Michigan relinquishes ninth-inning lead to settle for series win over Ohio State

Ohio State scored three times in the ninth inning to erase a two-run deficit and win the game.
UM had the winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth but OSU right fielder Mitchell Okuley saved the game with a diving catch to end the inning.
» Bi-sport athlete Joey Velazquez drove in three-pointers from the nine hole.
Michigan scored all of its runs with two outs and stole seven bases.

ANN ARBOUR, Mich. – Visiting Ohio State scored three times in the top of the ninth inning and right fielder Mitchell Okuley saved the game with a diving catch as the Buckeyes salvaged a win in the three-game series with a 6-5 win over Michigan on Sunday (April 24) at the Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium.

Trailing in the ninth against closer UM Jacob Denner, Okuley drove a solo home run through a gusty wind to the right. Then, until the OSU Finals, Trey Lipsey did the same to tie the game, 5-5. The Buckeyes added a third run on a soft RBI single to left field from Colton Bauer.

Michigan (22-16, 8-4 B1G) put the winning run on second base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after Clark Elliot market, Joe Stewart single left and the duo nailed a double steal. Matt Frey then laced a 1-2 fastball to right field but Okuley took a full-speed dive to end the game.

Neither team scored in the first three innings, but amid howling winds at the stadium, OSU (13-23, 3-10 B1G) took a fourth-inning lead after a two-out walk , a Michigan field error and a seer. singles against starting pitcher UM chase allen.

Michigan, which was hitless going into the fifth inning, finally broke through against OSU starter Wyatt Loncar. With an out, Tito Flores kicked a brace away to the center right. Flores moved to third on a pick-up error and UM eventually put another runner in scoring position as Jack Van Remortel walked and stole second place with two outs. Joey Velazquez bowed in the 0-2 count, but fought back with a major height adjustment and hit a two-run double inside the first base sack to give his team a 2-1 lead.

Michigan went 3-1 in the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit. With an out, Ted Burton walked, stole second and advanced to third on a pitch before a spiked curveball hit the ground for a time and allowed him to score.

Allen recorded his longest start to the season and set a personal best with seven strikeouts, but walked one in the seventh and then went to a full count against OSU’s Zach Dezenzo, who had already managed each of the first two games of the playoffs. Unable to land his fastball, Allen went for a curveball but Dezenzo tossed it over the left field wall for a tying home run, 3-3.

Michigan went to Denner, who crossed the inning on three pitches and into the ninth before getting in trouble. He was eventually marked by defeat to fall to 3-4 on the season.

Velazquez came back strong at the end of the seventh. Flores started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a groundout. With two outs, Velazquez sent a hard single down the right side for another two-out RBI and a 4-3 lead.

Flores added an important insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when he fielded a two-out single to left field to score Burton, who walked to lead before stealing second.

Michigan scored all of its runs with two outs and had a season-high seven stolen bases in the contest. Velazquez led all players with three RBIs from his place at the bottom of the command.

Michigan returns to action next weekend (April 29-May 1) with a three-game series at Purdue that begins Friday at 6 p.m.