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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State and Illinois will hook up in key Big Ten Conference series for both teams this weekend at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes are 24-17 overall and in a tie for third-place in the conference standings with an 8-7 record. The Illini are 21-21 overall and in a tie for ninth in the Big Ten with a 6-9 record.

This Week in Ohio State Baseball
Ohio State (24-17, 8-7 Big Ten)

Game 42: vs. Illinois
(21-21, 6-9 Big Ten)
Friday, May 7 – 6:35 p.m.
Columbus, Ohio

Game 43: vs. Illinois
Saturday, May 8 – 1:05 p.m.

Game 44: vs. Illinois
Sunday, May 9 – 1:05 p.m.

All Times EDT

AUDIO
102.5 FM/OhioStateBuckeyes.com

LIVE STATS & STREAMING VIDEO
Live stats and streaming video at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

BOB TODD ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
After 39 years as a baseball coach, Ohio State head baseball coach Bob Todd announced his retirement Wednesday after the team’s game against Louisville. “I think I’m ready,” said Todd. “I always said I wanted a career and not just a job. I think I found that. I still feel good and I love this game because it has been a very enjoyable and prominent part of my life and that of my family, but I have always felt I’d rather leave this game too early than too late.”

ALREADY THIS WEEK
Ohio State lost a two-game series to Top 10 team Louisville: 6-0 and 10-8. After hitting into three double plays with two men on board in Game 1, Ohio State outhit the Cardinals in Game 2, 14-11, and made a game of it after trailing, 7-1, early. Dan Burkhart had his first five-hit day as a Buckeye, including his first home run of the season. Michael Stephens had two hits and two RBI. Zach Hurley had a big two-out RBI and Cory Rupert added a couple of hits and two RBI in support.

Illinois thumped Butler, 19-0, Wednesday in its only game of the midweek. Twelve players contributed to Illinois’ 17-hit attack against the Bulldogs, with CF Willie Argo leading with three hits and C Adam Davis and CF Pat Sheehan driving in three RBI apiece. A combination of five Illini pitchers allowed just four hits and gave up one walk.  

EXPECTED TO START
With Alex Wimmers recovering from a hamstring injury and no timetable set on his return – he was injured April 30 and could be out seven-to-10 days or two-to-three weeks – the Buckeye coaches are expected to start RHP’s Drew Rucinski (4-2; 3.97 ERA) and Dean Wolosiansky (3-6; 5.45) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Illinois is expected to counter with RHP’s Lee Zerrusen (2-4; 5.94) and Kevin Johnson (3-2; 6,14. Neither team has indicated a Sunday starter.

UPCOMING VIDEO BROADCASTS
The entire Illinois series will be carried on the Highway 102.5 FM as well as streamed to OhioStateBuckeyes.com. This is a change of streams:  the series was initially slated to be streamed to BigTenNetwork.com.

OHIO STATE/ILLINOIS SERIES
Ohio State vs. Illinois has always been a competitive series. All-time, Ohio State leads the series, 98-88-2. Ohio State has won the last two series by 2-1 margins (the fourth game in 2008 was cancelled because of weather). The teams have also met in the last two Big Ten tournaments with the Illini claiming a 3-2 win in 2008 and Ohio State winning, 7-4, last year. Ohio State has won four consecutive series over the Illini at Bill Davis Stadium.

 BOB TODD ON THE 2010 BIG TEN RACE
“I don’t think I have seen a Big Ten race that is as close as this one,” Todd said earlier this week. “You have all 10 teams legitimately thinking they can win a Big Ten championship, but the reality is four of those teams aren’t going to even make the Big Ten Tournament.”

SINGLE GAME TOURNEY TICKETS
Speaking of the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held right here at Bill Davis Stadium May 26-30, the conference has announced that single game tickets for the tourney will go on sale Monday, May 10, through www.ticketmaster.com. Price of the single game tickets are $10 each and all are for general admission seating.

ALL-TOURNAMENT PASSES
All-Tournament passes and group tickets to the 2010 Big Ten Baseball Tournament are also available. All-Tournament passes are $100 each. Group tickets (minimum 20) are available for $7 per ticket. All-Tournament and group tickets are available at www.ColumbusSports.org or www.bigten.org.

14th SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
Ohio State is 228-108 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .679 winning percentage.

THE BIG TEN SHUFFLE
Every Big Ten Conference weekend at every Big Ten baseball park for the next three weeks is going to be huge. That’s because only three games separate the current first-place teams – Northwestern and Michigan – from the entire rest of the pack. Entering the series of games this weekend – see page 17 of this program for the lineup of games over the next two weeks – there is a two-way tie for first-place, a three-way tie for third, a three-way tie for sixth and a two-way tie for ninth.

OSU TODAY
The Buckeyes have lost three consecutive games – a first this season – and eight of their last 11, including 2-1 Big Ten series losses to Penn State and Michigan the last two weekends.

WATCH OUT
Buckeye pitchers and catchers will be on the alert every time an Illinois runner is on base. The Illini have stolen 96 bases this season in 119 attempts. Willie Argo is virtually impossible to throw out: he’s succeeded in 34 of 37 attempts. Josh Parr is 20 of 23.

WATCH OUT II
Dan Burkhart is on a tear. The junior catcher is hitting .636 in his current six-game hitting streak (14-for-22). Included is his first home run of the season, hit Wednesday vs. Louisville.

DIAMOND CLUB COOKOUT
The annual Buckeye Diamond Club cookout will be held this Saturday, May 8th, starting at 12 noon on the terrace of the baseball offices at Bill Davis Stadium. Tickets for the game for Diamond Club members will be available at the Ticket Booth outside the main gate. Game time is 1:05.

WIMMERS OPENS 9-0
Ohio State defeated Penn State, 3-1, in Game one of the series as All-American ace Alex Wimmers won his ninth consecutive game to open the season. The terrific junior from Cincinnati’s Archbishop Moeller High School pitched a complete-game four-hitter that included 11 strikeouts. With the win, he ties the school record for the best start to a season that has been done only twice in 127 years of baseball at Ohio State. Doug Swearingen started 9-0 for Ohio State in 1982 and Scott Lewis opened 9-0 in 2003.

OVER THE AIR
Tune in to Highway 102.5 FM (WCVZ) to hear over the air broadcasts of Ohio State baseball. Listen in as veteran baseball announcers Frank Fraas and/or Marty Bannister describe the action with former Buckeyes Bob Spears and Brian Maninno providing color commentary.

Fans can watch Ohio State baseball home games live online this season on Buckeye Vision at OhioStateBuckeyes.com or BigTenNetwork.com. Check the schedule page for listings.

Track the action through Live Stats, available on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Click on the Live Stats link on the main home page in the upper right hand corner or through the baseball schedule page to access.

VOTE FOR CORY KOVANDA
Cory Kovanda has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Nationwide balloting has begun. Fans can vote for Cory on the award’s official Web site at www.seniorCLASSaward.com as well as through text messaging. Text BASEBALL to 74567 to vote for the finalists.

ON SECOND THOUGHT… 
Dan Burkhart has thrown out 43 percent of those trying to steal so far this season (16 of 37).

SITTING THEM DOWN
Junior Alex Wimmers is tied for second nationally with nine wins on the season and is the only starter in the country to win each start. The last Buckeye to starter to begin a season 9-0 was Scott Lewis in 2003. Wimmers leads the Big Ten in strikeouts (78), ERA (1.61) and opponent batting average (.218).

A TEAM EFFORT
Heading into the weekend, the Buckeyes rank near the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.325, 2nd), slugging percentage (.448, 5th) and on-base percentage (.404, 1st). The Buckeyes have also struck out just 204 times, 27 less than any other Big Ten team.

STAYING FRESH
Zach Hurley leads the Buckeyes and ranks fifth in the conference with a .379 average. He also sits second in the conference with 17 doubles, fourth with 69 hits and fifth with a .604 slugging percentage

Dan Burkhart has done his part, ranking third on the team with a .373 batting average. The junior leads the Big Ten with a .476 on-base percentage and ranks second on the team with 34 runs scored.

Outfielder Michael Stephens is the third Buckeye among the Big Ten’s top hitters, ranking sixth in the Big Ten with eight home runs and 10th in batting average (.374). He has also been hit 10 times, more than any other player in the conference.

A GRAND OCCASION
After a 42-win campaign in 2009, Ohio State head coach Bob Todd picked up win No. 1,000 against Richmond Feb. 21 in Jacksonville. The NABC Hall of Famer became the 41st coach in NCAA history to reach 1,000 victories.

BURKHART ON BENCH WATCH LIST
Dan Burkhart was named to the 2010 Johnny Bench Award watch list, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced. The award is given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

WIMMERS ON GOLDEN SPIKES LIST
Ohio State junior right-hander Alex Wimmers was named to the 2010 Golden Spikes Award watch list, USA Baseball announced. The award is given each year to the best collegiate baseball player in the country. The 2010 Golden Spikes Award will be presented live on Tuesday, July 13, at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest in Anaheim, Calif. Wimmers is one of six players on the list who finished among the 30 semifinalists for the award in 2009.

OHIO STATE NATIONALLY RANKED
The Buckeyes garnered Top 25 recognition in almost every preseason poll with a ranking as high as No. 14 (Collegiate Baseball). 

HITTING THE ROAD
The Buckeyes played their first 20 games on the road – 17 in Florida and three in Tennessee – before the home opener against Toledo March 31. In all, 23 of the Buckeyes’ first 24 games were away from home.

BUCKEYES SELECT CAPTAINS
Seniors Zach Hurley and Cory Kovanda were elected 2010 co-captains by their teammates at the Scarlet and Gray World Series victory dinner in October.

SO FAR THIS SEASON…

BUCKS LOSE 2 OF 3 UP NORTH
Ohio State dropped its second consecutive Big Ten Conference series, 2-1, at Michigan over the weekend. The team got admirable pitching performances in the wake of Alex Wimmers’ tweaked hamstring on April 30. The reshuffled lineup limited the Wolverines to a .220 batting average and a 4.15 ERA for the series.

BIG 1ST INNING KEYS W OVER HERD
Ohio State used a five-run first inning to down Marshall, 7-4, April 28 at Bill Davis Stadium. Ohio State starter Brett McKinney tossed five hitless, scoreless innings to pick up the win and even his record at 3-3 on the season.

BUCKS DROP SERIES TO PENN STATE
Ohio State split its first two games with Penn State this past weekend before flirting with lightning and  thunderstorms throughout the day April 25 while trying to get Game three played.  The teams did play around about 60 minutes of weather delays with Penn State claiming a series win with a 14-6 victory.

ZIPS, BANGTSON TOP BUCKEYES
The Akron Zips, coached by former Buckeye assistant coach Pat Bangtson, jumped out to a 4-1 lead and then, after Ohio State tied the score at 4-all in the fifth inning, regained the lead in dramatic fashion in the eighth inning and went on to post a 10-7 win over the Buckeyes April 21 at Bill Davis Stadium. 

CRUCIAL SERIES GOES BUCKS’ WAY
Ohio State went 2-1 in a Big Ten road series at Michigan State. The Buckeyes rode solid pitching from Wimmers to defeat Michigan State, 10-1, April 16. The following day at McLane Stadium, Ohio State came from behind and scored four late runs to defeat the Spartans, 4-3. Ohio State then fell to Michigan State, 14-7, April 18 in the series conclusion.

BUCKEYES TAKE 2 OF 3 VS IU
Ohio State topped Indiana 7-1 April 9 behind a complete game, 14-strikeout performance by Alex Wimmers as the junior right-hander moved to 7-0 on the season. After falling 6-4 in 10 innings April 10, the Buckeyes came back to win the rubber game, 10-8, April 11.

BUCKEYES TOP XAVIER, 12-7
Ohio State scored runs in the first six innings, twice coming back from deficits in the process, and the staff gave up just four earned runs in a 15-7 win over Xavier April 7 before 1,506 at Bill Davis Stadium. Zach Hurley led a 17-hit parade with a home run and a double, three runs scored and three RBI. Ryan Dew had a three-run home run and four total RBI.

OSU TAKES TWO OF THREE AT NW
Behind a strong effort by Alex Wimmers, the Buckeyes dropped Northwestern 11-1 in a Friday matinee. Ohio State lost by an 8-2 count Saturday before coming back and defeating the Wildcats 11-6 in the finale.

BUCKEYES EDGE TOLEDO
Ohio State scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to pick up a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Toledo in the home opener Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.

Eric Best tossed two perfect innings in relief to improve his record to 2-1 on the season while Drew Rucinski pitched a flawless ninth for his fourth save of the season. Dan Burkhart, Cory Kovanda and Ryan Dew each had two hits for the Buckeyes.

BUCKEYES GO 4-3 ON SPRING BREAK
After opening the spring break trip with three consecutive wins over Eastern Illinois, Bucknell and Army, the Ohio State bats struggled to get much going offensivley, dropping three of the last four games on the trip.

OSU DROPS 2 OF 3 IN KNOXVILLE
After losing to Marshall Saturday and dropping a close 5-4 decision to Connecticut in the first game Sunday, the Buckeyes bounced back to defeat Tennessee behind a 10-strikeout performance from Alex Wimmers.

OSU WINS 3 OF 4 IN CLASSIC
After defeating Duquesne Friday and St. Louis in the first game Saturday, the Buckeyes dropped the second game of the doubleheader to the Billikens before defeating Fairleigh Dickinson in the weekend finale Sunday.

BUCKS TAKE 2 OF 3 IN “CHALLENGE”
After coming back to beat South Florida 4-2 Friday in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge, the Buckeyes knocked off Notre Dame 10-2 Saturday before falling to Cincinnati by a final of 12-4 in the weekend finale Sunday afternoon.

STARTING OFF RIGHT
The Buckeyes came through the first weekend unbeaten behind excellent pitching and timely hitting. Ohio State outscored their opponents 40-12. The 40 runs scored were the most in the first three games of the season since 1996. The Buckeyes batted .364 compared to just .254 for opponents and Ohio State pitchers posted a 2.33 ERA while opponents had a 10.73 ERA. Ohio State pitchers struck out 33 batters while walking just seven the opening weekend.

ROUND AND ROUND THEY GO
Eleven Buckeyes scored a run in the 20-9 win over Richmond including six crossing home plate more than once. Junior Matt Streng scored five runs against the Spiders.