Ohio State raced out to a commanding lead, winning five of the first six matches on the road at Pittsburgh Friday afternoon. Ohio State faced an early road test against the No. 15 team in the country, and came away with a solid victory as six of Tom Ryan's ranked wrestlers took care of business in the Steel City.
Led by top-ranked captains Kollin Moore and Luke Pletcher – who both recorded major decisions – and highlighted by Slammin' Sammy Sasso's fourth pin of the season, Ohio State led the dual 20-3 after six bouts, and the meet was effectively out of reach for the home team.
Pitt didn't go down quietly, however, winning three of the final four matches by a combined score of 26-10.
What Went Right
Ohio State's top dogs are legit. Moore and Pletcher took care of business, with Pletcher recording one of his most impressive wins of the young season with a 23-9 major. He orchestrated a bruising second period that included a 4-point near fall, and looked totally dominant on top throughout the match.
Pletcher may not be known for an explosive offense, but you'd never know it from watching his match versus No. 17 Cole Matthews.
Teammate Sammy Sasso, on the other hand, has now wrestled a full seven minutes just once all season. His win in #Pinzburgh was his fourth fall of the season, and he has two tech falls to his credit as well.
Chase Singletary was a welcome addition to the lineup as he returned after taking a few weeks to get back up to weight and recover from the U23 World Freestyle Championships in Budapest. He faced the No. 9 wrestler in the heavyweight class and not only won, but he rode his man the entire second period.
Malik Heinselman and Kaleb Romero each came away victorious, with Romero now a perfect 7-0 on the season at 174.
Before we get too deep in the weeds on the matches Ohio State dropped, Quinn Kinner deserves a nod. He lost a narrow decision to Micky Phillippi, one of the toughest wrestlers in the country and the No. 4 man in the class at 133... but barely three weeks after deciding to drop down to 133, he looks like he's going to be really good for the Buckeyes.
Kinner is a self-described brawler, and he took the fight to Phillippi Friday. The higher-ranked Panther just managed to stay out of danger, and wriggled into position to convert a Kinner shot into his own takedown. The match provided plenty for Ryan and staff to build on with their redshirt freshman.
On the other hand, Elijah Cleary and Gavin Hoffman looked out-horsed in their respective losses to Top-10-type opponents.
Friday was Hoffman's first day back in the lineup after doing well in open tournaments throughout the first half of the month. He didn't look quite ready for primetime at Pittsburgh, but there's little doubt the Pennsylvania native has the talent necessary to make an impact for the Buckeyes if he continues to mature and develop.
The match that got away was Ethan Smith's loss to No. 15 Jake Wentzel. Smith looked to be in command through most of the match, but gave up the go-ahead takedown late and couldn't recover. After the Stanford meet last week, Tom Ryan made a point that his team needs to work on wrestling with the same intensity the full seven minutes, and Smith's loss will be one that grinds Ryan's gears for just that reason.
|197||No. 1 Kollin Moore, major decision over No. 23 Kellan Stout (12-3)||4||0|
|285||No. 11 Chase Singletary, decision over No. 9 Demetrius Thomas (8-3)||7||0|
|125||No. 21 Malik Heinselman, decision over Louis Newell (12-7)||10||0|
|133||No. 4 Micky Phillippi, decision over No. 18 Quinn Kinner (4-3)||10||3|
|141||No. 1 Luke Pletcher, major decision over No. 17 Cole Matthews (23-9)||14||3|
|149||No. 6 Sammy Sasso, victory by FALL over Luke Kemerer (5:26)||20||3|
|157||No. 10 Taleb Rahmani, decision over Elijah Cleary (6-1)||20||6|
|165||No. 15 Jake Wentzel, decision over No. 21 Ethan Smith (3-2)||20||9|
|174||No. 20 Kaleb Romero, decision over Greg Harvey (7-2)||23||9|
|184||No. 11 Nino Bonaccorsi, decision over Gavin Hoffman (10-5)||23||12|
Ohio State returns to Columbus for another dual versus an ACC opponent, hosting the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies Sunday at high noon from the Covelli Center.