Ohio State drops three of four games at UNC Wilmington

Ohio State senior infielder Colton Bauer (8) throws to first base after hitting an out at second base in the Ohio State-Northwestern game on May 30, 2021. Ohio State Ohio lost 2-8. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | photo editor

Ohio State surged in its weekend series against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington after a 14-2 midweek win over Marshall, but the Buckeyes couldn’t capitalize on that momentum against the Seahawks.

The Buckeyes (7-11) lost three of their four games to UNC Wilmington (12-7) in Wilmington, North Carolina, Thursday through Sunday. The Seahawks beat Ohio State 28-15 over the weekend.

Game 1

Game 1 at Wilmington saw immediate action in the first inning, when senior infielder Marcus Ernst hit first on a first home run to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead. However, that lead wouldn’t last long, after redshirted junior utility Brooks Baldwin responded with his own three-run homer to put the Seahawks ahead.

After another run via an RBI single from freshman outfielder John Newton, UNC Wilmington led 4-1 after the first inning.

An early deficit wouldn’t stop Ohio State from eating into the lead. In the third inning, a sacrificed steal by junior outfielder Mitchell Okuley and a pitching error put the Buckeyes in a 4-3 recovery.

An inning later, another sacrificial fly from Ernst tagged in redshirt senior receiver Brent Todys to tie the game at four. But, it was Ohio State that would be closest to taking a lead as late in the inning Baldwin struck again for UNC Wilmington to give the Seahawks a lead they would never relinquish.

The game opened in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Seahawks scored right-handed freshman pitcher Tim Baird for five earned runs in the inning, backed up by a grand slam by redshirted sophomore outfielder Trevor Marsh.

UNC Wilmington added an insurance run in the seventh inning as they won the series opener by a score of 12-4.

Game 2

Game 2 of the series was more contested, as there were only two combined runs scored over the first five innings. The Buckeyes hit first in the top of the second inning on a solo home run by senior infielder Colton Bauer.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Isaiah Coupet was excellent in his debut for Ohio State, pitching 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out nine. Likewise for the Seahawks, redshirt second Brett Banks pitched five innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven.

Both teams headed to their bullpen in the sixth inning and both offenses started batting. Coupet was chased after an error of one out followed by a single, as he was replaced by junior right-hander Ethan Hammerberg, who allowed two unearned runs on a defensive choice and a double.

Facing a two-run deficit heading into the eighth inning, the Buckeyes exploded with a six-run frame started by a two-run RBI single by first-year infielder Tyler Pettorini. Sophomore outfielder Kade Kern followed that up with a two-RBI brace, as senior receiver Archer Brookman and senior infielder Zach Dezenzo added their own runs to push the lead to 8-4.

Pettorini added another run in the top of the ninth, as Ohio State looked to be in a comfortable position to win. Sophomore pitcher Trent Jones came in and had a tough out, allowing two singles and a walk, all of which would come back to score.

However, main reliever TJ Brock came into the game and retired the next two batters, closing the game and giving the Buckeyes a 9-7 victory.

Game 3

Game 3 of the series between the Buckeyes and Seahawks was driven by pitching. Neither team got their sticks going on a windy day in Wilmington.

Ohio State had just three hits against the UNC Wilmington pitcher, including one from Ernst who continued his offensive start to the season. Freshman right-hander RJ Sales threw 6 2/3 effective innings for the Seahawks, allowing no runs and striking out four.

On the other side, second-year right-hander Nate Haberthier launched his best start to the season. Despite the lack of help from bats, Haberthier threw eight one-run innings, pitching effectively throughout the game and keeping the Seahawks’ bats relatively quiet.

As for runs scored, the Seahawks struck twice early, with redshirt junior infielder Taber Mongero scoring on a fielder’s pick in the first inning and redshirt sophomore Ron Evans added another run on an RBI single in the second inning, extending the Seahawks’ lead. at 2-0.

There would be no other score, as UNC Wilmington used an effective pitch to win Game 3 of the series 2-0.

Game 4

The final game was a must win for Ohio State to leave North Carolina with a split streak. However, the Buckeyes were held scoreless until the seventh inning and fell in the series 3-1.

Junior right-hander Wyatt Loncar was solid in his outing for the Buckeyes, pitching six innings while allowing three earned runs and striking out eight. But those three runs were all the Seahawks needed to win this game and the series.

Freshman left-hander Cyle Phelan pitched brilliantly for UNC Wilmington, tossing 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run. He got into trouble in the seventh when Pettorini hit a double and Kern pushed him on a single, but that’s all the Buckeyes mustered in the seventh.

The Seahawks added to their lead when redshirt junior catcher Matt Suggs led two runners with a double in the eighth inning, and he came to score after a wild pitch. The Seahawks scored four goals in the eighth to put the game away.

Outside of a solo home run from Todys, Ohio State was unable to make a comeback, as they dropped Game 4 and the series by a score of 7-2.

The Buckeyes look to right the ship Tuesday against Wright State in Columbus at 6:05 p.m.

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