PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. | Despite a stellar pitching performance from Michael O'Neal and Trey Cochran-Gill, the Auburn baseball team could not get the offense going in a 1-0 loss to Ohio State on Saturday afternoon at the Snowbird Classic.
The Tigers (1-1) left nine runners on base in the game and were unsuccessful in moving runners in key situations, failing to execute several bunts and hit-and-runs.
"I'm really mad about this game," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "As mad as I've been in seven or eight years after a baseball game. Mistakes were made, and we've got to go back and correct them. But I'm mad at myself. I've got to get this baseball team in a better position to win. It's a ballgame we've got to win if we're going to be who we want to be.
"We pitched really well, except for when we threw eight straight balls. That first walk ended up scoring. O'Neal's too good to let that happen, but you can't fault him today. He pitched really well. Our staff has kept us in games to win, and to only give up one run in two games is pretty good. We ought to be able to win those games. But we've got an opportunity to come back and win tomorrow."
O'Neal (0-1) took the hard-luck loss in a quality start, giving up just the one run on four hits while walking and striking out two apiece. Cochran-Gill was strong in relief as well, giving up just two hits in two innings with one walk and one strikeout.
Ohio State took advantage of those two walks to lead off the fourth inning. The third batter, Josh Dezse, lined an O'Neal offering through the left side, scoring Bosiokovic from second and giving the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead that proved to be the winning margin.
Auburn had numerous scoring opportunities but was unable to capitalize. The best chance came in the third inning, when Anfernee Grier led off with a single and then moved to third when Ohio State's pitcher threw away a sacrifice bunt from Damon Haecker. After a strikeout, the Tigers attempted a double-steal, but the Buckeyes cut off the throw to second and threw out Grier at home to snuff out the threat.
The Tigers also had runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings - loading the bases in the seventh with two out - but came up empty all three times.
Auburn scattered its five hits among five players. J.J. Shaffer, Dan Glevenyak, Patrick Savage, Blake Logan and Grier had one hit apiece.
The final game for Auburn at the Snowbird Classic is set for a 10 a.m. CT first pitch Sunday as the Tigers take on Connecticut at North Charlotte Regional Park.