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April 6, 2006

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NO. 24 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
16-6, 3-1 Big Ten
vs.
ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
14-9, 2-2 Big Ten

April 7-9, 2006
Bill Davis Staidum (Capacity: 4,450)
Columbus, Ohio

Friday, April 7: 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, April 8 (DH): 1:35 p.m.
Sunday, April 9: 1:05 p.m.

Series History: Ohio State leads 89-83-2

PROBABLE OSU STARTING PITCHERS
Friday: Dan DeLucia (LHP)
Saturday: Cory Luebke (LHP) and Jake Hale (RHP)
Sunday: J.B. Shuck (LHP)

RADIO
Games 1, 3 & 4 on AM 920 WMNI

OHIOSTATEBUCKEYES.COM
GameTracker, Streaming Audio & Video

Coming off a midweek 9-2 win over Miami (Ohio) Wednesday, No. 24 Ohio State returns to Big Ten action Friday though Sunday with a four-game series against Illinois, the 2005 Big Ten regular season champion. Ohio State claimed the conference postseason tournament so the meeting this weekend at Bill Davis Stadium pits the two champions from a season ago.

The teams will open the series Friday with a single game at 6:35 p.m. before continuing with a doubleheader Saturday at 1:35 p.m. The series concludes Sunday with a single game at 1:05 p.m.

The weekend has a different promotion each day. Friday, the first 2,500 fans will receive free schedule magnets, courtesy of Roosters. Then on Saturday, the first 1,000 fans will get Ohio State baseball pennants and on Sunday, the first, 1,000 fans will get a free Nick Swisher bobble head. Swisher, currently an outfielder for the Oakland A’s, played college baseball at Ohio State from 2000-02 and was the 16th overall pick in the draft that season. He is the only current Buckeye in Major League Baseball.

Games one, three and four will be broadcast on the new radio home for the Ohio State baseball team, AM 920 WMNI in Columbus. Randy Rhinehart, Eric Welch and Frank Fraas will call that action. The games will be available at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Streaming video will be featured for the game Sunday and all four games will be feature live scoring using GameTracker as well.

ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State improved to 16-6 with a 9-2 victory over Miami (Ohio) Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 6-0 lead through three innings to win for the 14th time in their last 16 games. They collected 13 hits, getting in double digits for the 15th time this season. In 22 games, Ohio State is outscoring its opponents 99-35 in the first four innings.

The win Ohio State’s first as a ranked team this season, having been ranked 24th by Collegiate Baseball newspaper on Monday. It was the first ranking for Ohio State since it finished the 2003 season ranked in the Top 21 of the four major polls. The Buckeyes hosted Missouri State and came within two victories of advancing to their first College World Series since 1966.

This year’s squad went 4-1 last week after beating Toledo 8-5 in the home opener at Bill Davis Stadium last Wednesday combined with a 3-1 series win at Iowa. Ohio State won the first, third and fourth games of the series by respective scores of 12-5, 6-4 and 15-1, with the only blemish of the week coming in game two, a 7-1 loss.

The most dominating win was the 15-1 series clincher on Sunday that kept the Buckeyes on top of the Big Ten standings with a 3-1 record. While the offense pounded out 17 hits, it was the pitching that grabbed national headlines as freshman pitcher J.B. Shuck took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up a solo home run to the lead-off batter that inning. It was the only hit allowed by Buckeye pitching. Shuck struck out eight batters in the game and turned the game over to Dan Barker, who pitched the ninth without a hit.

Shuck leads the Big Ten with his perfect 4-0 record and 1.12 ERA. He has 26 strikeouts in 32.0 innings. Dan DeLucia is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Cory Luebke is the third Buckeye start with 26 strikeouts. He is 3-2 with a 3.56 ERA in 30.1 innings. As a staff, the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with a 3.42 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .261 average.

Ohio State will likely go with a similar rotation to what it did last week with DeLucia in game one and Shuck in game four and then Luebke or Jake Hale in either game of the Saturday doubleheader.

As strong as the starting pitching has been, the offense has been even stronger. The squad has a .349 batting average, which also is tops in the league. In five games last week, the team outscored opponents 42-22. In the last 16 games, in which Ohio State has lost just twice, the squad is batting .373.

Last week in Iowa City, the team outscored the Hawkeyes 34-17 while 15 of the team’s 44 hits were for extra bases. The team had nine doubles, two triples and four home runs after entering the weekend with only three round-trippers the first 17 games of the season. Ronnie Bourquin batted .438 in the four games, going 7-for-16 with three doubles, a home run, five RBI and six runs scored. He had an .813 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage. He did not strikeout in the series and drew two walks. Jason Zoeller also had a strong series, batting .417.

Bourquin continues to pace the team with his .432 batting average, 41 hits and 30 RBI. Eric Fryer has 28 RBI and is batting .400 with 32 hits. Jacob Howell is second on the team with a .416 batting average and has 37 hits, four doubles, three triples a home run and 15 RBI. Matt Angle also is nearing .400 with his .391 batting average.

OSU JUMPS OUT EARLY IN 9-2 WIN VS. MIAMI
Ohio State jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and then added three more runs on its way to a 9-2 victory over Miami University Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium. With the win, the Buckeye are 16-6 overall.

It was the 15th game of the year Ohio State had at least 10 hits, three off the bat of Eric Fryer. The Buckeyes scored twice in the first inning, added four in the third, one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Jonathan Zizzo, Jedidiah Stephen and Wes Schirtzinger each had a pair of hits. Ronnie Bourquin and J.B. Shuck each drove in two runs.

Dan Barker improved to 3-0 with the win in the abbreviated short start. He pitched three innings and struck out three while keeping Miami off the scoreboard on four hits and a walk. Josh Barrera pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Trey Fausnaugh struck out two and gave up one hit in his two innings before Rory Meister struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth.

AT HOME ON WEDNESDAY
Ohio State improved to 2-0 at home this season with a pair of Wednesday non-conference victories against Toledo (8-5) and Miami (9-2). The Buckeyes have hit .380 in the two games and are led by Eric Fryer, who is 7-for-8 with five runs scored in the two games. He was 4-for-4 vs. Toledo and was 3-for-4 vs. Miami this past Wednesday. Jason Zoeller is 3-for-5 with four RBI and Jedidiah Stephen is 4-for-8 with three RBI and two runs scored. Dan Barker earned the win in both contests and has not allowed a run on seven hits in five innings pitched. He has five strikeouts and has walked one batter.

ABOUT ILLINOIS
The Fighting Illini split a pair of midweek games at home against Western Michigan, losing the first game 7-2 Tuesday before rebounding for a 16-5 victory Wednesday. The Broncos beat Ohio State 12-11 on March 5 in Jacksonville. Illinois began Big Ten play last weekend with a four-game home split against Purdue.

Through the first 23 games of the season, the Fighting Illini are batting .318 and are led by Trevor Huisinga, who is batting .366 in 20 games this season and has 26 hits, 19 runs scored and 15 RBI. Four others are batting at least .300, including Lars Davis (.337), Ryan Snowden (.333), Shawn Roof (.329) and Dave Schultz (.323). Davis is the team leader with 30 hits, while Snowden and Mike Rohde each have 29. Schultz is the leading RBI guy with 25. Schultz and Chase Kliment each have two home runs and the Illini have eight has a team.

On the hill, the Illini have a 5.37 ERA, but do not have a starter with more than two wins. Brian Blomquist will likely throw against Ohio State on Friday. He is 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Jake Toohey likely will get the start in the second game, but after that, the Illini have not indicated who might start. Toohey is 2-2 with a 5.62 ERA and a team-high 24 strikeouts in 32.0 innings. Last weekend at Purdue, Illinois used Omar Kadir in game three and Scott Shaw in game four. Like they were last weekend with Iowa closer Tim Gudex, the Buckeyes will be trying to keep Illinois reliever Matt Whitmore in the bullpen. Whitmore faced just 11 batters in 3.0 innings last week to pick up two saves. For the season, Whitmore has six saves in eight appearances totaling 11.0 innings. He has allowed four hits (only one earned) on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

Dan Hartlieb (Southern Illinois, 1989) is in his first season at Illinois and as a college coach. He took over after last season for Richard “Itch” Jones who retired following the Big Ten championship.

AGAINST THE FIGHTING ILLINI
Ohio State leads the all-time series vs. Illinois 89-83-2 in a series that dates back to 1904, when the teams split two games. Ohio State won the first-ever meeting, 6-5, on May 18, before losing 5-4 on June 15. Since 2000, the Buckeyes trail 11-10 and have lost the last five games in the series. Included in the record are three non-conference games during the 2003 season. The last time the teams met in Columbus was 2004 when Ohio State clinched the series by winning the first three games of the series before losing the finale. OSU skipper Bob Todd is 34-28 all time against Illinois.

OSU vs. Illinois Since 2000 (ILL leads 11-10)

4/28/2000 L 5-2 A
4/29/2000 W 6-4 A
4/29/2000 W 6-1 A
4/30/2000 L 6-3 A
5/20/2000 L 4-0 2N
4/6/2001 W 11-6 H
4/7/2001 W 6-5 H
4/7/2001 W 5-2 H
4/8/2001 L 9-6 H
5/19/2001 W 10-0 1H
3/23/2003 L 4-1 3N
3/23/2003 L 5-2 3N
3/24/2003 W 6-3 3N
4/2/2004 W 5-1 H
4/3/2004 W 14-3 H
4/3/2004 W 5-3 H
4/4/2004 L 12-4 H
4/1/2005 L 7-1 A
4/2/2005 L 4-1 A
4/2/2005 L 5-4 A
4/3/2005 L 6-4 A

1-Big Ten Tournament, Columbus, Ohio
2-Big Ten Tournament, Minneapolis, Minn.
3-at Bradenton, Fla. (non-conference)

BIG TEN SERIES HISTORY VS. ILLINOIS
The Buckeyes and Illinois have met 14 times in a four-game conference series since the Big Ten began playing the format in 1981. Ohio State has won six times while Illinois has won three series. The teams have split the other five meetings. The Buckeyes have swept the Illini twice, while Illinois recorded its first sweep against Ohio State last season in Champaign.

Big Ten Series History vs. Illinois

Ohio State 4-0 1999, 1992
Ohio State 3-1 2004, 2001, 1994, 1993
Split 2-2 2000, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1989
Illinois 3-1 1996, 1988
Illinois 4-0 2005

LAST YEAR VS. ILLINOIS
For only the second time at Ohio State since Bob Todd began coaching, the Buckeyes were swept in a four-game conference series. Illinois swept the series in grand fashion, winning the finale with a two-run walk-off home run to seal a 6-4 victory and only the sixth-ever sweep against Ohio State since the Big Ten began playing four-game series in 1981. The Illini won the first three games of the series by scores of 7-1, 4-1 and 5-4.

IN THE BIG TEN
Ohio State continues to own the best overall record in the Big Ten at 16-6 and sits in a three-way tie atop the league standings after going 3-1 at Iowa last weekend to open conference play. Michigan State took 3-of-4 from Indiana and Northwestern won 3-of-4 at Michigan. Illinois and Purdue each have 14 wins. This weekend, Iowa is at Penn State, Indiana is at Northwestern, Michigan State is at Purdue and Michigan is at Minnesota.

The Buckeyes lead the league with a .349 batting average and a 3.42 ERA. In addition to Ohio State, Michigan State (.320), Purdue (.318) and Illinois (.316) all are batting better than .300. Minnesota has the next closest ERA (3.95) and is the only other team with an ERA of less than 4.00.

Ronnie Bourquin leads the league with his .440 batting average. The Buckeyes rank 1-3-5 and have five of the Top 10 batting averages this week with Jacob Howell (.420) third and Matt Angle (.393) fifth. Eric Fryer is eighth at .382 and Jedidiah Stephen is 10th at .376. Bourquin and Howell are 1-2 in hits with 40 and 37, respectively, while Angle (32), Howell (27) and Bourquin (26) rank 1-3-4 in runs scored. Fryer and Bourquin lead the conference with 28 RBI, while Stephen has 12 doubles to set the standard.

In pitching, J.B. Shuck continues to lead the Big Ten with his 1.12 ERA and .161 opposing batting average. He and Dan DeLucia are tied atop the conference with four victories.

MILESTONES
The game against Florida marked the 1,300th game of Bob Todd’s career, which is in its 23rd season in 2006. He coached his 1,100th game at Ohio State, where he has coached since 1988, in the Buckeyes’ eighth game of the year, a 13-6 victory over Lehigh in the second game of a doubleheader on March 10. Todd owns a career record of 865-452-2 and is 741-370-2 at Ohio State.

Ohio State has played 3,595 games since it began playing baseball in 1881. The 3,600th game in school history will be played against Central Michigan Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes are 2,169-1,388-38 all time.

HIGH-POWERED OFFENSE
The Buckeyes have really turned it on at the plate in the last 16 games to up their batting average to a Big Ten best .349. The next closest team, Michigan State, has a batting average of .320. During the 16-game stretch, in which Ohio State has won 14 games, the Buckeyes have hit .373 and have outscored their opponents 152-64, that is an average of 9.5 to 4.0. Ohio State is averaging 13.4 hits to 8.2 hits per game during the stretch. For the season, Ohio State has outscored the opposition 187-100 or 8.5 to 4.6. In the first six games of the season, the Buckeyes were 2-4 and were outscored 36-35. The Scarlet and Gray have scored 10 or more runs nine times this season and have recorded double-digit figures in hits 15 times, including a stretch seven straight games with at least 16 hits (games 6-12).

BUCKEYES FIND EARLY GAME SUCCESS
Ohio State has managed to build early leads against its opponents. Through the first four innings, the Buckeyes have outscored their opposition 99-35, including a margin of 17-1 in the second inning. Last weekend in Iowa, the Buckeyes outscored the Hawkeyes 19-7 in the first four innings. Only eight times this season in 21 games has an opponent scored in the first inning. The sixth inning also has been particularly potent for the Buckeyes, which have outscored opponents 29-6.

TWO-OUT HITTING
Every coach preaches getting hits with two outs, but Ohio State players really seems to be taking it to heart this season. The team has 76 two-out hits and has driven in 67 runs with two outs. The Buckeyes are batting .296 (76-for-257) with two outs. The team has 70 two-out RBI.

SHUCK MAKES NATIONAL HONOR ROLL
For the second time this season freshman pitcher J.B. Shuck made the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll. Shuck, a left-handed pitcher from Galion, Ohio (Galion), took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a 15-1 victory Sunday at Iowa. The Hawkeyes broke it up with a solo-home run to lead off the eighth inning, but he retired the next three batters to get out of the inning and handed the game over to a reliever who did not allow a hit in the ninth. The two pitchers combined to allow only the one hit. Shuck struck out a season-high eight batters, equaling the most by a Buckeye this season, and did not issue a walk.

Shuck also started the midweek game against Toledo, but pitched only three innings after allowing one earned run on five hits in the short start. After beating Iowa, Shuck improved to 4-0 and boasts a 1.12 ERA, the lowest in the Big Ten. Opposing hitters are batting just .161. He has allowed only four earned runs this season and also holds his own at first base, where he has made eight starts. Shuck is batting .400 in 12 games (14-for-35) with 10 RBI.

The multi-position player also made the honor roll after his first win of the season, a 4-2 win over Missouri the opening weekend of the season, when the Tigers were ranked No. 12 in the nation.

ZOELLER HIT FOR SERIES CYCLE AT IOWA
In the four games at Iowa, Ohio State second baseman Jason Zoeller hit for the cycle. He was 5-for-12 with two singles, a double, a triple and a home run. He also had a sacrifice bunt and finished the series with five RBI and scored two runs.

6 OF 7 HOME RUNS VS. STATE OF IOWA
Ohio State entered the Iowa series with just three home runs and had not homered since the Northern Iowa game March 11 in Clearwater, Fla., when Jason Zoeller and Eric Fryer each homered against the Cedar Falls, Iowa, school. Zoeller launched a two-run shot to right field in the wind in the opener against Iowa last weekend and then the team had three home runs in the series finale, including a pair of three-run bombs. Jacob Howell got things started went he sent a 1-0 fastball over the fence in right-center to lead off the game. His third career home run was his first since game one of the 2004 Penn State series. Jedidiah Stephen and Ronnie Bourquin each had a two-out, three-run homer later in the game. For Stephen, it was the 19th home run of his career, while it was the seventh career home run for Bourquin. Fryer and Zoeller each have two home runs this season to lead the team.

IN BIG TEN OPENERS
With the 12-5 win in the Big Ten opener March 31 at Iowa, the Buckeyes improved to 12-7 in conference openers since head coach Bob Todd arrived in Columbus prior to the 1988 season. Prior to last year’s loss at Illinois, Ohio State had won six Big Ten openers. When opening league play at home, the Buckeyes are 8-4 under Todd. Since 1988, when the team is on the road to open Big Ten play it is 3-3 and at a neutral site, the team is 1-0.

DELUCIA TOPS 175 CAREER INNINGS
With 14.0 innings on the spring break trip, Dan DeLucia moved ahead of the stat minimum for several career pitching stats. Now at 184.1 career innings after throwing 7.0 in the Big Ten opener at Iowa. He has allowed 179 hits, the seventh lowest total by a Buckeye. He has walked just 54 batters, which is the third fewest by an Ohio State pitcher. He has allowed 95 runs (tied for seventh lowest) and 81 earned runs (sixth lowest). DeLucia is 13-9 with a 3.95 ERA and 105 strikeouts, though this year he is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and is in a three-way tie for the team lead with 26 strikeouts.

CRACKING THE TOP 10 IN APPEARANCES
Ohio State reliever Trey Fausnaugh has made five appearances this season, including a 2.0-inning outing Wednesday in the 9-2 win over Miami (Ohio). That appearance was the 61st of his career and he now is in a seven-way tie for ninth most in school history. The all-time record for appearances is 96 held by Cory Cox (1998-2001). He needs three more appearances to tie Justin Fry for eighth.

SPEED YIELDING MORE TRIPLES
Ohio State hit two triples Wednesday vs. Miami (Ohio) and now has 13 triples this season. Jonathan Zizzo and Jedidiah Stephen each reached third against the RedHawks on well-struck balls to the gap. The school record for three-baggers is 25 set in 1991. Last year the team had 16 triples, which tied for 10th most in school history. Jacob Howell is the team lead with three this season, though Jedidiah Stephen, Jason Zoeller and Adam Schneider each have two. Howell has nine career triples to sit in an eighth-place tie on the school’s career list. Stephen has seven in his career, while Zoeller has five career triples.

SPEED ALSO WORKING ON BASE PATHS
Buckeye center fielder Matt Angle has stolen 13 of 13 bases this season as the team leader. He was 3-for-3 last weekend at Iowa and swiped another vs. Miami (Ohio). Jacob Howell and Wes Schirtzinger, the other two outfielders, also are a threat to steal. Howell is perfect in six attempts, while Schirtzinger has been thrown out once on eight tries. The team is 31 for 46 in stolen bases this season. Howell has 30 career stolen bases and is tied for 17th on the career list.

ALL-ACCESS PASS THE KEY TO ONLINE AUDIO, VIDEO COVERAGE
The official web site of Ohio State athletics, ohiostatebuckeyes.com, in conjunction with College Sports Television, is offering subscription coverage for streaming audio and video of select Buckeye baseball games this spring.

For $6.95 per month, fans can receive streaming audio for a minimum of 27 regular-season baseball games that will be carried on the radio in the Columbus market at AM 920 WMNI. The station also is committed to all of Ohio State’s postseason games and those, too, would be available to subscribers of the CSTV All-Access pass. All Ohio State programming is included in the monthly subscription price, not just baseball coverage.

Included in the CSTV All-Access package is streaming video for nine Ohio State home games.

Available Games in Streaming Video

March 29 Wed. Toledo 2 p.m.
April 5 Wed. Miami (Ohio) 6:35 p.m.
April 9 Sun. Illinois 1:05 p.m.
April 26 Wed. Cleveland State Noon
April 28 Fri. Purdue 6:35 p.m.
April 30 Sun. Purdue 1:05 p.m.
May 12 Fri. Minnesota 6:35 p.m.
May 14 Sun. Minnesota 1:05 p.m.
May 19 Fri. Penn State 6:35 p.m.
May 21 Sun. Penn State 1:05 p.m.

Bob Todd RADIO SHOW
The Bob Todd weekly radio show, hosted by Skip Mosic on WBNS Radio 1460 The Fan, will run each week for 10 weeks with the final program broadcast on Monday, May 22. The nights of the show vary this year because of station conflicts with either Columbus Blue Jackets or Cleveland Indians broadcasts. Six shows will be broadcast on Monday with two shows each on Tuesday and Thursday. Each of the remaining 30-minute shows will begin at 7 p.m. To participate, dial (614) 821-1460.

Bob Todd Radio Show Remaining Schedule
Monday, April 10 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, April 17 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, April 24 @ 7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 2 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 11 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 18 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, May 22 @ 7 p.m.

UP NEXT FOR THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State will close out the mini six-game home stand with a non-conference game vs. Central Michigan Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. It will be the fourth team from the Mid-American Conference on the Buckeyes schedule this season. Next weekend, the Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a four-game Big Ten series at Michigan.