COLUMBUS, Ohio Three wins at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge last weekend earned the Ohio State baseball team a national ranking by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and a slew of individual honors with three Buckeyes named to the 18-man all-tournament team, one selected co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and a fourth named honorable mention all-tourney.
Collegiate Baseball, which publishes the longest-running college baseball poll, released its first regular season poll Monday and the Buckeyes were ranked 30th nationally. The Top 30 ranking comes after Ohio State defeated three of the top six teams in the BIG EAST Conference preseason poll: 2-0 over Notre Dame, 6-4 over UConn and 6-5 over Cincinnati. The wins helped the Big Ten win the Challenge, 15 wins to nine.
The Buckeyes came through the tournament unbeaten on the strength of excellent pitching, expert fielding and competitive and opportunistic plate appearances. The pitching staff’s 3.00 earned run average and .232 opponents’ batting average were each second among the 18 teams. The Buckeye fielders led all teams with a .991 fielding percentage (one error in 110 chances). And the offense may have been in the middle of the pack in terms of batting average (.290), but the team’s leadoff hitters reached base 48 percent of the time and they drove in a runner from third base with less than two outs 71 percent of the time.
The three Buckeyes on the all-tournament team included left fielder/designated hitter Ryan Dew (Columbus), starting pitcher Alex Wimmers (Cincinnati) and relief pitcher Drew Rucinski (Broken Arrow, Okla.). Starting pitcher Andrew Armstrong (Bridgewater, Va.) was named to the tournament’s honorable mention list. Rucinski was also chosen as the co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week.
A quick look at the accomplishments of the quartet:
Ohio State will play two road games this weekend against North Florida, 2-2 on the year with two wins over Northern Illinois and two losses vs. Mississippi State, as part of UNF’s Kennel Club Classic. Also competing in the tournament and playing single games against Ohio State will be unbeaten George Mason (4-0) and Connecticut, which went 1-2 at the BIG EAST-Big Ten challenge with losses to Michigan State and the Buckeyes and a 10-1 win over Northwestern.