Wimmers Fans 14 In Buckeye Win

Last year's Big Ten regular-season champion Ohio State baseball team rematched the squad that won the league's tournament title in Columbus, the Indiana Hoosiers, on Friday night in Bill Davis Stadium and got some revenge. Alex Wimmers tossed a six-hitter and the top of the Buckeye order set the tone in OSU's 7-1 victory.

Ohio State ace pitcher Alex Wimmers fell behind 3-0 to Indiana leadoff hitter Micah Johnson to start the game Friday night, and the Hoosier took advantage by driving a double deep to right field.

In a matchup of last season's Big Ten regular-season and tournament champions, not much else went the Hoosiers' way. Wimmers was the reason why.

The OSU star struck out the next three batters after Johnson to ignite one of the best outings of his career, tossing his first complete game of the season as the Buckeyes earned a 7-1 win in front of a chilly 1,296 in Bill Davis Stadium.

"I had the stuff going so leave me out there," Wimmers said of the complete game. "Help us save pitching for the rest of the weekend. I felt today that I could throw any pitch at any count to any batter."

He finished with 14 strikeouts, one off of a career high, while allowing only six hits and the single earned run. Wimmers didn't walk any batters and rarely seemed close, throwing 85 strikes among his 121 pitches while improving to 7-0.

"Once he settled down, I think there's no doubt he made it awfully tough on Indiana's hitters tonight," said OSU head coach Bob Todd, whose team improved to 18-8 and stayed atop the Big Ten at 3-1.

The Hoosiers (14-14) entered averaging more than eight runs per game but didn't get anyone to third base until No. 9 hitter Tyler Rodgers tripled and later scored in the eighth. Indiana's Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Jerrud Sabourin and Alex Dickerson, entered with a combined .463 average with 18 homers and 70 RBI but they were the final two strikeout victims of the first.

From there, Wimmers fanned two batters in each of the next three innings to get to nine Ks after four – all swinging. That was a result of having his fastball, curve and a nearly unhittable changeup all working at the same time.

"I knew Indiana is a great team coming in and they're a good fastball hitting team," Wimmers said. "If they're not going to be able lay off my changeup I'm just going to keep going at them until they make an adjustment."

Even two of the Hoosiers' hits were infield singles, leaving the Buckeye outfielders bored.

"Honestly when he throws I don't even need a glove out there sometimes," left fielder Zach Hurley said. "I know I'm not going to set a single fly ball. I think this year when he's thrown I've got two balls hit to me on the ground. That's it. I don't expect much action when he's throwing, especially tonight. He had everything working for him. They had no chance."

Instead, the Buckeyes had to get their action at the plate, which they did with 10 hits and six walks. Hurley, the team's leadoff hitter, was 3 for 4 while No. 2 hitter Cory Kovanda was 2 for 2 with two RBI and three walks and cleanup bat Michael Stephens had a homer.

Kovanda and Hurley hooked up in the first when the former, OSU's second baseman, doubled in Hurley after he drew a leadoff single.

"We live together and we're always talking about sparking the team," Hurley said. "That's what we take pride in."

Stephens' homer doubled OSU's advantage to start the fourth inning, as his seemingly harmless fly ball to right field sliced along with a gusting wind and dropped just over the 330-foot sign at the right-field foul pole.

"Honestly, there's certain times that I know when I get them, and that one I didn't feel like I got so I was just hauling," he said with a laugh. "But after I started watching I thought, ‘I got that one enough.' They all count."

OSU increased the lead to 4-0 by the end of the fourth thanks to a sacrifice fly by Ryan Cypret and a bases-loaded walk by Kovanda. Cory Rupert singled in Stephens in the fifth, Dan Burkhart's sacrifice fly scored Cypret in the sixth and Hurley singled in Brian DeLucia in the seventh.

The game will be replayed by the Big Ten Network on its Student U show on Saturday night at 6 p.m.


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