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At last! A series sweep and a four-game win streak for Ohio State baseball

Buckeyes score 45 runs to take all three games in Evanston against Northwestern, but the streak ends abruptly after four wins

 Ohio State atletics

We’ve been checking in on the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 2022 baseball season every couple of weeks since the season started with the Snowbird Classic back in mid-February. And, finally, I can talk about a winning streak. Although the Buckeyes won the first three games of that early “Classic,” last weekend marked their first four-game win streak and the first series sweep of the season.

Lots of hits, lots of long balls – the key to the wins. Unfortunately, the visiting Campbell Fighting Camels killed the streak at four, with a stunning 11-1 victory over the Buckeyes on Tuesday night, followed by a 10-1 rout on Wednesday. So much for the win streak.

The last two weeks, despite the conference sweep, did not have a happy beginning. Big-Ten-leading Rutgers rolled into Columbus on Friday, April 29, and began a sweep of their own. Pitching let the Bucks down against the Scarlet Knights. Whether they gave up an early lead or took an early lead, the Buckeyes found themselves on the short end after nine innings.

Currently, at 6-13, the Buckeyes are 12th in the Big Ten standings, with only Minnesota behind them (Wisconsin does not field a team). Overall, the team sits at 17-28, with seven contests left before the B1G Conference Tournament begins in Omaha on May 25.

With all of the hitting against the Wildcats, Ohio State batting stats surged, led by Brent Todys, Zach Dezenzo, and Kade Kern. Let’s hope that the pitching can hold up, and that potent offense will help make some noise as the season winds down.

Here are recaps of recent games.

April 29: Rutgers 6, Ohio State 4. The Scarlet Knights showed why they’re the conference’s top team early, as they hit OSU starter Nate Haberthier for three runs in the top of the 1st inning. Though the Buckeyes pounded out 12 hits, they never caught up.

April 30: Rutgers 13, Ohio State 3. Ohio State ace Isaiah Coupet cruised through the first five innings of this game and then hit trouble in the 6th, when Rutgers erupted for seven runs (five off of Coupet). Although Kade Kern lifted a homer, OSU managed only six hits overall. Rutgers had almost as many home runs (five) and outfielder Ryan Lasko hit three of them.

May 1: Rutgers 11, Ohio State 8. The third game of the series saw the Buckeyes turn the tables on Rutgers, scoring four runs in the 1st inning and four more in the bottom of the 3rd to lead, 8-3. But the Bucks’ relief pitching couldn’t hold the lead, as Tim Baird and Ethan Hammerberg gave up five runs in the 6th and three more in the 7th and 8th.

May 4: Ohio State 8, Kent State 6. OSU started the win streak with a trip north to take on the Golden Flashes. The Buckeyes, putting up four runs in the 2nd, led all the way in this one. Marcus Ernst was the batting leader, going three for four and knocking in two runs. Hammerberg pitched well in relief and picked up the save.

May 7 (first game): Ohio State 14, Northwestern 6. The Buckeyes simply feasted off Wildcat pitching. Brent Todys went 4-for-5 to lead the 14-hit Scarlet and Gray attack. Kade Kern was 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI. If you just looked at the final score, you’d think that this game was a rout. Not so. In fact, the score was tied 6-6 going into the bottom of the 8th. It was 14-6 as the Wildcats left the field at the end of the inning. Eight runs!

May 7 (second game): Ohio State 25, Northwestern 9. Talk about a double header! NU didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 5th inning. By that time, the Buckeyes were up 23-0. 10 in the 2nd, five in the 3rd, six in the 4th, and two in the 5th. Though Northwestern did put up some runs late, the game was over by the halfway mark. Dezenzo went 5-for-5 for the day, with a home run and four RBI. Todys was 4-for-6, with two homers, a double, and seven RBI. Coupet collected the win for the Bucks.

May 8: Ohio State 6, Northwestern 5. The Buckeyes finished off the sweep with a nail-biter for a finale. It took a run in each of the final two innings for Ohio State to overcome the deficit and gain the lead. Wyatt Loncar pitched well for OSU, giving up only one hit and zero earned runs in his five innings of work. The Buckeyes outhit the Wildcats 11-4, as the bats continued to be hot.

May 10: Campbell 11, Ohio State 1. For the mid-week, non-conference game, spot starter Jacob Gehring took the mound for the Bucks. He was hit hard, as was reliever Will Pfennig. The Camels, in fact, put runs on the board in six of their nine at bats, knocking out 15 hits along the way. Kade Kern was the only bright spot in the OSU offense, getting two of the home team’s hits.

May 11: Campbell 10, Ohio State 1. Déjà vu all over again. OSU starting pitcher Aaron Funk pitched a strong four innings, giving up no runs and only two hits. Tim Baird, Griffan Smith, and Jake Johnson, however, could not keep up the good work, yielding 10 runs on eight hits in the next five frames. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, managed only three hits, two of them by Zach Dezenzo.

Statistical leaders

Batting Average: Marcus Ernst (.349)

RBI: Dezenzo (44), Kern (44)

HR: Dezenzo (13)

Wyatt Loncar 1-4, 4.66 ERA
Nate Haberthier 2-4, 5.12 ERA
Isaiah Coupet 3-5, 5.91 ERA

Reliever T.J. Brock has the best ERA – 3.78 – of the 18 Buckeye pitchers who have taken the mound this year.

Next up: A weekend series against visiting Penn State to close out the conference schedule. Then a home game against Cincinnati (5/17) and three at home against University of South Carolina Upstate on May 19-21. The B1G conference tourney starts on May 25.