COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University baseball team travels to College Station, Texas this weekend to play in the Dominos Pizza Baseball Classic. The Buckeyes will first play Texas A&M on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. After the first match-up with the Aggies, Ohio State will face Louisiana Tech at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and conclude the weekend with a game against Arkansas at noon Sunday.
The trip marks Ohio State’s first appearance in the early season tournament at Texas A&M since 2000. In that tournament, Ohio State finished 3-3, splitting two games apiece against Texas A&M, Central Michigan, and Oregon State. Last season, Texas A&M won the tournament title with a 3-1 record against a field of teams that included Oregon State, New Mexico, and Saint Louis.
Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0)
38-24, 15-15 Big Ten (2007)
At the Dominos Pizza Baseball Classic
February 29-March 2, 2008
C.E. “Pat” Olsen Field
College Station, Texas
Game 1: vs. Texas A&M
(2-2 in 08; 48-19, 13-13 Big 12 in 07)
Friday, Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m. ET
Webcast: Free thru CSTV at www.aggieathletics.com
Game 2: vs. Louisiana Tech
(3-0 in 08; 35-24, 14-10 WAC in 07)
Saturday, Mar. 1, 1:30 p.m. ET
Game 3: vs. Arkansas
(3-0 in 08; 43-21, 18-12 SEC in 07)
Sunday, Mar. 2, Noon ET
TV: Cox Sports Televsion
Opp. records do not include mid-week games
Live Stats for all Three Games
BUCKEYES START 3-0
For the first time since 2002, the Buckeyes are off to a 3-0 start, winning the Service Academies Spring Classic last weekend in Millington, Tenn. Ohio State defeated Arkansas State, 7-3, to open the tournament on Friday. The Buckeyes beat Memphis, 1-0, on Saturday behind strong pitching performances from junior J.B. Shuck and freshman Alex Wimmers. On Sunday, Ohio State captured the tournament title with a 6-5 victory over Seton Hall. Pitching was the story of the tournament, as the Buckeyes posted a sparkling 1.33 team ERA over the three games. Junior Justin Miller was named MVP of the tournament, leading the Buckeyes with a .500 average (6-for-12 with four doubles) and four RBI including the game-winner vs. Memphis.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M
Friday’s game against Texas A&M will be the 16th meeting between the Buckeyes and Aggies. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 9-6. The game will also be a re-match of last year’s NCAA tournament game on June 3 at the College Station Regional, won by Texas A&M, 10-4. Head coach Rob Childress’s squad returns six starters and 13 pitchers from last year’s team that finished 48-19 overall, won the Big 12 Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional Round. The 48 wins was a 23-game improvement over 2006, marking the largest turnaround in wins in NCAA Division I baseball history. Returning to provide power in the lineup is senior second baseman Blake Stouffer, who led the team with a .398 average, 12 home runs, and 85 runs batted in. Also returning is junior Luke Anders (.336, 11 HR and 46 RBI in 2007). Last year’s entire outfield also returns for the Aggies, led by junior centerfielder Kyle Colligan (.284, 10 HR, 37 RBI). Texas A&M’s top returning pitcher is sophomore right-hander Scott Migl (7-3, 3.77 ERA in 2007). Last weekend, the Aggies split four games at home against Northern Colorado to begin their 2008 season.
A LOOK AT LOUISIANA TECH
Saturday afternoon the Buckeyes will face off against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs who have won two of three previous meetings against the Buckeyes, including the most recent match-up, a 9-7 win Feb. 28, 1998. Last season, Louisiana Tech just missed the NCAA tournament, finishing 35-24 with a 14-10 record in Western Athletic Conference play. Returning for the Bulldogs is towering right-handed junior pitcher Luke Burnett, who led the WAC in strikeouts with 115 in 2007. Also returning is junior pitcher Dylan Moseley, who led the staff with a 7-4 record and 4.07 ERA last season. First baseman Albie Goulder is the team’s leading returning hitter, batting .323 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI a year ago. In the outfield, senior Adam Cobb returns to man center field after hitting .284 with three homers in 2007. Jericho Jones (.297 with 5 home runs and 36 RBI in 2007) returns in right field and will also be expected to earn a spot in the starting rotation. Jones is expected start Saturday’s game against Ohio State. The Bulldogs are off to a 3-0 start to the 2008 season, outscoring McNeese State 44-6 in a three-game series sweep last weekend.
THE ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Rounding out the weekend is a game Sunday against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be the first ever meeting between the Razorbacks and the Buckeyes. A season ago, Arkansas was the one of the top baseball teams in the country, finishing with a 43-21 overall record and winning the SEC West with an 18-12 conference record. Head coach Dave Van Horn returns for his sixth season with an inexperienced team that lost its entire starting rotation and all-time home run leader from a year ago. Third baseman Logan Forsythe leads the Hogs’ offense after hitting a team-best .347 last season with nine home runs and 55 RBI. The team’s weekend rotation will feature two true freshmen and veteran right-hander Shaun Seibert, who looks to make a successful recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Razorbacks are coming off a three-game sweep of Wright State to start the 2008 season.
SHUCK EARNS PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Ohio State junior pitcher/utility player J.B. Shuck was selected as the Big Ten Conference’s initial 2008 Pitcher of the Week for his standout performance in Ohio State’s 1-0 win over Memphis Saturday in the Service Academies Spring Classic. The honor marks the first time since 2000 that a Buckeye pitcher has been honored by the conference to open the season. Shuck struck out a career-high nine batters, scattered just two hits and had only two walks in the effort against a Memphis team that made an appearance in the 2007 NCAA tournament.
SERVICE ACADEMY CLASSIC RECAP
The Buckeyes began their season last weekend by winning the Service Academies Spring Clasic in Millington, Tenn. with three tightly contested victories.
Game 1: Senior captain Dan DeLucia pitched well in his first competitive action in nearly a year while his brother, Brian DeLucia, and J.B. Shuck combined for seven hits and four runs scored to carry the Buckeyes to a season-opening, 7-3 victory over Arkansas State.
Game 2: Shuck, the starter, and true freshman Alex Wimmers made a single run in the first inning stand up by shutting down the Memphis offense to preserve Ohio State’s 1-0 win.
Game 3: Junior captain Justin Miller drove home the winning run with an eighth-inning double his fourth double of the tournament that enabled Ohio State to win the Service Academies Spring Classic with a 6-5 victory over Seton Hall.
SIX FRESHMEN SEE FIRST ACTION
Coach Bob Todd did not hestitate to initiate freshmen in the team’s first weekend. Six freshmen, including five true freshmen, saw action in Memphis. Ryan Meade made two starts at first base and one at DH. Dan Burkhart started twice at catcher. Tyler Engle started once at second. Dean Wolosianski, Alex Wimmers and Drew Rucinski all pitched in relief. Wolosianski is a red-shirt frosh while the other five are true freshmen.
BUCKS HIT MODEST .264
Although Ohio State, as a team, hit a modest .264 during the three-game tournament last weekend, coach Bob Todd wasn’t overly concerned with the effort considering it was the first time since October the players had seen live pitching on a real field. Brian DeLucia (1.000; 5-for-5), Justin Miller (.500; 6-for-12 with four RBI) and J.B. Shuck (.400; 4-for-10) led the Buckeye hitters.
Three hitters – Justin Miller, Ryan Dew and Tony Kennedy have hit safely in each of the first three games. Miller has a nine-game hitting streak that includes last year’s three NCAA regional games that Ohio State played at C.E. “Pat” Olsen Field. He also hit safely in the final three Big Ten tournament games.
THE VIEW FROM THE MOUND
It was a solid first weekend for the Buckeye pitchers, under the direction of first-year pitching coach Eric Parker. The Buckeye pitchers came through the weekend with a staff earned run average of 1.33 and gave up just walks while striking out 21. Some individual highlights:
Sophomore Brian DeLucia, vs. Arkansas State, and junior Michael Arp, vs. Seton Hall, cracked their first collegiate home runs over the weekend. Last year Ohio State did not hit its second home run until the fifth game of the season and the third didn’t come until the 10th game. The team hit only 21 homers all season.
4th 3-0 START FOR BUCKEYES
Although Ohio State baseball has been the best in the Big Ten in the Bob Todd era with 14 combined Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, 12 NCAA tournament berths and an average of 40 victories per season, the team’s 3-0 start marks only the fourth such start in Todd’s 21 seasons. The other years Ohio State started 3-0: 2002, 1997 and 1991. Perhaps this universal starting date is already working.
Please see the attached PDF for more notes and a complete statistical package on the Ohio State Buckeyes.