April 29, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team (34-7, 15-1), after sweeping a pair of midweek games against non-conference opponents, returns to Big Ten action this weekend as Purdue (20-22, 7-9) visits for a four game series. The Buckeyes and Boilermakers will meet Friday at 6:35 p.m., Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m., and Sunday in the series finale at 1:05 p.m. All games will be played in charming Bill Davis Stadium (4,450).
Games one and four of the Ohio State-Purdue series will be televised on Central Ohio Sport! Televsion. The channel, created through a parternship between Insight Communications (Ch. 36) and Time Warner Communications (Ch. 24), reaches more than 300,000 households in the central Ohio area. Friday’s game will air on a tape delay basis on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Sunday’s game will also be tape-delayed, and will air Tuesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Randy Rhinehart will call the action with former Major Leaguer Larry Owen providing color commentary. WOSU Radio (820 AM) will air games one, two, and four of this weekend’s series live with the tandem of Herb Howenstine and Frank Fraas calling all the action.
BEST HOME START EVER
With a win over Cleveland State Wednesday, Ohio State secured its best start ever in home games. The Buckeyes have won their first 14 games in Bill Davis Stadium this year, and broke the previous record of 13-0 at home to start the season held by the 1984 team. OSU is now 54-13 all-time in Bill Davis Stadium.
TIES BEST EVER STRETCH WITH ONE LOSS
With one more win, the Buckeyes will set a school record for the longest stretch of games with only one loss. Ohio State has now won 27 of its last 28 games, tying a stretch of the same length accomplished by the 1994 team. OSU has lost just once in the last 41 days.
OHIO STATE IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes continued to climb in the national polls this week. OSU jumped two spots and is No. 14 in the Baseball America poll. The Buckeyes moved ahead four spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll and are now ranked 19th. Ohio State is now No. 18 in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll, after being No. 25 last week.
THIRD BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE
The Buckeyes own the nation’s third highest winning percentage at .829. OSU trails only Florida Atlantic and Rice in terms of winning percentage. Ohio State also has the second fewest losses (seven) of any ranked team in the nation. Only Florida Atlantic has fewer losses than the Buckeyes (four).
Not only has OSU won 27 of its last 28 games, but the Buckeyes have also captured 13 consecutive victories, tying for the fourth longest winning streak in school history. The 1999 Buckeyes are one of only three teams in school history to own two seperate winning streaks of at least 10 games. Listed below are the longest single-season winning streaks in school history. Amazingly enough, two of them have occurred during the 1999 season.
Streak Year Dates 20 1994 4/23 – 5/20 15 1970 4/18 – 5/23 14 1999 3/21 – 4/10 13 1984 3/31 – 4/14 13 1999 4/11 – Pres.
OSU’S LAST ACTION
Ohio State scored eight runs in the first three innings and never looked back, cruising to a 12-8 victory over Cleveland State Wedneday night. Mike Lockwood went 3-5 with two RBI for OSU, while Matt Middleton doubled twice in three at-bats and drove in four runs. Brandon Steen was credited with the win in a game where OSU used five pitchers. Nate Smith (two scoreless innings) and Kurt Fullenkamp (two and two-thirds scoreless innings) were the most effective Buckeye hurlers. OSU ripped 14 hits in the game, and the Ohio State pitching staff recorded 10 strikeouts.
Mike Lockwood five games
PURDUE SERIES HISTORY
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Purdue, 108-47-1. The Buckeyes have won six consecutive games over the Boilermakers. The last Purdue win in the series came on May 19, 1995 in the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus. In last year’s series, Ohio State swept a four-game series with Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. Jason Trott led OSU in that series by going 7-13 with seven RBI.
SCOUTING THE BOILERMAKERS
Purdue comes to Columbus with a 20-22 overall mark and a 7-9 mark (fifth place) in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers played just one mid-week game last week, shutting out Xavier 6-0 at home. Purdue has been one of the hotter teams in the conference recently, winning nine of its last 11 games, including six of its last eight in the Big Ten. Erik Frei leads Purdue with a .345 average. Switch-hitting infielder Daryl Hallada, the 1998 Purdue Most Valuable Player, is hitting .343 and leads the team with 61 hits and 16 doubles. In all games, Purdue ranks sixth in the Big Ten in hitting but last in pitching. Opponents are hitting .308 off the Boilermaker pitching staff.
BIG WEEKEND FOR COACH TODD
Ohio State head coach Bob Todd will attempt to win the 600th game of his career this weekend. Todd stands 597-312-1 in his 16 years as a college baseball coach, with 473 of those wins coming at Ohio State. Todd also needs just six wins to become the winningest baseball coach ever at OSU (surpassing Marty Karow’s 478 career victories.)
A LOCK TO HIT
Mike Lockwood owns Ohio State’s longest current hitting streak at five games. Lockwood is hitting .444 over the streak (8-18) and has five RBI. His longest hitting streak of the year is nine games, and the longest of his career is 14 games, set in 1997.
Two OSU players set or tied career highs in the Cleveland State game Wednesday. Catcher Chris Alvord drove in two runs and collected two hits – both of which set new career marks for him. Jason Turner tied a career high by scoring three runs against the Vikings.
Freshman Joe Wilkins got two starts last week and went a combined 4-7 with three RBI and three runs scored. The starts were the second and third of Wilkins career.
HOT TO TROTT
Jason Trott has been swinging an extremely hot bat of late for OSU. Trott has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games, and is batting .368 in his last five games. Trott has climbed into third place in the Big Ten in hitting, trailing only teammates Chad Ehrnsberger and Trent McIlvain.
Long reliever Kurt Fullenkamp continues to impress after a shaky start. Fullenkamp, the third winningest pitcher in OSU history in terms of percentage, worked two and two-thirds scoreless innings against Cleveland State, striking out three. Fullenkamp has surrendered just one run in his last five outings, which have gone for a combined six and two-thirds innings. He also collected his second win of the season during that stretch.
HOME RUN CHATTER
OSU has now failed to hit a home run in six consecutive games, marking the longest homer-less stretch of the 1999 season. The last Buckeye dinger came on April 21, 1999 against Wright State. Despite not hitting a home run in the last six games, Ohio State has gone 6-0 in those games.
Nate Smith struck out two in two innings of work Wednesday against Cleveland State. Smith is the only OSU pitcher that has more strikeouts than innings pitched. He has fanned 40 in 38.1 innings of work.
NEVER SAY DIE
The Buckeyes came from behind to win against Dayton this week. The Buckeyes have now come from behind to win 14 times overall this season, including eight times in their last 12 games. In 15 Big Ten wins this year, OSU has been forced to come-from-behind seven times (47 percent of the time).
STICKS ARE BACK ON TRACK
Ohio State outhit Cleveland State 15-12 Wednesday night. Prior to that game, OSU had been outhit in four of the last five games. Ohio State is now 22-0 when outhitting its opponent.
LET’S TALK LARATTA
E.J. Laratta has put together three impressive starts in the last 13 days. Combined, Laratta has gone 19 innings and surrendered just four earned runs. He has also struck out 16 in that span and collected two complete games and a shutout.
THERE’S A NEW LEAGUE LEADER
Cory Cox picked up his seventh save of the season against Penn State and now is tied for the league lead with Northwestern’s Ryan Box. Cox has allowed just four runs in his last nine appearances. He also has four saves in his last seven appearances.
LUCKY NO. 20
Ohio State scored 12 runs against Cleveland State, marking the 20th time this season OSU has scored in double-figures. The Buckeyes have also scored 10 or more runs in nine of their last 13 games.
BIG TEN LEADERS
In Big Ten games…..Ohio State leads the league in hitting (.340), ranks second in pitching (5.46), and ranks first in fielding (.982). OSU owns the top three hitters in the league – Chad Ehrnsberger (.436), Trent McIlvain (.436), and Jason Trott (.426). Kevin Goodrum leads the league in earned run average (2.75). Mike Lockwood is tied for the league lead with 22 runs scored, and is also tied with OSU’s Jason Driscoll for the league lead in triples (3).
CAN TROTT THREEPEAT
Trott became the first player since Indiana’s Mike Smith (1991-.476, 1992-.472) to win back-to-back batting titles. Trott posted a .426 average for the 1998 regular season and claimed the crown in 1997 with a .418 mark. Wisconsin’s Rick Reichardt is the only other player to win consecutive titles when he posted season bests in 1963 (.429) and 1964 (.472). No player has ever claimed three conference batting titles.
Fry and Lockwood were named to Collegiate Baseball’s preseason All-America third team. Fry was a first team preseason selection in 1998. Freshman pitcher Smith was named a first team top freshman by Baseball America.
Season box seats went on sale March 1 and individual game tickets were made available March 22. Contact the OSU Athletic Ticket Office for more details (1 800-GO-BUCKS). The ticket office is now located in The Jerome Schottenstein Center
ONE OF THE TOP TEAMS OF THE 90s
With it’s 372-168-1 record over the past nine seasons, Ohio State is ranked the 12th winningest team of the 1990s with a .689 winning percentage. The Buckeyes are the only Big Ten Conference school among the top 25. Wichita State leads the pack with a 484-130-0 (.788) mark since the 1990 season.
PREDICTED BIG TEN FINISH
According to the Baseball America college preview, Ohio State is predicted to finish third in the Big Ten behind Minnesota and Illinois. All three squads are expected to receive NCAA tournament bids and Fry, Lockwood and Trott are preseason all-Big Ten selections. The Big Ten is ranked the sixth-best conference in the nation this year.
Predicted final Big Ten standings according to Baseball America 1. Minnesota 19-9 42-21 2. Illinois 19-5 42-21 3. Ohio State 18-9 45-15 4. Michigan 9-15 21-27 5. Penn State 15-11 28-24 6. Purdue 9-18 23-29 7. Indiana 14-14 29-27 8. Northwestern 10-18 27-26 9. Michigan State 8-16 25-27 10. Iowa 9-15 19-27
The Ohio State baseball program has had a new treat each season for the past two years. In 1997, it was the opening of the stadium itself. Last year it was the lights for night contests, a batter’s eye in centerfield and the matrix scoreboard for animation. This year, expanded seating is the name of the game as the Buckeye venue maintains its spot as one of the premier college ball-parks. With the addition of bleacher seating down both foul lines, the stadium capacity has increased to 4,450, making it a probable choice for NCAA Regional competition. Permanent batting cages are also being constructed on the third base side.
THE RECORD WATCH
Career Batting Average 1. Jason Trott .404 2. Dan Seimetz (1995-98) .370 3. Alex Eckelman (1994-97) .367 4. Robby Cobb (1980-83) .363 5. Brian Mannino (1992-95) .362
Career Wins 1. Justin Fry 31 2. Pete Perini (1947-50) 30 3. Scott Klingenbeck (1990-92) 28 Tom Schwarber (1987-91) 28
Career Innings Pitched 1. Justin Fry 375.1
Career Strikeouts 1. Justin Fry 335