May 28, 2005
CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS - Ohio State was one strike away from claiming the 2005 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament title, but, Minnesota's Joe Maciej had other ideas. The freshman belted an opposite-field, two-out, two-run homer here Saturday (May 28) night to win the game 4-3 over Ohio State and set-up a final showdown on Sunday (May 29) for the Big Ten Tournament Title.
Minnesota improves its record to 34-28 overall on Maceij's second homer of the season, while Ohio State falls to 38-19 on the year. The two schools will play on Sunday for the Big Ten Conference Tournament Title with the conferences automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament at 12:00 p.m. central time at Illinois Field on the campus of the University of Illinois.
Ohio State wasted little time in starting a rally on Saturday. A pair of hits put runners on the corners for Steve Caravati. The senior hit a sacrifice-fly to right field that scored Matt Angle to make it 1-0 Bucks early on.
Ohio State would threaten to take a commanding lead in the second inning. Jedidiah Stephen scored on a single to right field by Eric Fryer to make it a 2-0 game. A potential double-play ball off the bat of Mike Rabin with the bases loaded scored OSU's third run after Rabin beat the throw to first to allow Paul Farinacci to make it a 3-0 game.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the sixth inning when Minnesota broke-up Ohio State starter Cory Luebke's shutout. Matt Fornasiere led off the inning a solo shot to right field to make it a 3-1 game. Two batters later, Andy Hunter blasted a 2-0 pitch over the right field fence to trim the OSU lead down to one at 3-2.
Both starters would but together solid performances in the game with Luebke tossing seven innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven while only walking one. Minnesota ace Matt Loberg tossed nine innings in which he allowed three runs and struck out four to pick up the win.
The ninth inning fireworks began with two down when OSU reliever Rory Meister walked Tony Leseman to bring the winning run to the plate. With a full count after fouling off several pitches, Maceij connected and sent the ball over the right-center field wall and the Gophers out onto the field in celebration.