April 1, 2011
Site: Columbus, Ohio (Bill Davis Stadium)
Score: Ohio State 7, Northwestern 2
Records: NU (7-15, 0-1 Big Ten), Ohio State (9-10, 1-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, April 2 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 2:05 p.m. CT
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sophomore right-hander Luke Farrell tied a career high with eight strikeouts, but Ohio State scored four times in the seventh and twice in the eighth to defeat Northwestern 7-2 Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
On a night when his father, John, made his debut as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, Farrell pitched very well before tiring late in the contest.
Ohio State got on the board first in the bottom of the second against Luke Farrell despite the hosts running into a pair of outs on the basepaths. With a runner on second and one out, a throwing error allowed Brad Hallberg to reach. However, Josh Dezse was gunned down attempting to make it to third on the play. After Hallberg stole second, Greg Solomon's single to center brought him home for the game's first run. Solomon was cut down attempting to reach second to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats were getting good swings against Buckeye starter Drew Rucinski. NU collected at least one hit in each of the first three innings, not including a shot by Paul Snieder that was run down at the warning track to open the top of the second. Snieder was also robbed on a diving stop by second baseman Ryan Cypret to begin the fourth.
Farrell got some help from his defense in the fourth to keep the deficit at one. Josh Dezse got on board with a jam-shot double and was at third with two away. Brad Hallberg hit a shot to the left side, but third baseman Chris Lashmet made a great diving stop and got up to gun down Hallberg to end the threat.
After Farrell put down the Buckeyes in order in the sixth with a pair of strikeouts, the Northwestern offense finally backed him up in the top of the seventh. Jack Livingston
tripled off the wall in straight-away center to open the inning. OSU opted to bring the infield in and the strategy back-fired as Geoff Rowan
singled through the left side to tie the game. Rowan moved up to third on a groundout and then a passed ball before scoring on a single to third base by Patrick Miller
to make it 2-1.
However, Ohio State answered right back to take the lead in the ensuing half inning thanks in large part to some sloppy play by the Wildcats. Following a leadoff single, Farrell tried to retire Josh Dezse at second on a bunt by Matt Streng, but the throw was late. With the bases loaded and one out, a hit batter tied the game before a wild pitch put the Buckeyes up 3-2. An infield single and a passed ball also plated runs at the hosts took a three-run advantage.
NU threatened to answer right back in the top of the eighth as it loaded the bases against Andrew Armstrong and David Fathalikhani. With two down, it appeared Jake Straub would plate a pair, but Cypret made a tremendous over-the-shoulder, diving grab to hold the Wildcats at bay.
Ohio State went on to tack on two final insurance runs in the eighth inning to account for the final margin.
The teams resume their series at 2:05 p.m. Central time Saturday.
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