTN Plus as Connor Curlis faces off against Matt Frisbee.