Familiar themes were on display for Ohio State baseball on Saturday afternoon in a 11-4 loss to UNC-Greensboro at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus. The Buckeyes pitchers got knocked around, the defense made costly mistakes, and the offense couldn’t get anything going until it was way too late as the club lost its sixth weekend series in seven attempts.
Ohio State has now lost three games in a row and seven out of eight, its record for the season sinking to 4-11 at home and 15-24 overall.
Scarlet and gray batters collected eight hits in the ballgame (though six of those came when the team was already losing by 10) and struck out nine times.
Freshman Connor Pohl had a pair of doubles and a run batted in, while fellow frosh Dominic Canzone extended his hitting streak to five games. Sophomore Andrew Fishel also had a multi-hit effort.
Sophomore Connor Curlis took the loss, though he was let down early by his defense. In 4.1 innings, the lefty allowed eight runs. Two of them were unearned thanks to three errors behind him. Curlis, now 2-2 on the year, walked one and struck out four.
His counterpart for the Spartans, right-hander Matt Frisbee, had smooth sailing with the exception of one rough inning. He went 8.1 innings, yielding four runs on eight hits, while issuing four free passes and punching out nine in improving to 6-2.
The Buckeyes actually appeared to take an early lead after a Tre’ Gantt walk and a ball ripped down the left field line by Brady Cherry. Home plate umpire James Muhleck called the ball foul, though, which seemed to defy reality. Head coach Greg Beals argued vehemently with Muhleck, but his pleas went for naught.
Defensive miscues have been an issue for Ohio State all season, and in the second inning they led to a crooked number for UNCG. Curlis walked the leadoff man, which is never what a pitcher wants to do. The next three Spartan batters reached base, in part due to a pair of errors by second baseman Pohl and one by Gantt in center. When the dust had settled, the score was 3-0.
To the Buckeyes credit, they rebounded to answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. After Jacob Barnwell was hit by a pitch, Pohl found a little redemption for his mishaps in the field, sending a double to left-center to get his team on the board.
The opportunity for more was staring Ohio State in the face after Shea Murray walked and Fishel singled to load the bases. But Frisbee struck out Jalen Washington and got an easy popup off the bat of Gantt to escape the jam.
That would come back to bite the Buckeyes in the top of the third, as Greensboro added to its lead. Cesar Trejo led the inning off with a double and was sacrificed to third. He trotted home to make it a 4-1 ballgame on a single by Austin Embler.
In the fourth, two more Spartan runs would cross the plate. Ryne Sigmon and Ben Spitznagel started the inning with back-to-back singles, and both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. An RBI groundout by Caleb Webster and a run-scoring single by Michael Goss pushed the advantage out to 6-1.
Meanwhile, Frisbee started to settle in. He retired 12 in a row at one point, needing just ten pitches to retire the side in the third, seven in the fourth, and six in the fifth.
UNCG’s onslaught continued in the fifth, and Curlis was chased from the game. The first two batters of the inning singled, and a sacrifice bunt moved them both into scoring position. At that point, Beals went to Curtiss Irving out of the bullpen. The right-hander’s first pitched was lashed down the right field line by Sigmon for a two-run double, making it a seven-run lead.
The Spartans put three more on the board in the sixth thanks to a run-scoring groundout by Trejo, an RBI double by Tripp Shelton, and an RBI groundout by Ryan Clinch. Irving faced a total of seven batters, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk while recording just three outs. Lefty Joe Stoll replaced him to record the final out of the inning with Ohio State trailing 11-1.
Stoll set Greensboro down 1-2-3 in the seventh, the first time it had happened all game. A pair of walks and a Gantt RBI single in the home half of the inning brought in Ohio State’s second run of the game.
Frisbee couldn’t quite cap things off in the ninth, allowing a double to Pohl, a single to Fishel, and an RBI double to Washington before being pulled. Brandon Stephens relieved him, yielding a sacrifice fly to Gantt before retiring Cherry on a groundout to end the game.
Game three of the series is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. Ohio State will send junior righty Reece Calvert to the mound looking to avoid the sweep.