Durkin’s big day can’t top Buckeyes in high-scoring loss

Kyle Turk

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Ohio State starter Reece Calvert settled down from a first inning home run to retire 14 straight Michigan State hitters en route to a comfortable 13-8 win for the Buckeyes on Sunday. The Buckeyes (15-21 overall, 4-8 B1G) were kick-started by a leadoff home run from shortstop Jalen Washington, his second in as many at-bats after homering in the ninth inning on Saturday afternoon.

OSU scored another run in the first inning on a fielder’s choice from first baseman Bo Coolen, after a Royce Ando error with one out earlier in the inning. This was the beginning of a rocky start for MSU right-hander Andrew Gonzalez, who lost his second game of the year after lasting just 2 1/3 innings and giving up six hits and three runs.

MSU would reply, thanks to a two-run home run from second baseman Dan Durkin, who took a Calvert pitch over the elevated right field fence to score Royce Ando, who had drawn a walk. However, this was not enough to beat a resurgent OSU lineup, who took advantage of Gonzalez’s shaky start to score 13 runs, a mark that ties the most they’ve scored in conference play this season, and avoid the series sweep.

OSU took the lead in the top of the second inning, as a Washington single scored Buckeye second baseman Conner Pohl. Freshman Mitchell Tyranski came in relief of Gonzalez in the third inning. He did well to limit the damage, stranding runners on second and third thanks to an excellent catch from MSU right fielder Dan Chmielewski up against the right field fence with two outs.

In the fourth inning, the middle of the OSU order did the damage, as third baseman Brady Cherry lined a two-out double into left to score Tre’ Gantt. Freshman Dominic Canzone followed that up with a double to score Cherry, making the score 5-2 OSU after four innings.

The fifth inning would prove decisive, as the Buckeyes attacked sophomore Nathan Witt. A two-run homer deep to right from left fielder Shea Murray would be the first two of six OSU runs to put the game beyond reach. With two outs and two runners on, Canzone hit a two-run single to left before consecutive singles from Coolen and catcher Jacob Barnwell added two more runs.

Calvert went through the next four innings without allowing a runner to reach base, but Durkin hit his second home run of the day with one out in the bottom of the sixth. After a Bryce Kelley double and an Ando walk, the senior second baseman hit a deep three-run shot to right to cut the deficit to 11-5, capping a 2-for-4 day for Durkin with two homers and five RBI.

From there, MSU added a run in the seventh and eighth innings, but could not complete the comeback after a Cherry home run in the ninth inning. The final score was 13-8, one of MSU’s highest-scoring games of the season and their second-most runs allowed on the season behind a 22-16 win over UNC-Greensboro in February.

The Spartans will play a non-conference game in Ann Arbor against Michigan on Tuesday before heading to Maryland for a three-game series next weekend. First pitch at Michigan is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.