Ryan Riga tossed 7.2 scoreless frames to lift the Ohio State baseball team over Purdue, 2-0, Saturday afternoon at Alexander Field. With the loss, the Buckeyes improve to 24-19, 5-9 in the Big Ten, while the Boilermakers fall to 11-28, 5-9 in conference play.
“We had a tough, 13-inning loss last night,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “I thought we played well but came up a little short on the scoreboard. After the game, we knew we still had a chance to win the series and we got a great start out Riga today while executing as a team. We were hoping to get six innings and 80 pitches out of him but he had control of the game so we kept him in.”
After three scoreless innings, Ohio State took the lead off Purdue starter Gavin Downs in the top of the fourth. Nick Sergakis and Ronnie Dawson led off the inning with singles before Troy Kuhn moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Pat Porter followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Sergakis before Josh Dezse lined a two-out double down the left field line to plate Dawson for the 2-0 Buckeye lead.
Riga, pitching for the first time in four weeks because of an injury, cruised through the first seven frames scoreless, allowing only two batters to reach second base, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the eighth. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, the left-hander walked Brandon Krieg and Cody Strong before being lifted for Tyler Giannonatti, who induced an inning-ending groundout by Sean McHugh to keep it a 2-0 game.
Trace Dempsey came on to close it out in the bottom of the ninth and retired the first two but pinch-hitter Jack Picchiotti reached on an error and Conner Hudnall walked to put runners on first and second. However, the junior closer bounced back to get pinch-hitter Michael Mullen to fly out to center to end the game to pick up his sixth save of the year.
Riga picked up the win to improve to 4-1 on the year, allowing three hits while striking out nine over 7.2 scoreless innings. Downs suffered the loss, allowing two earned runs in the complete game to fall to 2-5 on the year.