The Ohio State baseball team is nearing the end of the regular season, looking to finish things off on a high note. The Buckeyes could not get anything going last weekend in Minnesota, getting swept by the Golden Gophers in a three-game series. However, the team was able to get back on track this week with a good outing against Wright State and a productive series against Big Ten foe Penn State.
OSU came into the week on the cusp of falling to .500, sitting at 24-23 overall with just a 7-11 record in conference. With four home games on the schedule, this seemed to be a perfect scenario for the team to bounce back in a big way — and bounce back they did.
Wednesday night’s single-game matchup with the Raiders did not get off to the hottest of starts, with Ohio State trailing 2-0 early on. Jake Vance had an up-and-down performance in his two innings of work, allowing the two runs on three hits but striking out six. Thomas Waning and Will Pfennig combined for four strong shutout innings in relief as the Bucks were able to tie the game up 2-2 in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Connor Pohl drilled a two-run homer to give OSU their first lead of the game, but a three-run seventh by Wright State had Ohio State trailing 5-4.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, junior captain Dominic Canzone crushed a two-out, two-run homer to dead center field to put the Buckeyes back on top by one. Andrew Magno pitched a clean ninth inning, recording his eighth save of the year, as Ohio State went on to win 6-5 in comeback fashion over a very good Raiders team. As a team, Buckeye pitchers struck out a combined 15 hitters — the 15th straight game in which they've struck out at least eight. Canzone’s 13 homers are the most since Ronnie Dawson had 13 in 2016.
The Buckeyes hoped to be able to carry the momentum from their exciting win on Wednesday night into their three-game series with the Nittany Lions, which began on Friday night. Again, however, Ohio State found themselves trailing 2-0 early on. It was a short outing for Garrett Burhenn, who allowed just the two runs on six hits and one walk in his three innings of work. Pfennig was brilliant out of the bullpen once again, allowing just two hits and walking two over 3.1 scoreless frames.
After pushing a run across in the third with some small ball, OSU rallied to take the lead in the fifth on the back of a few pitching miscues from Penn State. A passed ball by starter Dante Biasi tied the game at two apiece before a bases loaded hit-by-pitch on Connor Pohl put Ohio State on top 3-2. Brent Todys added an insurance run with two outs in the seventh as the Bucks went on to win 4-2. Magno shined again at the back end of the bullpen, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings with five strikeouts to record his ninth save of the year, while Pfennig earned his first collegiate win.
With bad weather expected on Sunday, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions played a doubleheader on Saturday as OSU looked to continue its successful week. Ohio State was finally able to get a longer outing from their starter in the first game of the doubleheader, as Seth Lonsway dominated in front of 1,836 fans on Senior Day. The redshirt freshman southpaw threw eight shutout innings, allowing five hits and one walk while racking up a career-high 13 punch outs.
All of the offense in this game came on one swing, as Matt Carpenter drove in two runs with a double in the bottom of the seventh. It would be more than enough to seal a win for the Buckeyes, as Lonsway kept Penn State off the board en route to a 2-0 victory for the home team. Magno again closed things out without a hitch, striking out two in a scoreless ninth for his 10th save of the season and third in his last three games. Canzone extended his on-base streak to 46 games with a leadoff HBP in the first inning.
Already having won the series, Ohio State looked to finish with a sweep over Penn State in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. After the first two games of the series were low-scoring pitchers duels, the third and final game of the series was quite different. OSU starter Griffan Smith got knocked out early, allowing five runs on eight hits over just 3.1 innings of work. TJ Brock, who relieved Smith, could not stop the bleeding as he allowed five more runs in his one inning in relief as the Buckeyes found themselves down big.
The Nittany Lions went on top early and did not look back. After scoring three runs in the top of the second, OSU kept pace with a run each in the second and third innings. Already trailing 3-2, Penn State added two more runs in the fourth and five in the fifth as the rout was on. Ohio State pushed four runs across in the ninth inning to make the game look a lot closer than it was, but the Buckeyes would fall 10-6 in the final game of the series as they split the doubleheader.
Going 3-1 on the week, Ohio State moves to 27-24 overall with a 9-12 record in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes finished their home schedule with a 15-10 record, with their remaining four regular season games all being played on the road. Canzone has extended his on-base streak to a career-high 47 games, while also hitting safely in 23 of his last 24 games. Canzone’s 14 homers lead the team, and are the most by a Buckeye in 10 years (Dan Burkhart, 2009). Dillon Dingler extended his own on-base streak to a career-high 27 games. The pitching staff enters the final stretch just 24 strikeouts shy (471) of the team record (495), set in 2016.
The Buckeyes’ 2019 regular season will come to an end this week, with a quick trip north for one game against Youngstown State before traveling to West Lafayette to take on Purdue in a three-game series to close out their Big Ten schedule. The final series of the season against the Boilermakers will begin this Thursday, May 16, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.