COLUMBUS — Friday might as well be called “fried day” for the Michigan baseball team.
The opening games of conference series have not been kind to the Wolverines this year, and Friday night’s game against Ohio State was no different.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Bobby Brosnahan continued his inconsistent pitching, and Michigan (6-7 Big Ten, 13-26 overall) couldn’t muster enough offensive firepower to make up for his poor outing in Michigan’s 7-2 loss — their sixth straight in series openers.
In what has become a trend for the Wolverines, they got out to an early lead before the wheels fell off.
Sophomore center fielder Patrick Biondi led off the game with a single to left center and moved to third when Buckeye second baseman Ryan Cypret let redshirt sophomore Kevin Krantz’s ground ball roll through his legs. Biondi scored on a wild pitch to the next hitter, giving Michigan a 1-0 lead before Ohio State recorded an out.
But from that point on, Buckeye starting pitcher Drew Rucinski shut down the Wolverines and it didn’t take long for Ohio State’s offense to get going. First baseman Josh Dezse — best friend of Michigan freshman right fielder Michael O’Neill — muscled an opposite field three-run home run, and the Buckeyes chased Brosnahan from the game two innings later.
But though fifth-year senior reliever Matt Gerbe kept Michigan within shouting distance of Ohio State (7-6, 17-18), the Wolverine offense wasn’t able to scratch across another run until the seventh inning. The Buckeyes’ lead was never threatened and they cruised to an easy win.
O’Neill’s return home to southern Ohio saw mixed results. Though he singled in the sixth inning, he struck out twice en route to a 1-4 day. It was his hometown pal that shined. Dezse was 2-for-3 with four RBI and he struck out the side in the ninth inning on the mound.
The game presented as lively of an atmosphere as the Wolverines have been involved in all year. The Buckeye faithful packed the stadium and the excitement was palpable from Ohio State freshman basketball sensation Jared Sullinger throwing out the first pitch to the postgame fireworks show.
With an ominous weather forecast for Sunday, the last game of the series will be moved to Saturday as part of a double header set to begin at 3 p.m. Junior hurler Brandon Sinnery will pitch one of the games, but the other start is up in the air as regular conference starter sophomore Kyle Clark broke his hand this week.