With this weekend’s spring game, Ohio State football found itself back in the spotlight. However, with the scrimmage marking the end of spring practice, the Buckeyes of the gridiron won’t return until the fall. Instead, we turn our eyes to the diamond, where the baseball and softball teams just concluded their respective battles with Michigan, each playing the Wolverines in a three-game series in Columbus.
Ohio State Baseball
We start with the men’s team, who opened their series against the Wolverines on Friday night at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes had their ace Garrett Burhenn on the mound, who dazzled yet again in front of the 1,815 in attendance. The freshman right-hander racked up a season-high seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched, allowing three runs on six hits. Ohio State bats were hot early on, knocking out Michigan starter Tommy Henry after only four innings with seven runs on eight hits. Overall, the Buckeyes piled up 13 hits en route to a 10-5 win in the series opener.
Saturday’s doubleheader drew one of the largest crowds Ohio State has seen in 15 years, as a whopping 4,841 came out to cheer on the team. Game one was all Buckeyes early on again, scoring nine runs on 11 hits against Michigan starter Karl Kauffmann through the first six innings. Seth Lonsway kept the Wolverines in check as the southpaw allowed just five hits and three runs through 5.2 innings. In another 13-hit performance, Ohio State came away with a 10-4 win to clinch a series victory, looking for a sweep heading into the final game.
Michigan’s bats finally woke up in the third game of the series, scoring six runs on 12 hits as they avoided getting swept with a 6-2 win on Saturday night. Wolverines starter Jeff Criswell kept Ohio State mostly off the board, going 6.2 innings allowing two unearned runs on six hits with four strikeouts. The Bucks scored both runs on two hits and an error in the fifth, with Dominic Canzone recording the team’s only RBI on a grounder to cap off a great series for the junior outfielder.
With the series win over the Wolverines, Ohio State moves to 20-17 on the season and 4-5 against the Big Ten. The Buckeyes won their first ranked series of the year, as Michigan came in ranked No. 24 in the nation. Canzone put up big numbers this weekend, hitting a whopping .643 against UM with a double, a triple, two homers and four RBI against a good Wolverines pitching staff. The junior, who leads Ohio State in average (.360) and on-base percentage (.446), extended his on-base streak to 33 games, a new career-high.
Ohio State will close out its five-game homestand with a matchup against Xavier on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. ET.
Ohio State Softball
The softball team did not have as much early success against the Wolverines, also starting their series in Columbus on Friday, and closing with a doubleheader on Saturday. The opener was especially tough, falling to UM 10-3 on Friday night. OSU catcher Claire Nicholson knocked in two runs with second baseman Emily Clark driving in another, but it was no match for the Wolverines’ offense, which piled up 10 runs on 11 hits and three walks. Michigan starter Carver Beaubien pitched a complete game, going seven innings and recording six strikeouts.
The first game of the doubleheader was not much better for the Buckeyes, this time losing by a score of 6-2. After taking an early two-run lead on first inning home runs from Lilli Piper and Emily Clark, the Wolverines immediately bounced back to take a 3-2 lead in the second. Michigan added two more runs in the third before one final run came across in the seventh as Ohio State’s bats went cold for the remainder of the game.
Game two of the doubleheader was a much different story. Down 1-0 with two outs in the seventh, OSU third baseman Ashley Prange drove a solo homer over the right field wall to tie the game at one apiece, sending the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, outfielder Bri Betschel drove an 0-2 pitch into left field to bring in the game-winning run, snapping the Wolverines’ 17-game winning streak. Buckeye ace Morgan Ray pitched all eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts.
The lady Bucks move to 25-14 on the season, with a 9-5 record in the Big Ten. Betschel extended her hitting streak to five games with her 10th multi-hit outing of the year, while Clark has reached base safely in her last 10 contests. Clark and Piper have lead the team this season, racking up 35 and 22 RBI, respectively. Clark is also tied for the team lead with eight home runs on the year.
Ohio State will close its four-game homestand with a matchup against Ohio on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.