Friday, March 17: 7-2 Ohio State
Ohio State hosted its first home game of the season on Friday, and what better way to do it than going into an in-state matchup riding a five-game win streak with ace Isaiah Coupet on the mound?
The Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat back at the friendly confines, with Kade Kern launching a two-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning to make it 2-0 early. Dayton would match it, however, with a two-run homer of their own in the top of the 3rd inning, and the two sides would remain knotted up through the first six innings.
Ohio State would take over in the bottom of the 7th, pushing five runs across in the frame on the strength of a pair of two-run doubles by Kern and Cole Andrews and a run-scoring wild pitch. The 7-2 lead would hold up for the Buckeyes, as Landon Beidelschies came in to toss two scoreless innings to close out another OSU victory.
The lone blemish on Coupet’s resume was the early home run, as he would finish with an impressive stat line featuring 11 strikeouts, one walk and just four total hits allowed over his seven innings of work.
Sunday, March 19: 12-8 Ohio State
The Flyers were supposed to be in Columbus for three games, but Saturday’s contest was cancelled as a result of cold weather, and so the series lasted just two games with the action resuming on Sunday afternoon.
This time around it was Dayton taking an early lead, with an RBI double in the 1st giving the road team a quick 1-0 advantage. The Flyers tacked on two more runs in the top of the 4th to go up 3-0, but Ohio State got it all back in one swing in their half of the frame with a bases-clearing double by Trey Lipsey to tie it up. Kern drove Lipsey home not too long after that with a triple as the Buckeyes were now on top, 4-3.
Dayton fought right back, and after a solo home run in the 5th tied things up yet again, a two-run home run by Carlos Castillo put the Flyers back ahead 6-4. That lead would not last for long, as again the Buckeyes had a powerful answer. Marcus Ernst rocketed a three-run home run in the bottom of the 6th, and just like that Ohio State led once again, 7-6.
The home team continued to pile it on from there with a big five-run 7th inning, highlighted by Lipsey’s three-run home run — his fourth, fifth and sixth (!!) RBIs of the game. Dayton tried to mount a comeback, scoring two runs in the top of the 9th to make it 12-8, but it would be too little too late as Ohio State won its seventh-straight game and secured its second-straight series sweep (three if you count the one-off game against Marshall as a ‘series’).
The Buckeyes used six different pitchers in the game, with five of the six allowing one run or less, led by a scoreless inning from Nolan Clegg. Justin Eckhardt got the start, allowing four runs over 4.1 innings while striking out three. Jonah Jenkins was credited with the win, allowing one run over two innings out of the bullpen.
Isaiah Coupet continues to be every bit the ace he was projected to be, with his season ERA now at 1.08 with 38 strikeouts over 25 innings (four starts). Jonah Jenkins and Landon Beidelschies have been two of the key relievers for Ohio State thus far, with Jenkins sitting at 3-0 while sporting a 2.51 ERA over six appearances (14.1 innings) and Beidelschies with a pair of saves to go along with his 3.09 ERA over eight appearances.
After his scorching hot weekend against Cal State Bakersfield, catcher Cole Andrews continues to lead the Buckeyes in batting average at .436 with his team-high 18 RBIs. Kade Kern and Marcus Ernst remain Ohio State’s two biggest power threats, with three and five home runs, respectively. Kern’s 16 walks also still lead the team.
The freshman Matthew Graveline has gotten off to quite a nice start to his collegiate career, with his .404 average good for second on the team to go along with his two home runs and 13 RBIs. Trey Lipsey went into Sunday’s game with just an .071 average over 14 at-bats, but his impressive performance bumped that all the way up to .211 with a home run and seven RBIs to this point.
Ohio State now sits at 11-6 overall, and they will look to continue the win streak this week with a pair of home games — one each against Wright State on Tuesday and Toledo on Wednesday. The Buckeyes will then open up Big Ten play with a three-game series against Indiana beginning on March 24.