The Ohio State baseball team picked up a 5-2 win over Northwestern on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. With the win, the Buckeyes finish the regular season at 3-0, 26, 10-14 in the Big Ten, while the Wildcats drop to 19-33, 7-16 in conference play.
Ohio State, the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, opens Big Ten Tournament play Wednesday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. Brackets for the tournament will be announced later tonight.
“Today’s win was big going into Big Ten Tournament play next week,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. “The seniors were huge today. Greg Greve had a big-time start and Tim Wetzel affected the scoreboard with his home run and with his defense. Our goal now is to carry this into Omaha next week.”
Greve tossed a scoreless top of the first, the Buckeyes took the lead in the bottom of the inning against Northwestern starter Nick Friar. Nick Sergakis led off the inning with a walk before a bunt single by Ronnie Dawson put Buckeyes on first and second with nobody out. Troy Kuhn then lined a single to left to score Sergakis for the Ohio State lead. Pat Porter followed with a fly out to center to move Dawson and Kuhn up to second and third but Friar bounced back to strike out Josh Dezse and Troy Montgomery to keep it a 1-0 game.
The Buckeyes added to the lead in the bottom of the third. Kuhn reached on a leadoff single and, after Friar retired the next two batters, Montgomery laid down a bunt single and the throw to first from Northwestern catcher Jake Straub sailed down the right-field line, allowing Kuhn to score to push the lead to 2-0 after three innings of play.
Ohio State tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth. Craig Nennig reached on an error to lead off the inning before Wetzel took Friar deep to right for his first long ball of the year and a 4-0 Buckeye lead.
The Wildcats threatened against Greve in the top of the sixth. After the Ohio State senior right-hander had retired 14 batters in a row, Matt Hopfner lined a two-out double down the left-field line before a walk to Scott Heelan put runners on first and second. Jack Mitchell then launched a fly ball to deep left but Wetzel robbed the Northwestern centerfielder of at least extra bases with a leaping catch up against the wall in left field to keep the Wildcats off the board.
The Buckeyes pushed the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the seventh when Dawson led off the inning with an inside-the-park home run off the glove of Josh Perlmutter, who had just come on for the Wildcats in center, for his fourth home run of the year.
Northwestern got on the board against Greve in the top of the eighth. With two down, Hopfner and Heelan both singled before Mitchell drove them in with a double to left-center to cut the Ohio State lead to 5-2. However, Greve bounced back to strike out Joe Hoscheit looking to end the inning with the Buckeyes still up by three.
Trace Dempsey came out and tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his eighth save of the season.
Greve allowed two earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts over 8.0 innings to improve to 7-4 on the year while Friar allowed five runs, three earned, over 6.2 innings to fall to 5-1. Wetzel finished the day 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored while Dawson went 3-for-4 with the inside-the-park home run.