Lightning eliminates Ohio State’s final game against upstate — Press Pros Magazine

Mark Znidar

Mark Znidar arrives at Press Pros Magazine after 33 and a half years at The Columbus Dispatch. From 1996 to September 2018, he played in high school sports, Ohio colleges that included the Mid-American Conference, Ohio State’s Next Opponents in Ohio State Football and Baseball. For the previous three seasons, he covered the Columbus Clippers triple-A baseball team. His other wins were Ohio State Basketball (1985-88), Clippers (1985-86 and 1989-93), Cincinnati Bengals (1993-95) and NASCAR (1994-2008). It replaced the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ohio State women’s basketball hits. In March 2017, Znidar was inducted into the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. Znidar was born in Cleveland and grew up in Richmond Heights. He graduated from Cleveland St. Joseph High School and the University of Dayton. He has also worked for The Atlantic City Press, Lake County News-Herald and Baltimore News-American. He has a daughter, Amanda, and four grandchildren.

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It doesn’t take a deep dive to figure out why the team missed 30 games in a season for just the second time in decades, and that was poor on-field defense and a youthful early rotation that didn’t throw enough goals.

Columbus, OH. – It was fitting that Ohio State’s final game of the season was canceled by a lightning storm Saturday afternoon. Dark clouds have hovered over this team since February like a paralyzed front.

The Buckeyes lost a 4-0 lead and were 7-4 behind South Carolina-Upstate with two outs and one man at the bottom of the third inning when the ground team pulled a tarp on the mound.

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Spectators were instructed to evacuate Bill Davis Stadium and wait in their vehicles.

Less than an hour later, the Spartans were told they could take the bus for the 10-hour journey home.

No statistics will be counted. It’s like the game never happened.

The Ohio State players, no doubt feeling cheated, sat on the bench still in uniform and silent.

In all, they lost five games to the weather.

“We snowed in West Virginia, we froze in Purdue and today we lost a game to a storm,” said coach Greg Beals. “The forecast said we were going to be fine until 5 am, but it was so hot and blustery. It was a tough way to end the season, but we honor our veterans.”

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What 51 crazy games. What a time to forget such a bad relationship. The record was 21 wins and 30 losses.

As bad as things turned out, though, the Buckeyes would have had a chance to finish with a winning record if they hadn’t lost so many lanes. They lost to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Purdue in a span of 23 days. They lost another three games by one run and six games by two runs.

Senior Ranger Brookman’s smile says it all after he sends a bomb over the wall.

“That’s the torture of it when you look back on games where we had the lead and let it slip away from us,” Beals said.

To this team’s credit, it won eight of its last 12 games to avoid ending up as one of the worst clubs in the show’s history. These men played hard until the end of every game. For a man, it was a good bunch.

But a lot went wrong and a lot of it was completely weird.

How else can you describe Beals being kicked out of a game for telling a referee what he thought of his job after the referee made the call to the bullpen and not to Beals?

Ohio State lost midweek games to Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton. The odds of this happening again are similar to the football team losing to Appalachian State.

Sorry, Michigan, but we couldn’t resist.

The team was swept in the Big Ten series by Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland.

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A game on Friday against the Upstate was delayed by two hours because a bank of lights along the third baseline failed.

One pitcher, who will not be named, had to sit out several games because he was injured playing ping pong.

In recent weeks, there have been seven unavailable first responders with injuries.

Senior second baseman Colton Bauer made some fantastic plays.

And so on it went like the Anvil Chorus.

Ohio State could beat baseball around:

– Shortstop Zach Dezenzo tied the team’s season record for home runs with 19. He hit .321 and drove in 57 runs. No Big Ten player has been better in the last three weeks.

– Third baseman Marcus Ernst, a veteran who will return for a fifth season because he was on the roster for the 2020 COVID-19 lost season, was consistent from opener to late in hitting 0.337.

– Left freshman Trey Lipsey showed that he could one day be a top-notch prospect in Major League Baseball by hitting .293 with seven home runs and stealing 14 bases as the daily number 3 hitter.

– Second center fielder Kade Kern was also strong with a batting average of .298 with nine home runs and 49 runs batted in. He stole 11 bases.

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– Senior Seeker Brent Todys hit 0.317.

The bats, however, couldn’t make up for a defense that made a Big Ten-high 86 errors and turned into a 20 double-play conference.

Many of the infield problems were with third baseman Nick Erwin being missed for the season with a shoulder injury after opening against Marshall and Dezenzo playing 17 games at first base and eight as a designated hitter because of a sprained right elbow.

Senior Aaron Funk released his latest game for the Buckeyes.

“Nick is a show character guy, a high character guy,” Beals said. “Not having him – and he is arguably our best inside defender – and not having Dezenzo as a shortstop for seven weeks was tough. What we did was look at the numbers, and our starting infielders fielded .918 when Z wasn’t playing shortstop. Our infielders fielded .968 when Z returned to shortstop. This significantly changed our defense on the field.”

The release team needed good gloves behind this. The average number of races won was 6.89.

You read this correctly.

Griffan Smith, southpaw and hero of the 2019 Big Ten tournament champion team, was supposed to be the star. But his arm never came around.

That gave Beals three rookie starters in Isaiah Coupet, Nate Haberthier and Wyatt Loncar. They failed to challenge the hitters and paved the way for trouble.

Senior Archer Brookman makes a tough catch in dirty territory.

“As a team of pitchers, we have to learn how to pitch more efficiently,” Beals said. “We cannot be afraid of contact. We have a tendency to shoot away from the bat and shoot for strikeouts. We need to have more confidence in our stuff to attack the strike zone. This will allow our starting pitchers to delve deeper into the game. We have to hit the bottom of the attack zone again.”

Because the starters often failed to make it out of the fourth and fifth innings, the bullpen was overloaded from the start and broke.

“How many weeks have we played without our closest (TJ Brock)?” Beals said. “We had to transfer people to different roles. We went into the season thinking that Griffan Smith would be in our rotation. That would have put a Haberthier or Loncar in the bullpen.”

You’d better believe the coaching staff started thinking about 2023. Fall practices should be interesting and competitive.

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“I like the core of what we have back,” Beals said. “I like our freshmen. We have two lefties who can help right away. We have some help for the pitching team coming up.”

He will also seek immediate help.

“We will certainly be active on the transfer portal,” Beals said. “We’ve always done some exploration. That’s where we have a pulse.”

Senior Griffan Smith, southpaw and championship team hero of the 2019 Big Ten tournament, receives his senior day recognition.

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