Another Pitcher’s Duel

DUNEDIN, Fla.–The Brian Dupra/Alex Wimmers duel has been very enjoyable through six innings. Dupra has not maintained the 92-94 mph heat he showed in the first inning, instead settling into the 88-92 range, but he has generally located his stuff well and has battled. At the end of the Ohio State fifth, Dupra made a terrific play on a chopper in front of the plate, rifling a throw to first base just in time to get the runner and end the inning. He responded with a fist pump and a yell.

This has definitely been the most intense crowd of the day, despite the unseasonably cold temperatures (50 degrees at present, but I’m telling you, it just feels colder than that). The Ohio State contingent has been particularly vocal, and the red-clad fans erupted when Wimmers caught Bill Boockford looking at an 87 mph fastball to end the sixth and strand the bases loaded. Wimmers was masterful in his first career start today, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out seven over six scoreless innings. Interestingly, Wimmers and Ohio State catcher Dan Burkhart have been batterymates since they were 9 years old growing up in Cincinnati, but it’s hard to imagine Burkhart ever catching a better game from Wimmers than today’s performance.

It’s 1-0 Ohio State heading into the seventh. The Buckeyes scored on an RBI single up the middle from Justin Miller in the fourth, as Irish center fielder A.J. Pollock’s throw was way over the catcher’s head and offline.