What a wonderfully odd year the 2009 campaign was for the Ohio State baseball team. This pleasantly surprising, hard-hitting team that was a couple arms thin on the mound managed to win the Big Ten Conference championship and qualify for the NCAA tournament after opening the season picked as no better than a third-place team in the Big Ten Conference by any of the baseball publications.
About four hours after Ohio State completed a three-game sweep over Iowa in its final Big Ten series of the year to improve to 18-6 in the Big Ten, Penn State came-from-behind to defeat league-leading Minnesota and drop its record to 17-6 – UM lost a game with Indiana due to inclement weather – and deny the Golden Gophers the title.
The Big Ten championship is the seventh for Coach Bob Todd at Ohio State and the first since the 2001 season, and it is the 15th all-time in school history.
Ohio State then dominated the 2009 all-conference awards with eight players named first- or second-team all-Big Ten with Alex Wimmers selected as the co-Pitcher of the Year and Dan Burkhart named the Player of the Year.
In addition, Todd was a unanimous choice as the league’s coach of the year.
Wimmers and Burkhart, both sophomores, were joined on the all-Big Ten first team by junior designated hitter Ryan Dew and senior closer Jake Hale. Named to the all-Big Ten second team were senior captain and third baseman Justin Miller, junior second baseman Cory Kovanda, junior center fielder Michael Stephens and sophomore starting pitcher Dean Wolosiansky.
Wimmers and Hale became the first Buckeye tandem to ever receive first-team All-America honors in the same year. Wimmers was selected to the Louisville Slugger and PING! Baseball All-America first teams while Hales was first-team All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Hale was a finalist for the National Stopper of the Year award. He and Wimmers were each semifinalists for the National Pitcher of the Year award and Burkhart was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award.
Ohio State competed in its 13th NCAA tournament under the direction of coach Bob Todd and the 19th NCAA in school history as the No. 3 Seed in the Tallahassee Regional. After losing to Georgia in the opening game, Ohio State sent Marist home with a 6-4 win and sent Georgia home with a 13-6 win before its season ended with a loss to No. 8 Florida State. The team finished with a 42-19 overall record.