Friday, March 3: 8-3 Ohio State (vs. Mississippi State)
The Buckeyes opened up the Frisco Classic against reigning national champion Mississippi State, who entered the game at 6-3 on the young season, including a win against No. 25 Southern Miss in their last time out.
The two teams remained scoreless through the first three innings before a wild pitch allowed Henry Kaczmar to score the game’s first run in the top of the 4th inning. The Bulldogs responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the 5th, but Ohio State busted it open in the 6th.
A bases loaded walk put OSU up 2-1, and Tyler Petteroni followed it up with a bases-clearing double to give the Buckeyes a 5-1 lead. Ohio State added three more runs in the 7th on an RBI single by Hank Thomas and a pair of Mississippi State errors as they ballooned the lead up to 8-1. The Bulldogs got a run back in both the 8th and the 9th inning, but it would not be nearly enough as Ohio State walked away with the 8-3 victory.
Buckeye ace Isaiah Coupet had to battle through six walks in this one, but even still the southpaw managed to toss five innings allowed just one unearned run while striking out nine. Jonah Jenkins recorded the final out of the game, earning his first save of the season.
Saturday, March 4: 16-1 Cal
Saturday’s game was one to forget, as Ohio State was thoroughly dominated by Cal in a game that was called after only seven innings as the Buckeyes were run-ruled.
Things went poorly pretty much right out of the gate, with the Golden Bears putting up a five-spot in the 1st inning. That was all she wrote for Ohio State starter Justin Eckhardt, who was charged with all five runs and came out following the opening frame. The Buckeyes got one run back in the 4th on a solo home run by Marcus Ernst, but Cal opened the floodgates with a 10-run 5th to put this one away.
Ohio State used six different pitchers in this game, compared to just two for the Bears. Wyatt Loncar was the only Buckeye to toss a scoreless frame, striking out two in what wound up being the final inning of the game in the 7th. Ernst was the only hitter with a productive day, going 2-for-2 (two of the teams four total hits) and driving in Ohio State’s only run with the homer.
Sunday, March 5: 12-9 Ohio State (vs. Oklahoma)
After defeating the reigning national champs on Friday, Ohio State also knocked off the national runner-ups with a huge victory over Oklahoma to win the 2023 Frisco Classic.
The Sooners took an early lead in this one, pushing three runs across in the 1st inning. Ohio State wouldn’t get on the board until the 3rd inning, but they did so in a big way, scoring five runs on the strength of RBI singles by Matthew Graveline and Nick Erwin and a two-run double by Pettorini to make it 5-3 OSU. Oklahoma drove in a pair with a double in the 4th as things were all the sudden knotted up at five runs apiece.
The Buckeye bats got going again in the 5th, scoring three runs on a pair of RBI doubles by Erwin and Ernst and an RBI single by Josh McAlister. Ohio State added three more runs in the top of the 7th on a huge three-run home run by Kade Kern to make it 11-5 good guys. The Sooners made things interesting, scoring two runs in each of the 7th and 8th innings to cut the OSU lead to 11-9, but Kaczmar’s RBi single in the top of the 9th would be the icing on the cake in a 12-9 Ohio State win.
Ohio State once again used six different pitchers in this one, with Jenkins earning the win after tossing 3.2 innings allowing two earned runs and striking out three. Landon Beidelschies pitched the final 1.2 innings, earning the save while allowing just two hits and no runs with three Ks.
Both Ohio State and Oklahoma finished the round-robin tournament with a 2-1 record, but the Buckeyes’ head-to-head win over the Sooners secured them the event as they were named the official winners of the 2023 Frisco Classic. Ohio State had a trio of players recognized for their efforts over the weekend, with Coupet, Kern and Pettorini each named to the Frisco Classic All-Tournament teams for their standout performances.
The Buckeyes now sit at 5-6 on the year, and have to be feeling good as they return from Texas. Coupet has continued to be outstanding on the mound thus far, allowing only one skinny earned run over 18 innings pitched with 27 strikeouts. Jenkins has done a little bit of everything for Ohio State thus far, appearing in five game and posting a 2.38 ERA over 11.1 innings with 11 punchouts and a save. George Eisenhart has been a quietly solid arm as well, posting a 1.80 ERA over five innings (two appearances).
Offensively, Erwin leads the team with 11 RBIs, but he is followed closely by Graveline and Kern with eight apiece. Ernst leads the way with three home runs, as he and Kern (two) are the only Buckeyes to hit multiple homers on the young season. Kern’s OBP is up to .429 as well with his team-high 10 walks. The sophomore Pettorini is starting to make a name for himself after an impressive showing in the Frisco Classic, getting his average up to .289 for the year with seven RBIs and four doubles.
Up next for the Buckeyes is a trip out West to take on Cal State Bakersfield in a three-game series beginning on March 10. The Roadrunners are off to a 7-5 start to the year, but were just swept in a three-game series by Stanford in their last time out. All three games in the upcoming series will be streamed on ESPN+, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday.