PITTSBURG — Mother Nature provided rain for the first day of the NCBA DII World Series on Friday at Jaycee Ballpark, where Ohio State outlasted Windsor 8-7 after a short lightning delay.
The ball was flying around the yard, but the score remained close throughout, as the Buckeyes survived a late rally by the Lancers in the final inning to hang on for the win.
“We grinded out the win and we’ve been doing that a lot this season,” OSU player-coach Nick Bowden said. “We kind of struggled early, but after the first rain delay, we woke up. Our pitcher was able to stay in the game and when we took a 7-3 lead, that was a huge turning point for us.”
The Lancers took control of the contest in the early going, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
Windsor posted two runs in the second frame on the strength of a two-run single off the bat of Tyler Porter before plating one more sacrifice fly by Rinaldi Ross in the third inning.
The Buckeyes answered with a pair of runs in the third inning — thanks to Kiel Pitzer who drove in two runs on a single to center field — and took their largest lead of the game at 7-3 after posting five runs in the fourth inning.
The five-run inning was highlighted by a two-run double to deep center field by Zach Uzzel and included an RBI double into the gap in left-center field by Thomas Morehouse and an RBI single to left field by Jaret Quinn.
Windsor chipped away at the deficit with two runs in the fifth inning on a pair of RBI singles by Ross and Kyle Renaud, but the Buckeyes got one run back in the bottom half of the frame on a solo homerun over the wall in right field by Kevin Mingus to push the score to 8-5.
The Lancers rallied for two runs in the second inning and had the tying run on first, but couldn’t bring him around to score and extend the game.
Ross led off the inning with a double, which bounced off the wall in left field and moved up to third base on a single through the left side by Jeremy Orton, but a quick throw back into the infield kept him from scoring.
With runners on the corners and no outs, Ross scored on defensive error, while Orton went from first to third and Renaud made it safely to first.
An infield pop fly marked the first out of the inning and a productive groundout in the following at-bat drove in Porter.
With a runner on first, two down and leading by one, the Buckeyes recorded the final out of the game on a groundout to the shortstop.
ON THE BUMP
Eric Pfeifer was the winning pitcher, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts through 5.1 innings of work.
Bowden earned the save, coming on in the sixth inning and finishing out the game with the lead in tact.
Jack Zimmerman was on the hook for the loss, giving up seven earned runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts through 5.2 innings.
AT THE DISH
Uzzel and Pitzer were the offensive catalysts for the Buckeyes, each driving in two runs apiece on a pair of hits.
Ross was the offensive leader for the Lancers, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Porter also had a pair of RBIs on two hits.