For the second day in a row the Buckeyes leave men on base, strike outy, and commit too many mistakes. They fall to Texas State and to .500 after six games.
SAN MARCOS, TX — Opportunities escaped. Mistakes were made and for a second straight day the Buckeyes were convincingly handled by Texas State, falling 8-5.
Saturday’s loss dropped Ohio State to 3-3, came on the heels of Friday’s 9-1 affair here at Bobcat Ballpark and was the Bucks’ third straight loss dating back to last weekend’s Snowbird Classic at Port Charlotte, Fla.
Overall and once again, the numbers were not kind to Ohio State:
They left 11 men on base.
They struck out 13 times.
There were two balks, three wild pitches, a fielding error that contributed to an unearned run and an error in judgment that led to another.
Starting pitcher Nate Haberthier lasted just 1.2 innings, gave up five runs on five hits and walked three, Texas State rushing to a 5-2 lead on the strength of a four-run second.
“Too many mistakes,” Coach Greg Beals said. “Too many free bases. We just didn’t play very clean all the way around.
“I’ve got to say this,” Beals continued after a long pause. “We’re playing a team that is simply ahead of us right now. They are not better than we are, but they are better than us right now. They are just ahead of us…We are definitely going to get better. I said yesterday I felt like I have a good handle on our ball club and I do. I like what we have, but you are defined—made—through competition.
“This (Texas State) is a warm-weather team. They are on their field all the time. They have advantages and it shows. Ya may not like to hear it, but that’s just the way it is.”
The Bobcats, 6-1, have played just one more game thus far than Ohio State. But a school official characterized this week’s temperatures in the mid-to-high 30’s as “an absolute rarity. We’re just not accustomed to this kind of thing.”
In fact, no apologetics are necessary. Big Ten teams have forever yielded the weather card to their southern cohorts, not only in recruiting but preparation for the season.
“We just have to work through this,” Beals said. “We have to play better and get better—and the sooner the better. It’s like I told our guys. We are a .500 team right now, but we will not leave San Marcos, Texas, a .500 team—one way or another. Let’s go get it done.”
In the earliest stages Saturday, it looked as though OSU was up to the task. With one out in the first, Zach Dezenzo homered to left off TSU starter Levi Wells to start the scoring. Next came back-to-back walks to Drew Reckart and Hank Thomas. However, Wells struck out the next two hitters to stem the rally.
Texas State tied it up in the first on double by John Wuthrich, back-to-back walks to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Jose Gonzalez.
OSU picked up another run in the second, but the situation was too familiar. Trey Lipsey was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Brent Todys singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Lipsey. One out later—a strikeout—Marcus Ernst drew a walk. But, again, the rally died when Dezenzo and Drew Reckart went down on strikes.
“You’ve got to give their pitchers credit,” Beals said. “They are throwing good strikes, but right now we’re just not hitting the fastball like we were last week when we were playing teams (in the Snowbird Classic, Marshall and Indiana State) that were in the same situation we are…We just have to play through this. It’s competition.”
Essentially, the game got away from Ohio State in the second inning when TSU scored four on four hits, driving Haberthier from the game.
With one out the Bobcats strung together three hits including a bunt single and culminating with a two-run double to left. One out later, Haberthier issued a walk and a balk put runners at second and third.
“Then we get a ground ball up the third base line,” Beals said. “If we let it go, it probably goes foul. But we pick it up. A run scores. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about—the things, the judgment that comes with competition.”
A wild pitch scored the fourth run of the inning, and Texas State had a lead they would not relinquish.
“Haberthier has really good stuff,” Beals said. “But his strength, his real weapon is the late sink on the ball…He gets so amped up that he over-throws it and loses that sink. He loses the very thing that makes him so tough…There, again, it’s time and competition.”
The Bucks were shut down in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. In the third they left the bases loaded. In the fourth through the sixth, one man reached base. Hank Thomas doubled to left-center to start the fifth, then watched as the next three hitters went down in order—two of those on strikes.
The Bobcats added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and led 7-3 in the eighth, when Ohio State mounted a rally.
With one out, Todys doubled to left and scored on Colton Bauer’s pinch-hit single to center. Ernst drew a walk and Dezenzo’s fly ball to right moved Bauer to third. He scored on a passed ball, making it a 7-5 game.
But the Bucks could not muster more against Bobcats reliever Matt Nicholas.
TSU picked up an insurance other run in the eighth off Nate Karaffa, the Buckeyes fifth pitcher in the game, while TSU’s Tristan Stivors closed it out working a scoreless ninth.
The three-game series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN-Plus.