COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 18 Ohio State, the Big Ten Conference’s top hitting team for the first six weeks of the season, will put the bats to the test this weekend against the Big Ten’s best pitching and fielding team to date – No. 25 Minnesota – in a three-game series that will be contested at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. (Note: the Sunday game location will indeed be the Metrodome, which is a change from the original schedule. Siebert Field, on the UM campus, is not playable. The Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays modified Sunday practice times in the Dome to enable game three of the Buckeyes/Gophers series to be played indoors.)
The Buckeyes will carry a 21-5 record and team batting and slugging stats of .340 and .529 into the 7:35 p.m. (EDT) contest Friday. The teams will meet again at 3:05 p.m. Saturday and – this is a change – at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.
To counter Ohio State, the Golden Gophers, 14-8 and nationally ranked by Baseball America, will present a formidable pitching staff that sports a 4.06 ERA and a .255 opposing batting average, numbers that are backed by a defense that fields at a .973 rate.
STREAMING VIDEO AVAILABLE
All three games of this series will be video streamed to the internet by Minnesota athletics. The stream will be available live online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com through Buckeye Vision, a subscription-based package. Visit OhioStateBuckeyes.com for subscription package information. Minnesota will also be streaming the game to its web site. Since the UM also uses JumpTV as its web hosting service, subscribers to Buckeye Vision will get to view the games.
RADIO BROADCAST INFO
The games will be broadcast by 103.9 WTDA Talk FM with Marty Bannister and Bob Spears calling the action. Outside the WTDA signal? Subscription-based packages to hear audio and watch video of home games are available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
This Weekend in Ohio State Baseball
No. 18 Ohio State (21-5; 2-1 Big Ten Conference)
Game 27: at No. 25 Minnesota
(14-8; 1-1 Big Ten Conference)
Friday, April 3 – 7:35 p.m.
Game 28: at Minnesota
Saturday, April 3 – 3:05 p.m.
Game 29: at Minnesota
Sunday, April 5 – 1:15 p.m.
103.9 WTDA Talk FM
Ohio State has been nationally ranked six consecutive weeks by Collegiate Baseball. This week, the team is ranked 18th. Ohio State is No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, No. 24 in the NCBWA poll and No. 26 by PING! Baseball.
A MIDWEEK SPLIT
Ohio State successfully came back from 4-0, 6-3 and 7-5 deficits to defeat Xavier, 9-7 Tuesday. Dean Wolosiansky pitched 3.0 innings in relief to pick up the win and improve to 5-1. Jake Hale pitched the final two innings for his fifth save of the year and his 13th finished game. Both stats lead the Big Ten Conference. Michael Stephens and Zach Hurley each homered for Ohio State.
Twenty-four hours later there would be no comeback as Marshall built an 11-0 lead and coasted to a 14-3 win behind a 21-hit attack.
MINNESOTA DROPS ONE TO NIU
Minnesota, like Ohio State, dropped a midweek game this week: 9-7 Wednesday to Northern Iowa in the Metrodome after leading at one point, 6-1.
OHIO STATE vs. MINNESOTA
Ohio State and Minnesota have played 156 times since first meeting in 1923 and the two teams are dead even on the basepaths: 77-77-2.
EDGE TO UM IN SERIES WINS
Minnesota has won six series wins over Ohio State against three losses and five ties. The teams split in the regular season in 2007 at Minnesota. The Buckeyes won the series last year, 3-1. Minnesota has series wins in 1990-91-92-03-04-06. Ohio State’s wins were in 2001-05-08.
OHIO STATE LEADS IN TOURNEY WINS
Ohio State has a 17-12 edge in Big Ten tournament wins over Minnesota. Included are 4-2 and 10-9 wins in 2007 in Ann Arbor that helped the Buckeyes win the championship and advance to the NCAA tournament. Head coach Bob Todd’s Buckeye teams are 16-8 vs. Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament.
TODD’S TEAMS UP BY FOUR ON UM
Bob Todd’s Scarlet and Gray teams have a 44-40-1 record against Minnesota.
TODD 24 WINS FROM 1,000
Coach Bob Todd is just 25 wins from 1,000 for his career. He is 976-522-2 in his 26th season.
2nd-BEST PRE-BIG TEN START
Ohio State’s 18-3 record prior to the start of Big Ten play represented the second-best mark heading into the start of Big Ten play for a Bob Todd-coached team. The top pre-Big Ten starts under Todd plus a key season note:
1. 1991* 19-2; School record 52 wins
2. 2009 18-3; 7-1 win at No. 2 Miami
3. 1994* 14-3; Big Ten record 25 wins; 2007* 14-3; Won conf. tour. as 6th seed
5. 2001* 17-4 Big Ten champion
* Years played in the NCAA tournament
A QUICK LOOK AT 21-5 OHIO STATE
Ohio State is 10-3 vs. right-handed starters this season, 11-2 vs. lefties and 18-0 when leading after seven innings (but 0-5 when not leading). The team is also outscoring its opponents by 82 runs (242-160). Here are a few more quick hitting notes on the Buckeyes:
Twenty-one wins in its first 25 games tied the 1991 team for the best 25-game mark.
Ohio State defeated No. 2 Miami at Miami, 7-1, as three pitchers Alex Wimmers, Drew Rucinski and Jake Hale combined on a one-hitter.
Five every day players are hitting .345 or above: Jr. OF/DH Ryan Dew (.409), Jr. LF Zach Hurley (.385), So. C Dan Burkhart (.384), Sr. RF Michael Arp (.350) and Jr. CF Michael Stephens (.345).
The team’s 33 home runs are a five-year Ohio State best.
Eight players have scored at least 20 runs. Hurley (29) Cory Kovanda and Stephens (both with 27) lead.
Hurley leads the Big Ten with 33 RBI. Burkhart is second with 31.
Alex Wimmers and Drew Rucinski are tied for first in the Big Ten in wins. Wimmers is also first in strikeouts (51).
PRODUCTIVE AND POWER HITTING
The team is getting productive and powerful hitting up and down its lineup. Six players have 10 or more extra base hits. The power rangers include:
Zach Hurley 14 off 5 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 4 HRs
M. Stephens 14 off 6 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 6 HRs
Matt Streng 12 off 4 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 5 HRs
Dan Burkhart 12 off 5 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 4 HRs
Cory Kovanda 11 off 7 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 1 HR
Michael Arp 10 off 7 2Bs, 3 HRs
OHIO STATE TAKES 2 OF 3 FROM PSU
Ohio State travelled to State College last weekend and won two of three games. After 8-3 and 12-2 wins in the first two games, the Buckeyes dropped a 15-11 decision on get-away day on Sunday. Here’s more on the weekend:
Dean Wolosiansky pitched 7.0 innings in G1 to pick up the win..
Eric Best pitched a career-best 6.0 innings in the G2 win.
Cory Kovanda, behind a four-hit day in G3, led the team in hitting at .571 (4-for-7).
Ryan Dew had four hits in G2 and led the team with seven hits in 14 at-bats (.500).
Zach Hurley hit .400 (6-for-15) and led with six runs scored.
Matt Streng hit two HRs in G2 and tied for the lead (with Michael Stephens) with seven RBI. Streng was second with five runs.
The team fielded at a .983 rate (78-36-2).
MICHIGAN STATE ON TAP
Ohio State hosts Michigan State next weekend at Bill Davis Stadium. Minnesota will host Northwestern.
For stats and more on the Ohio State vs. Minnesota series, click on the attached pdf.