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Baseball: Neely throws in relief against Purdue, there to stay as Beals shakes up rotation – OSU – The Lantern

Posted: May 13, 2021 at 1:52 am

Ohio State junior right handed pitcher Jack Neely (10) pitches during the Ohio State-Maryland game on March 28. Ohio State won 5-4. Credit: Christian Harsa | Special Projects Director

In Tuesdays midweek game against Purdue, junior righty Jack Neely emerged from the bullpen and worked two innings, allowing one hit, a walk and no runs.

Neelys 10th outing of the year was also his first in relief, and it wont be his last. Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said Neely has officially been moved to the bullpen, bumping senior southpaw Griffan Smith into the starting rotation.

I hope Jack Neely throws two innings Friday night because that means were winning, Beals said.

Neely struggled in his first nine starts of 2021, never really finding a groove to settle into ballgames a problem that followed him from his days at the University of Texas and Iowa Western Community College.

Prior to his relief appearance Tuesday, the San Antonio native earned a 1-2 record with a 6.25 ERA the highest of the three Ohio State starters in 36 innings. He allowed 25 earned runs on 30 hits and 21 walks.

On the year, he has only pitched five innings once with the rest of his starts sprinkled in the three to 4 2/3-inning range.

Beals said the reason for the move was to utilize the lack of longevity in Neely, having him exert his success in short, quick bursts as opposed to expecting him to go deep into a ballgame his weakness.

Jack Neelys been really good for two or three innings. And, its like the second time through the lineup, deeper into his pitch count, whatever, is when things seem to loosen up, Beals said. Jack Neely for two innings, 30 pitches, is going to be really tough and we want to be able to when we have the lead here down the stretch give the ball to somebody that can really eat up two innings really strong.

In the first two innings of his nine starts, Neely has allowed six earned runs four in the first inning of his first start of the year March 6 against Illinois equating to a respectable 3.00 ERA. He has not allowed a run in the first two innings in his last five starts.

After the second inning, though, Neely is a different pitcher, owning a dismal 9.50 ERA.

Neely is not a lost cause, though.

The 6-foot-8 hurlers intangibles a fastball that can top out near triple digits coupled with a breaking ball that can drop off a table fit the modern-day relief pitcher of Major League Baseball to a T, meaning he has the potential to become a dominant weapon in the Buckeyes bullpen.

His replacement is no stranger to trotting out to the mound at the beginning of a game either.

Smith has started 23 games in his Buckeye career, proving the missing longevity in the No. 3 spot in the rotation with his two complete games in 2019.

He battled a preseason injury that kept him out for the first seven games of the season, hurting his chances in the race for the third spot in the rotation out of the gates.

His 7.04 ERA in 15.1 innings is not desirable, but five of the Cincinnati natives nine relief appearances this season have gone longer than an inning, including 3 1/3 scoreless frames against Indiana April 3.

Smith joins Nos. 1 and 2 anchors in junior right-hander Garrett Burhenn and redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Seth Lonsway, respectively.

Burhenn the Buckeyes usual Friday starter is known for his ability to go deep into games, logging at least five innings in all 10 of his starts. His 59 1/3 innings pitched in 2021 rank fifth in the Big Ten.

Sheer dominance is Lonsways M.O. His Big Ten-best .148 opponent batting average coupled with his 80 punch-outs, which are tied for first, are why he is in the Golden Spikes Award conversation awarded to the best amateur baseball player in the United States.

Smith is slated to start Saturday against Michigan State since Burhenn pitched six innings against Purdue in the midweek game. On a typical weekend, he would slot in as the No. 3 Sunday starter.

What were trying to do there is get Griffan Smith in a position where hes more comfortable being in the rotation, Beals said. Hes been a very good starter for us in the past, so get him in a more comfortable spot.

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Baseball: Neely throws in relief against Purdue, there to stay as Beals shakes up rotation - OSU - The Lantern

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