Ohio State baseball enjoyed a successful trip to Port Charlotte, Florida, for the Snowbird Classic, going 3-1 in the weekend series.
Offense was the name of the game, as Ohio State’s bats got off to a torrid start to the season. The Buckeyes (3-1) scored 39 runs in their four games in Florida, highlighting an offseason emphasis of putting the ball in play and reducing strikeout numbers.
Ohio State opened the season with a 15-4 win over Marshall. The early pace was dictated by a pitchers duel between Ohio State sophomore lefty Isaiah Coupet and Marshall senior lefty Raymond Pacella through four innings.
Coupet finished his day with six innings pitched and 11 strikeouts with zero earned runs against him. Ohio State ensured that performance would not be wasted, using an eight-run fifth inning to blow the door open on the game, leading 10-1 after five innings of play.
Sophomore outfielder Kade Kern hit a bases-clearing double and freshman outfielder Trey Lipsey hit a grand slam in the same inning, getting after Marshall’s bullpen early and often. Senior infielder Drew Reckart also had a monster day, hitting two home runs and collecting four RBIs in the victory.
Indiana State (Game 1)
The first of two games against Indiana State began with a more offensive start. Sophomore right-harder Nate Haberthier made the start for Ohio State, pitching an efficient four innings and only giving up two runs.
The offense got off to another hot start, scoring three runs in the first inning and never relinquishing the lead.
The fifth inning was an eventful one, as Indiana State got two men on base, which led to Ohio State to turn to Preseason Honors List member and junior righty Ethan Hammerberg out of the bullpen. Hammerberg got out of the jam with a strikeout and ended his day with 2 1/3 scoreless innings pitched in relief.
On the flip side, Reckart continued his hot start with a double, and junior outfielder Mitchell Okuley added another RBI to make the game 7-3 in the fifth.
Junior right-hander Nate Karaffa pitched two scoreless innings to end the game for Ohio State, while it added on two more runs in the seventh inning to win the game 9-3.
Indiana State (Game 2)
Game 2 versus Indiana State was much more dramatic and eventful than their first matchup. The Sycamores got to Ohio State senior righty Will Pfennig early, showing an aggressive offensive approach and getting out to an 8-0 lead after four innings of play.
However, Ohio State’s bats came alive in the fifth, slowly chipping away at the Indiana State lead as the game went along. The team was sparked by a solo home run by senior catcher Archer Brookman in the fifth, putting up three runs in the same inning.
Scoreless frames from freshman pitchers right-handler Jake Johnson and southpaw Gavin Bruni as well as redshirt freshman righty Tim Baird kept Ohio State within striking distance.
Facing an 8-4 deficit going into the eighth, after a sacrifice fly by senior infielder Colton Bauer, redshirt senior catcher Brent Todys hit a three-run home run over the right field fence to tie the game at 8-8.
In the next at-bat, Reckart walked and Lipsey drove him in to give Ohio State its first lead of the game 9-8.
Ohio State then called on Big Ten Preseason Honors List nominee and senior right-hander TJ Brock to close the final two innings, collecting three strikeouts. After facing an eight-run deficit, the Buckeyes came away with a signature win on the season 9-8.
For the first time this season, the Ohio State bats were outmatched, as BYU came away with a 9-6 victory Monday. The Cougars took the lead on a two-out grand slam in the first inning and never looked back.
Cougars outfielders junior Cole Gambill and senior Hayden Leatham both had tremendous days at the plate, driving in eight of the nine BYU runs scored. However, that did not stop Ohio State from attempting a second multi-run rally in as many days.
The Buckeyes brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning after a double by Bauer and a walk by senior infielder Marcus Ernst. However, the rally fell short as Dezenzo and Kern each struck out to end the game.
Ohio State set a tone with its offense in Florida and looks to continue to keep the bats hot as it travels to San Marcos, Texas, to take on Texas State for a three-game series Friday through Sunday.