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COLUMBUS, Ohio – One team could leave this field an outright Big Ten champion. Two teams could finish tied for a Big Ten title. One could leave knocked out of the Big Ten tournament. That is how important this series is to Ohio State and Minnesota and how crazy the Big Ten race has been in 2010.

Thursday through Friday – two 7 p.m. starts and a 1 p.m. start – Ohio State and Minnesota, the two best programs in the Big Ten over the last 23 seasons – no school can top these two in Big Ten titles, tournament titles or NCAA tournament appearances the last two decades – meet in a series that is as important for each team as any series they’ve played…and they’ve played a bunch. Ohio State and Minnesota have played 160 times since first meeting in 1923 with Minnesota holding a slim, 80-78-2 edge in the all-time series.

This Week in Ohio State Baseball
Ohio State (27-21, 10-11 Big Ten)

Game 49: vs. Minnesota
(25-27, 13-8 Big Ten)
Thursday, May 20 – 7:05 p.m.
Columbus, Ohio

Game 50: vs. Minnesota
Friday, May 21 – 7:05 p.m.

Game 51: vs. Minnesota
Saturday, May 22 – 1:05 p.m.

All Times EDT

TV
All three games of the Minnesota series will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

AUDIO
102.5 FM/OhioStateBuckeyes.com

LIVE STATS
Live stats at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

TODD’S FINAL BIG TEN WEEKEND
Bob Todd will be coaching his final Big Ten series this weekend, and it is against a team in Minnesota that has been the most competitive of any Big Ten team against Todd’s Ohio State teams. Todd has a winning record against every Big Ten team, but his mark is a slim 45-43-1 advantage against John Anderson’s Minnesota squads.

SENIOR DAY SATURDAY
On Saturday eight Buckeye seniors, along with their head coach, will receive a warm sendoff from the Ohio State faithful. Those eight seniors include co-captains Zach Hurley and Cory Kovanda, Eric Best, Ryan Dew, Shawn Forsythe, Chris Griffin, Cory Rupert and Michael Stephens.

TODD REACHES 900 OHIO STATE WINS
Ohio State’s 11-6 Game 3 win over Iowa Sunday represented the 900th Ohio State win for 23rd-year coach Bob Todd. He has 1,024 overall victories.

THE ENTIRE SERIES IS TELEVISED 
The entire series between Ohio State and Minnesota will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. The series runs Thursday through Saturday with game times at 7 p.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

EDGE TO UM IN SERIES WINS
Minnesota has seven series wins over Ohio State against three losses and five ties. Minnesota won the three-game series last year, 2-1, at the Metrodome. Ohio State won the 2008 series at Bill Davis Stadium, 3-1. And the teams split in the regular season in 2007 at Minnesota. Minnesota has series wins in 1990-91-92-03-04-06-09. Ohio State’s wins were in 2001-05-08. 

OHIO STATE LEADS IN TOURNEY WINS
Ohio State has a 17-13 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. Minnesota eliminated Ohio State from the 2009 Big Ten tournament at Huntington Park with a 9-6 win. Head coach Bob Todd’s Buckeye teams are 16-9 vs. Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament.

GOPHERS WIN SERIES LAST YEAR
Ohio State played a Big Ten series against Minnesota indoors at the Metrodome for the first time last season and dropped two of the three games to the Golden Gophers. The series scores: 7-5 UM, 3-2 OSU and 16-3 UM. Minnesota’s win in the Big Ten tourney gave it a 3-1 edge in games last season. Some OSU numbers from the four games:

  • Tyler Engle led the Buckeyes with a .444 average (4-for-9).
  • Pitcher Dean Wolosiansky pitched 5.2 innings and allowed just three hits and one run to pick up the win in Game 2 at the Metrodome.

2,055 WINS
American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coaches Bob Todd (1,024) and  Minnesota’s John Anderson (1,031) have combined for 2,055 victories coming into the series.

OHIO STATE OF LATE
Ohio State is fighting for a Big Ten tournament playoff berth, and to get it the Buckeyes will have to win some games against league-leading Minnesota during its Thursday-Saturday series this week. Ohio State has lost four consecutive Big Ten series – a first in Bob Todd’s tenure – and enters this series in a tie for fifth-place – with four teams – with a 10-11 Big Ten mark. Minnesota is the only team that controls its destiny. The Gophers’ 13-8 record is a game in front of both Michigan and Purdue.

MORE RANDOM NOTES
Dan Burkhart has increased his average from .328 to .361 since April 28…Burkhart has a .468 on-base percentage in 2010 (highest previous was .429 in 2009)… Since April 9, shortstop Tyler Engle has made just three errors in 93 chances for a .968 fielding percentage…Engle is 9-for-23 (.391 average) career vs. Minnesota…Brad Halberg was walked nine times in his last seven games (Four all season before that)…Zach Hurley is 10-for-19 (.526 average) with six walks and nine runs scored during five-game hitting streak…Hurley has 19 2B this season (12 in ’09 previous best)…Hurley also has 7 HR this season after 7 his entire career before this and a .625 slugging percentage this season (previous high was .510 in 2009)…Cory Rupert is 9-for-16 (.563 average) during his four-game hitting streak….Rupert also has a .448 on-base percentage this season (.391 in 2008 was his previous high)…Jared Strayer is 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 26.2 IP over nine appearances since coming back from injury April 25…Strayer had never pitched over 4.0 innings in a game before his May 8 vs. Illinois…Strayer’s first career win vs. Ball State (5/12)…Dean Wolosiansky is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 IP over two career starts vs. Minnesota.

BIG TEN TOURNEY TICKETS ON SALE
Single game tickes for the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held right here at Bill Davis Stadium May 26-30, are on sale through www.ticketmaster.com. Price of the single game tickets are $10 each. All-Tournament passes and group tickets are also available for $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 232-112 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .674 winning percentage.

BOB TODD ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
After 39 years as a baseball coach, Ohio State head baseball coach Bob Todd announced his retirement May 5 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.”

WIMMERS POY QUARTERFINALIST
Alex Wimmers, already named a Golden Spikes Award candidate, has been named by the College Baseball Foundation one of 25 quarterfinalists for the 2010 Pitcher of the Year Award. Wimmers, fifth at Ohio State alltime with 265 career strikeouts, is 9-0 this season with a 1.61 earned run average. He has 78 strikeouts and has allowed just 20 walks and 53 hits in 67.0 innings pitched. He also has two complete games.

ARLIN NAMED TO LEGENDS TEAM
Steve Arlin, the great Ohio State pitcher of the 1960s who led the Buckeyes to two College World Series and to the 1966 CWS championship, has been named to the College World Series Legends Team as part of the commemoration of the final Series in Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.

WIMMERS OPENS 9-0
Ohio State defeated Penn State, 3-1, in Game one of the series April 23 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 45 percent of those trying to steal so far this season (22 of 49).

SITTING THEM DOWN
Junior Alex Wimmers is tied for 14th nationally with nine wins on the season, despite missing his last three starts. The last Buckeye starter to begin a season 9-0 was Scott Lewis in 2003. Wimmers leads the Big Ten ERA (1.61) and opponent batting average (.218) and ranks second in strikeouts (78).

A TEAM EFFORT
Heading into the week, the Buckeyes rank near the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.324, 2nd), slugging percentage (.447, 5th) and on-base percentage (.405, 1st). The Buckeyes have also struck out just 215 times, 37 less than any other Big Ten team.

STAYING FRESH
Zach Hurley leads the Buckeyes and ranks third in the conference with a .394 average. He also sits third in the conference with 19 doubles, third with 82 hits and fourth with a .625 slugging percentage

Dan Burkhart has done his part, ranking second on the team with a .361 batting average. The junior is second in the Big Ten with a .466 on-base percentage and ranks fourth on the team with 37 runs scored.

Outfielder Michael Stephens is the third Buckeye among the Big Ten’s top hitters, ranking seventh in the Big Ten with nine home runs and has a .364 batting average. He has also been hit 12 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 42nd 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…

BUCKEYES TOP BALL STATE
Ohio State picked up the 8-4 win as Jared Strayer earned his first career victory. The redshirt junior tossed five innings, giving up four hits and just one earned run.

BUCKEYES LOSE 2 OF 3 TO ILLINI
Ohio State snapped a five-game losing streak, picking up an 8-4 win in the series finale against Illinois. Ryan Dew went 4-for-5 with five RBI and a run scored in the win.

BUCKEYES DROP TWO TO LOUISVILLE
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.

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.