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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State hosts Iowa this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a series that will potentially have Big Ten championship implications. The two teams meet at 6:35 p.m. Thursday and Friday nights, respectively, and at 1:05 p.m. Saturday in a game that will conclude the Big Ten and Ohio State regular season.

THIS WEEK IN OHIO STATE BASEBALL

Ohio State (36-15; 15-6/2nd Big Ten Conference)

Game 52 vs. Iowa (16-32; 4-16/9th Big Ten Conference)
Thursday, May 14, 6:35 p.m.

Game 53 vs. Iowa
Friday, May 15, 6:35 p.m.

Game 54 vs. Iowa
Saturday, May 16, 1:05 p.m.

All games at Bill Davis Stadium

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JUSTIN TIME – BIG TEN PoW AWARD
Justin Miller hit .500 last week (9-for-18) including three home runs, six RBI and a 1.056 slugging pct. He hit .667 (8-for-12) to lead the team to its series win over Illinois with two HR and five RBI. He had three hits and two RBI in the Game 3 win and had four hits, three RBI and three runs scored in the Game 2 win. The Big Ten chose him as its Player of the Week.

WEEKEND STARTERS
The probable starting pitchers for the two teams this series should resemble the following order:

G1 Thu. – RHP Alex Wimmers (8-1; 2.75) vs. RHP Nick Brown (2-3; 5.58)
G2 Fri. – RHP Dean Wolosiansky (10-1; 5.35) vs. RHP Phil Schreiber (2-2; 4.46)
G3 Sat. – LHP Eric Best (7-3; 5.28) vs. LHP Jarred Hippen (3-4; 5.08)

SENIORS’ FINAL HOME SERIES
Two-time team captain Justin Miller, Michael Arp and Jake Hale will be honored Saturday prior to the start of the final game of the Iowa series. These three have helped the Buckeyes to a record of 141-86 the past four years, to a Big Ten tournament championship and NCAA berth in 2007 and to a terrific, 36-win senior season so far with more games to play. Here’s more good stuff on these three classy young men:

Arp is having a career year. He has not gone hitless in back-to-back games this year, has hit above .300 all season and has doubled most of his 2008 stats with 34 runs, 62 hits, 12 doubles, four hme runs and 27 RBI.
Miller is Top 3 alltime at Ohio State in career hits (261), doubles (49), at-bats (780) and he is fourth with 170 RBI. He needs two hits for No. 2 in that category and nine RBI for Top 3 RBI stat status.
Hale is nearing all the school saves records. He needs one save to tie the single season record of 14 and he is three away from the career mark of 27. He is the only pitcher with two seasons of 10 or more saves (2007 and 2009).

LAST GAMES
Ohio State dropped to 3-6 in midweek games this season after losing to surging Eastern Michigan, 9-5, Tuesday at Bill Davis Stadium. The Eagles jumped out to a 9-1 lead and held on for the win. Iowa defeated Penn State, 5-3, Sunday in the final game of a series won by Penn State, 2-1. The win snapped a streak of eight consecutive losses in Big Ten play for Iowa. 

FIREWORKS FRIDAY NIGHT
The sky beyond center field will light up Friday night with a post-game fireworks celebration. Thursday night is “Buck-a-Burger” night while supplies last. Saturday Great Clips will be on the grounds for their charity hair cut day.

TODD SEEKING 400th BIG TEN WIN
Ohio State head coach Bob Todd, who needs just nine wins for 1,000 career wins, has 399 Big Ten Conference wins to rank second all-time behind Minnesota’s John Anderson.

ABOUT OHIO STATE
Ohio State, with a record of 36-15 overall and 15-6 in the Big Ten Conference, has itself positioned for, at the very least, its 13th consecutive Big Ten tournament appearance a conference record. The Buckeyes have been nationally ranked since the second week of the season, a span of 12 consecutive weeks. A handful of quick-hitting notes on the Buckeyes:

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in hitting (.330), slugging (.509) and in nine other categories.
The staff’s 5.63 ERA ranks sixth in the Big Ten. Its .282 oppos. average ranks second.
The team is 10-6 at Bill Davis Stadium and 26-9 on the road (away and neutral fields).
Big Ten-only team stats include a .319 batting average and a 4.71 ERA.
Ohio State is 31-1 when leading after the seventh inning; 1-14 when trailing.

THE IOWA HAWKEYES
Iowa comes into the series with a 16-32 overall record and a 4-16 mark in the Big Ten. Although the Hawkeyes won’t be making a return trip to Columbus next week, the team always plays the Buckeyes competitively…and it will this year, too. Evidence is the fact Iowa has won at least one game in every series with Ohio State except one (2003). Hawkeye high five notes include:

The team is coached by 5th year skipper Jack Dahm, who won his 400th game this year.
Iowa ranks seventh in the Big Ten in both batting and slugging (.294 and .431, respectively).
The Hawkeyes have been hit by 72 pitches, a Big Ten high.
The Hawkeyes also lead the league with 73 stolen bases.
Big Ten Top 10 base stealers are Hawkeyes Kurtis Muller (18), Justin Toole (15) and Kevin Hoef (13).

OHIO STATE vs. IOWA
The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes split two games last year in Iowa City; Iowa winning Games 1 and 3 and Ohio State winning Games 2 and 4. Ohio State leads the all-time series with Iowa, 66-43-1 and has won or tied 11 consecutive series. The Buckeyes are 7-0-5 in four-game series with Iowa dating back to the first four-game series between the teams: a 3-1 Iowa win in 1990. A few more series notes:

Coach Bob Todd’s teams are 35-20 vs. Iowa.
Ohio State has won 18 of the last 22 games in the series. 
Ohio State is 4-0-3 in series played in Columbus vs. Iowa.

CHAMPIONSHIP IMPLICATIONS
Ohio State enters the Iowa series in a tie for second place in the Big Ten Conference with Illinois, but the Buckeyes hold the first tie-breaker over the Illini by winning the series in Champaign last weekend…a huge effort by the Scarlet and Gray after losing Game 1 of the series. Both teams are one-half game behind Minnesota. Here’s what has to happen for this Ohio State/Iowa series to have championship implications:

Penn State must win one game from Minnesota. The two teams are playing in State College, Pa. And if this happens…
Ohio State must do its part and win one more game out of the three vs. Iowa than Minnesota and Illinois win in their respective series. Illinois is at Purdue.
And lurking in fourth place, just one game behind Minnesota and one-half game back of Ohio State and Minnesota: Indiana.

SCORING EARLY IS A GOOD THING
Ohio State is 23-3 in games it scores first (13-12 when the opponent tallies first) and 17-3 when scoring in the first inning. 

LEADING AFTER 7 IS GOOD, TOO
Behind terrific work from set-up man Drew Rucinski and closer Jake Hale, Ohio State is 30-3 when leading after the sixth inning and 31-1 when leading after the seventh. However, the team is 2-11 when trailing after the sixth and just 1-14 when trailing after the seventh.

SIX-YEAR HR HIGH
Ohio State has 60 home runs this season, a six-year high. The 2003 team hit 70. Michael Stephens (11), Dan Burkhart and Justin Miller (nine apiece) and Matt Streng (eight) are challenging to become only the second OSU four-some to hit 10 or more home runs apiece.

MORE ON THE TEAM’S POWER
The Buckeyes have 183 extra base hits and are seeking to become only the sixth Ohio State team to top 200 extra base hits and the first in 10 years (the 1999 team had 222). Nine Buckeyes have 10-or-more extra base hits with Michael Stephens (25), Dan Burkhart (24), Zach Hurley and Justin Miller (22 apiece) the chief sluggers.

5-PLUS INNING STARTS: 25-5
Ohio State starting pitchers have pitched into the sixth inning 30 times this season and the Buckeyes have ended up winning 25 of those starts.

TOP 5 IN THE BIG TEN
Buckeyes among the Big Ten’s Top 5 statistical leaders include: Ryan Dew (3rd in hitting); Dan Burkhart (3rd in RBI); Zach Hurley and Michael Stephens (3rd in triples); Alex Wimmers (1st in ERA, opposing batting average and strikeouts); and Jake Hale (1st in saves, appearances and games finished).

Click on the attached Ohio State release for tons more information – stats, bio updates, pre-game meal info – on the Buckeyes and click on the attached Big Ten and Iowa releases, respectively, for additional, additional information relevant to the upcoming games at Bill Davis Stadium.

###OhioStateBuckeyes.com###