On a damp, windy Friday night in Ann Arbor, the air wasn’t the only thing that was cold. Ohio State’s bats were in a deep freeze as well, as the Buckeyes were shutout by No. 17 Michigan, 6-0, in game one of this weekend’s Big Ten series.
The scarlet and gray, battling to keep their slim conference tournament hopes alive, fell to 5-11 in Big Ten play, 17-28 overall, and have now lost four games in a row.
Ohio State has had issues scoring runs for much of the season, and this one was no different. Michigan’s Oliver Jaskie retired the first 10 batters he faced to start the ballgame, and limited the Buckeyes to seven hits while throwing a complete game, striking out 14 and walking just one batter.
The Wolverines were paced by senior center fielder Johnny Slater, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and three runs batted in. Slater suffered an AC joint sprain in his shoulder last weekend against Rutgers and had been questionable to play.
Jake Post was on the bump for Ohio State, and has been the case more often than not, he turned in a solid start, though one bad inning plagued him. The redshirt senior righty gave up five runs on six hits in 5.2 innings, walking three and striking out five. Four of those five runs were given up in the sixth inning.
About all that can be said about the Buckeyes’ performance at the plate is that freshman Dominic Canzone collected a pair of hits in the game, pushing his hitting streak to what is now a team season-high 11 games. The team had just a grand total of four at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Wolverines grabbed the early lead against Post thanks to an RBI double by Slater in the bottom of the second after a one-out single by Jimmy Kerr.
As Jaskie cruised, Post settled down and threw up zeroes as well. It wasn’t until he had retired the first two batters in the bottom of the sixth that he ran into trouble again. A walk and a double gave Michigan two runners in scoring position, and Slater stepped up, tripling to the right-center gap to push the lead to 3-0.
Post, already well above 100 pitches in the outing, was left on the mound to try to end the inning against Harrison Wenson. That proved to be a mistake, as the Wolverine catcher sent a 2-2 pitch sailing over the wall in left-center. It was 5-0 Michigan, and Post’s day was done.
The Wolverines added a run in the eighth against Ohio State reliever Austin Woodby thanks to a two-out double by Jake Bivens to the right-center gap that scored Slater.
Those runs would be more than enough for Jaskie, who went the distance and never gave the Buckeyes the slightest opening to get anything going.
Game two of the series is scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday at Ray Fisher Stadium. The action will be available for live streaming on BTN Plus.