Baseball Buckeyes Win To Start Home Slate

The Ohio State baseball team has had a great start and returned home at 20-4 and ranked 18th country, but Xavier wasn't all that impressed. The Musketeers took an early 4-0 lead Tuesday during OSU's home opener and stayed ahead until the seventh before Ohio State's hot bats finally took over during a 9-7 win for the Buckeyes.

For six innings, the Ohio State baseball team's home opener wasn't going the way it was supposed to.

Put into an early 4-0 hole, the No. 18 Buckeyes had to battle back in the first game of the year at Bill Davis Stadium against Xavier.

Finally, the team clicked into gear to move to 21-4. Ryan Dew drove in two runs with a double in the seventh to tie the score at 7 and Cory Rupert followed with a triple to drive in Dew with the winning run as OSU beat the Musketeers by a 9-7 final.

Dean Wolosiansky threw three innings of one-run relief to get the win and improve to 5-1, while Jake Hale notched his fifth save of the year.

Michael Stephens and Zach Hurley, whose hitting streak reached 16 games, homered for the Buckeyes.

"It was awesome," Stephens, a JUCO transfer, said about his first time on the Bill Davis field. "The adrenaline was flowing a little bit but it was nice to finally play at home."

The opening innings were not what the home crowd expected after the team showed it could be among the best in college baseball with one of the best starts in the country while playing in Florida throughout February and March.

Ross Oltorik, also a football team walk-on, started but couldn't find his stuff early. The first four Musketeers scored thanks to two walks, an RBI single, a two-run double and a sacrifice fly.

"I just felt that I wasn't really settling in and being myself," he said.

But he did find a groove and was solid until running into trouble in the fifth. Oltorik finished with six earned runs in four innings but he allowed just two hits. The issue was five walks and a hit batsmen, four of whom scored.

"Going into the game the only way I felt Xavier had a chance to beat us was the way that we were getting beat," head coach Bob Todd said. "We were walking people, hitting people, and then they were coming through with a couple of base hits. I looked up there at one time and they had six runs on two hits, and that's the classic way to get beat."

Luckily for Ohio State, Wolosiansky and Hale, who threw two innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts, tamed the Xavier (13-9) bats to allow the hitting time to come back.

That it did, starting with Stephens' two-run homer to right that made it a 4-2 game.

"Going into that situation I just wanted to g in there and drive in some runs," he said of his sixth homer of the year. "I ran into one and it went out. It was good. It's just about (getting) that first run."

Ohio State nearly tied the score at 6 in the sixth when second baseman Cory Kovanda singled to right to score Rupert, but Hurley was thrown out at the plate to keep the score 6-5.

Xavier added a run in the top of the seventh off of Wolosiansky, but Dew's two-run triple off of Joe Kohler tied it and Rupert gave the Buckeyes the lead at 8-7.

Hurley hit his fourth homer of the year, a shot just over the wall to the right of the 400-foot sign in center field, to cap the scoring.

Xavier starter Ben Thomas was solid early but ended up allowing five runs in 5.2 innings. Kohler fell to 2-1 after facing just Dew and Rupert in the seventh.

Ohio State continues home play Wednesday with a 2:05 p.m. start with Marshall.

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