COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State hits the road Thursday afternoon for the second of five Florida trips to open the season. This weekend Ohio State competes Friday through Sunday at the University of North Florida’s (UNF) Kennel Club Classic.
Ohio State will play host North Florida twice – at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights – with games against George Mason at 3 p.m. Saturday and Connecticut at 11 a.m. Sunday. All four games will be at Harmon Stadium on the campus of UNF. Visit unfospreys.com for stadium location and everything Osprey.
Fri. v UNF – LHP A. Armstrong (1-0; 0.00) vs. TBA
Sat. v GMU – RHP A. Wimmers (1-0; 0.00) vs. RHP Kevin Crum (1-0; 0.00)
Sat. v UNF – RHP D. Wolosiansky (0-0; 10.38) vs. TBA
Sun. v UConn – RHP R. Oltorik (0-0; 0.00) vs. LHP Greg Nappo (1-0; 0.00)
OHIO STATE NATIONALLY RANKED
The Buckeyes, on the strength of a 3-0 start to the season at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area last weekend, have entered the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll at No. 30 this week.
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COACHES: 90 YEARS; 3,037 WINS
The four coaches in the Kennel Club Classic have been head coaches for a combined 90 years and they total 3,037 wins. Two of them – Ohio State’s Bob Todd and North Florida’s Dusty Rhodes – were enshrined together in the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame this January. A snapshot of the skippers:
UNF’s Dusty Rhodes – 30th year; 1,161 wins;
GMU’s Bill Brown – 28th year; 757 wins;
OSU’s Bob Todd – 26th year; 958 wins;
UConn’s Jim Penders – 6th year; 161 wins.
CLASSIC QUICK FACTS
No. 30 Ohio State is 3-0 with wins over Notre Dame, Connecticut and Cincinnati … George Mason is 4-0 with a win over So. Carolina Upstate, two wins over UNC-Asheville and a win over SIU Edwardsville … North Florida has two wins over Western Illinois and a pair of losses to Mississippi State (at Starkville, Miss.) … Connecticut dropped games to Michigan State and Ohio State at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge and defeated Northwestern.
SEEKING FIRST 4-0 START SINCE ’91
Ohio State will be seeking its first 4-0 start in 19 years, or since the 1991 team started 8-0 on its way to a school-record 52-win season. The 2002 team started 3-0 but tied Mississippi State, 6-6, for a 3-0-1 record after four games. The 2002 team went 6-0-1 before its first loss. The tie with Mississippi State was the result of Ohio State’s travel plans. The game ended after the eighth inning. It was Mississippi State’s first tie in 1,642 games dating to the 1973 season.
A BOLD START TO THE SEASON
Three wins at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge earned Ohio State its national ranking and a slew of individual honors. Three Buckeyes were named to the 18-man all-tournament team, one was selected co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and a fourth was named honorable mention all-tourney. Making the all-tournament team were LF/DH Ryan Dew, starting pitcher Alex Wimmers and relief pitcher Drew Rucinski. Starting pitcher Andrew Armstrong 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 four players:
Dew had the third highest batting average at the 18-team tournament as he went 6-for-10 (.600) with two runs scored. He had hits in all three games including a career-high four hits in the 6-4 win over Connecticut.
Wimmers, making his first collegiate start, pitched 6.0 innings of no-run ball to pick up his first collegiate win in the 2-0 victory over Notre Dame. He struck out seven, walked two and scattered six hits.
Rucinski picked up the save against Notre Dame and the win vs. Cincinnati by pitching a combined 6.1 innings in the two tense games without allowing a run. He gave up only three hits, struck out six, walked one and allowed opposing batters to hit just .143 in the two games.
Armstrong pitched a career-long 6.2 innings and didn’t allow a run while scattering three hits, striking out five and walking two in the 6-4 win over UConn. He limited the Huskies to a batting average of .136, the fifth-lowest average of all pitchers at the tournament.
IT ALSO SHOULD BE NOTED THAT…
Cory Rupert and Brian DeLucia led the way with three runs scored last week and DeLucia led with two home runs and six RBI. Zach Hurley hit .444 and had a huge, three-run triple in the 6-4 win over UConn. Catcher Dan Burkhart had a pair of triples and two RBI. Rupert, Burkhart, Ryan Dew and Justin Miller each had hits in all three games.
HALE TIED FOR 12TH IN SAVES
Jake Hale pitched 1.1 innings of effective relief in the tense, 6-5, win over Cincinnati to record his 12th career save. He is now tied with Brandon Steen and Chad Hale on the Ohio State career saves list.
ULTIMATELY, IT WAS A TEAM EFFORT
The Buckeyes came through the tournament unbeaten behind excellent pitching, expert fielding and competitive and opportunistic hitting. 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 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.
A LOOK AT THE OSPREYS
Ohio State’s first road games of the season will come against North Florida. The two teams have played eight times with Ohio State winning six, including two in Columbus in 2007. The Ospreys led Mississippi State, 7-5, going into the B9 Sunday before losing 9-7. CF Brian Wilson leads with a .444 avg. with 1B Ryan Puskar hitting .357 with nine RBI. The staff ERA is 5.24. John Atteo went the distance in a 9-3 win over Northern Illinois.
FIRST OF SIX FIRSTS! OSU vs. GMU
George Mason is the first of six teams Ohio State will be playing for the first time in baseball. The others: Hartford, UMBC, North Dakota State, Rhode Island and SIU Edwardsville. The GMU Patriots are 4-0 after an 8-7 win over SIU-E Sunday. This marks the third time in school history the team has started 4-0. The Patriots are hitting .333 as a team led by IF Ryan Soares (.500) and C/OF Chris Henderson (.474). The staff sports a 2.25 ERA with 21 Ks and 10 BBs.
OHIO STATE vs. UCONN
Ohio State and UConn have met seven times previously and Sunday will be the second meeting in eight days. Ohio State won, 6-4, last week in Clearwater behind the pitching of Andrew Armstrong and big hits from Zach Hurley (three-run triple) and Brian DeLucia (two-run double). The Bucks lead the series, 5-2. RHP Dan Mahoney is ranked by Baseball America as the seventh-best prospect for the 2009 MLB Draft in the BIG EAST. RF Matt Burnett and SS Mike Olt are hitting .462 and .455, respectively.
For more notes, season stats, special stats, probable starters and numerous nuggets on the Buckeyes, click on the attached pdf link.