Big Ten Baseball Tournament 2016: Ohio State vs. Iowa Score, Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMay 29, 2016

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 24:  The NCAA logo is shown on the field before the Oregon State Beavers game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during game one of the NCAA College World Series Baseball Championship at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 24, 2006 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Tar Heels defeated the Beavers 4-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After blowing a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning and losing to Iowa on Friday, the Ohio State Buckeyes got revenge on the Hawkeyes to win the 2016 Big Ten Baseball Tournament on Sunday by a score of 8-7.   

It was the Hawkeyes who jumped out to a 4-0 advantage after plating a run in the bottom of the first and tacking on three more in a big third inning.

But fourth-seeded Ohio State bounced back in a big way with five runs in the fourth, catalyzed by a two-run double from Ronnie Dawson, seen courtesy of the Big Ten Network:

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

.@OhioState_BASE LF Ronnie Dawson probably destroys baseballs in his sleep, too. https://t.co/hHPgEiUELr

The Buckeyes' left fielder eventually came around to score on a successful suicide squeeze, as center fielder Troy Montgomery reached first on a bunt and scored an RBI by plating Dawson in the process.

Hawkeyes Mic highlighted how Iowa pitcher Ryan Erickson's defensive mishap led to a disastrous sequence for the Big Ten's upstart eighth seed:

Hawkeyes Mic @HawkeyesMic

Another mental error by Erickson. Peyton fields a hard bunt and Erickson doesn't cover. Runner is safe and the run scores. 4-3 Iowa, 1 out

Erickson was chased from the game shortly thereafter but was ultimately charged with all five runs in only one-third of an inning of work.

Both sides clamped down on defense for the subsequent two innings until OSU cleanup hitter Troy Kuhn provided insurance with a two-run single in the top of the seventh to give the Buckeyes breathing room.

Ohio State Baseball @OhioState_BASE

T7 | #RAISETHEAXE #RAISETHEAXE #RAISETHEAXE Two-run single by @tr0ykuhn! OSU 7, UI 4 #GoBucks https://t.co/CZ3USgCYTh

Ohio State continued to show off its defensive prowess, highlighted by a magnificent stab from third baseman Nick Sergakis to stymie what could've been a two-out Hawkeyes rally:

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Can @OhioState_BASE 3B Nick Sergakis handle the hot corner? You better believe it! https://t.co/lIc6z0Wf2C

There would be time for a comeback charge for Iowa yet, though.

The Hawkeyes stormed back with three runs in the eighth to knot the score at seven apiece, capped by center fielder Joel Booker's run-scoring single—one of his game-high four hits in five official at-bats:

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Simply put, Joel Booker doesn't make outs. The @UIBaseball star's latest knock was as #B1G as any. https://t.co/BUwT27aZq2

That set the stage for game-winning heroics from Kuhn. Living up to his billing in the batting order, Kuhn rewarded Dawson for his two-out single by ripping a double down the third baseline:

Ohio State Baseball @OhioState_BASE

T9 | TWO-OUT, RBI-DOUBLE by @tr0ykuhn! Buckeyes take the LEAD! #RAISETHEAXE #RAISETHEAXE OSU 8, UI 7 #GoBucks https://t.co/V21q3O91Tv

The clutch extra-base hit amounted to the decisive run. Dawson went 3-for-5 with two RBI at the dish, while Kuhn drove in a game-high three runs.

On the strength of Sunday's win, Ohio State earned an automatic qualifying bid for the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes' last appearance in the big tourney was 2009 and they haven't made the College World Series since 1967.

OSU had a chance to get into the NCAA tournament on an at-large bid had it lost Sunday's contest, so the defeat is all the more devastating for Iowa.

It was nevertheless a strong Cinderella run by the Hawkeyes considering their low positioning in the Big Ten tourney bracket. The hope is Iowa can carry its run forward as momentum for next season.

Postgame Reaction

Buckeyes head football coach Urban Meyer reached out to congratulate the team on the triumph, tweeting, "Congrats Coach Beals and Buckeye Baseball! BIG Tournament Champions! Wow!!!"

Montgomery and Kuhn were interviewed about the victory afterwards, per Ohio State on BTN:

Ohio State on BTN @OhioStateOnBTN

Hear what Troy Montgomery had to say to @dahughesguy83 about @OhioState_BASE's #B1G tourney crown. https://t.co/7MmcSUOKMQ

Ohio State on BTN @OhioStateOnBTN

Troy Kuhn speaks with @dahughesguy83 about @OhioState_BASE's relentless run to the #B1G tourney title. https://t.co/o6zZNQCAse

MLB veteran and former Ohio State standout Nick Swisher tweeted, "Congrats to the boys from @!! So proud of y'all!!! Keep up the good work!!! Bring that big trophy from Omaha back to the O-H!!"

Hawkeyes head coach Rick Heller, senior leader Tyler Peyton and Booker were among those who spoke about the tough loss, per Iowa Baseball:

Iowa Baseball @UIBaseball

Watch reaction following a tough loss Sunday in Omaha. Thanks to the thousands of Hawkeye fans who came to the game! https://t.co/XnNqv3bOdx

Heller discussed how his club minimized mistakes, while Peyton thanked the fans for their support and emphasized how the Hawkeyes never stopped believing in themselves as the Big Ten tourney wore on.

Stats courtesy of StatsBroadcast.com.


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