March 19, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio -
After giving up two late-inning rallies to Michigan State in both games of a doubleheader on Saturday, the Ohio baseball squad withstood yet another late-inning charge in the series finale on Sunday and earned a 7-5 victory.
Ohio's preseason All-Mid-American Conference player Anthony Gressick pulled double duty and found success both at the plate and on the mound as the Bobcats (5-7) earned a split in the four-game series with Michigan State (6-8). Ohio's active career leader in home runs, Gressick got his first of the season and allowed just two earned runs with seven strikeouts as he recorded his second pitching victory of the season.
After Michigan State was able to push a run across to start things off, Ohio got three runs in its first at-bat for the third-straight game, and for the second game in a row, all three of those runs came on a homer. Brandon Besl hit a three-run shot in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, but it was Gressick's turn to get his first dinger of the year on Sunday. After Matt Stiffler took Spartan starter Craig Brookes' first offering of the day to right-center and Besl was hit by a pitch, Gressick sent a bullet down the left field line for a quick 3-1 Ohio advantage.
The Bobcats were able to build a five-run lead two innings later as they tacked on three more in the third. With one out Besl reached on a error and with two outs Kirk Payne blooped a doubled down the left field line just out of reach of three Spartan fielders. Willie Walker then brought both runners home on a rope down the right field line and Jason Selhorst followed with a single through the left side to push Ohio ahead 6-1.
For the third game in the series, however, the Spartans would chip away at the lead. The got a single tally in both the fifth and sixth innings and added a pair in the seventh to cut Ohio's lead to one run, 6-5.
The Bobcats were able to break a three-inning scoreless drought in the seventh and add an insurance run. With one out Besl struck out but was able to reach first safely on a passed ball. Hammond then followed with a single and Walker drove a two-out pitch up the middle to bring home Besl for a 7-5 lead.
The Spartans mounted a threat in top of the eighth as they loaded the bases on a hit and two walks off Ohio reliever Matt Schlarb. With two outs, Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone went to his third reliever of the day in Yale Silverman to face MSU third baseman Eric Daws. Daws worked a full count, but Silverman got him to pop up to Bobcat third baseman Hayden Johnston to get out of the jam.
The Spartans were able to muster just one runner thanks to an Ohio fielding error in their last at-bat and Silverman earned his first save of the season.
Gressick (2-0) allowed three runs - two earned - on 10 hits in five innings of work on the mound. After his homer in the first, he went hitless in his next four at-bats.
Walker went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Bobcats with three RBIs.
Brookes (0-2) took the loss for the Spartans. He allowed six runs - three earned - on five hits in five innings.
The Bobcats will make their first road trip in nearly a month when they travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.