Feb. 17, 2016
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – It’s finally the return of college baseball. The Ohio State baseball team begins its 133rd season this weekend as the squad travels to Vero Beach, Fla., for four games beginning Friday as part of the Inaugural Historic Dodgertown Treasure Coast DI Classic. The Buckeyes face Toledo at 1 p.m. Friday, Niagara at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Pittsburgh at 6 p.m. and a second matchup vs. the Rockets at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
All four contests will be played at legendary Holman Stadium, a facility served to the Brooklyn-now-Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training home for more than 60 years.
The 2016 Buckeyes return 20 letterwinners from a season ago, including six starting position players and three starting pitchers. 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Tanner Tully is back on the mound for his third Buckeye campaign, while redshirt sophomore Adam Niemeyer, a 2015 Big Ten All-Freshmen, selection, senior John Havird and freshman Ryan Feltner round out the starting four-game weekend rotation. 2015 Second Team All-Big Ten junior outfielder Troy Montgomery and classmate outfielder Ronnie Dawson, a 2014 Freshman All-American, also return for the Scarlet and Gray, a squad which includes an experienced and talented 10-member senior class.
ON THE BUMP
TOLEDO: LHP Tanner Tully (4-4, 4.32 ERA in ’15) vs. LHP Steven Calhoun (7-5, 2.86 ERA)
NIAGARA: RHP Adam Niemeyer (2-0, 2.16 ERA) vs. RHP Daniel Procopio (0-2, 5.40 ERA)
PITT: LHP John Havird (4-0, 3.58 ERA) vs. RHP T.J. Zuech (5-6, 3.87 ERA)
TOLEDO: RHP Ryan Feltner (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Slack (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Tickets can be purchased at the Historic Dodgertown Hotel Registration Office in advance, and at Holman Stadium on event days.Daily admission allows for all games that day.
Friday and Sunday: $7 per person each day
Saturday: $12 per person
All Tournament Pass: $25
KIDS: $3 each day
FOLLOW THE ACTION
GameTracker links can be found by going to the schedule page of Ohio State Baseball on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Fan can also follow the action on twitter via @OhioState_BASE. There will be no live stream available at the Historic Dodgertown Classic.
A PLACE OF GREATNESS
Some of the best players to ever play the game stepped on the dirt at Holman Stadium every spring training. The Los Angeles Dodgers called the ball park home from 1953-2008. Baseball legends like Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Roy Campanella, Steve Garvey and Ron Cey began the start to their baseball careers in Vero Beach.
Previously an abandoned Naval base, the organization agreed to a five-year lease of the land for a grand total of $1.00 a year naming it “Dodger Town” Although in the first year the base was used only for minor league players, the Dodgers then spent the next 60 years of spring training in Vero Beach before moving to Glendale, Ariz. in 2009, but not before leaving behind many lasting memories of America’s pastime.
A LOOK AT TOLEDO
Toledo tallied a 25-33 overall mark and went 16-11 in the MAC in 2015. The Rockets’ squad featured five all-conference selections including four returning players; All-MAC first team and defensive player of the year shortstop Deion Tansel, All-Mac first team left-hander Steven Calhoun, All-MAC second team first baseman Dalton Bolinger and MAC freshman of the year A.J Montoya. The Rockets finished the year on a strong note winning seven out of nine conference series, including the last six in a row.
Ohio State leads in the all-time series vs. Toledo, 28-7, with 21 straight wins over the Rockets. Last time out, Ohio State took down Toledo, 9-2, March 24. The offense scattered 11 hits led by Craig Nennig who had two RBI and a run scored. Ronnie Dawson also had a pair of hits, while Troy Kuhn homered vs. the Rockets.
Niagara completed the 2015 season with a 13-32-2 overall record and 8-16 in MAAC play. The Purple Eagles landed three players on the All-MAAC second team and two return in 2016, including sophomore infielder Tanner Kirwer and senior infielder Michal Fuhrman.
This will be the first meeting between the Buckeyes and the Purple Eagles, as they meet in the second game of the Historical Dodgertown Classic.
SNEAK PEAK AT PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh finished 2015 with a 20-32 overall record highlighted by wins over No. 1 Virginia and No. 11 North Carolina The Panthers return 12 total starters to their roster including junior starting pitcher T.J Zeuch, who was named the No. 7 rated prospect and No. 4 pitcher on D1Baseball’s top prospect’s list for the 2016 MLB Draft . Sophomore infielder Charles LeBlanc also is back after leading Pitt with 57 hits in 2015 as a true freshman.
Ohio State is 19-1 all-time vs. Pittsburgh and has won the last four contests, including a 20-3 win in West Palm Beach, Fla., during the 2009 campaign. Last season, the Buckeyes defeated Pittsburgh, 8-0, at the 2015 Snowbird Classic to open the season. Craig Nennig had a career day at the plate vs. Pitt, going 4-for-4 with a double and run scored, while Nick Sergakis was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored.
Troy Montgomery NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Ohio State junior outfielder Troy Montgomery was named a 2016 preseason third team All-American, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced Feb. 2. Montgomery joins Michigan utility player Carmen Benedetti, Maryland pitcher Mike Shawaryn and Minnesota utility player Matt Fielder as Big Ten standouts on the list.
The Buckeye centerfielder had a breakout year in 2015, batting .317 with 54 runs scored, 12 doubles, six triples, four home runs and a conference-best 35 stolen bases, which tied the OSU single-season record.
ON THE ROAD
Ohio State plays its first 15 games on the road in 2016. The Buckeyes open the season with a trip down to Vero Beach, Fl. from Feb. 19-21 to play in the Historic Dodgertown Classic and face off against Toledo, Niagara and Pittsburgh. Their next action will be at the Caravelle Resort Baseball at the Beach Feb. 26-29 in in Myrtle Beach, S.C. hosted by Coastal Carolina. The Scarlet and Gray will play against Duke, Liberty and Coastal Carolina twice. The Buckeyes then finish tournament play in sunny Port Charlotte, Fla. where they will participate in the 2016 Snowbird Classic March 4-6 and square up with Seton Hall, Illinois State and Boston College. Ohio State will close out the opening month of the season with six-night, four-game series trip to Las Vegas, Nev., to play against UNLV March 11-15.
TRIO OF JUNIORS NAMED TO B1G WATCH LIST
Ohio State juniors Tanner Tully, Ronnie Dawson and Troy Montgomery were named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List, the conference announced Jan. 29. Dawson, who was named the fall series MVP, is ranked No. 121 Prospect by D1Baseball, while Montgomery, the fall season MVP, is also listed at No. 110. Tully was the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and allowed the fifth-fewest walks in the Big Ten last season.
“We’ve got great leadership on this ball club, but these two guys exemplify this team and the things we are looking to accomplish.” Beals said of the selection.
Sergakis, a Columbus, Ohio native, has appeared in 95 games, starting in 88 contests the past two seasons for the Scarlet and Gray. The OSU infielder has a .281 career batting average to go along with 37 RBI, 17 doubles, two home runs and nine steals. Washington, from Twinsburg, Ohio, was named most improved player of the fall season and earned the starting catcher job after being a utility player for his first two years as a Buckeye. He has made six starts in 22 career appearances.
Ohio State welcomed 10 new members to the roster this past fall and all but two are freshmen. Senior outfielder/pitcher Daulton Mosbarger, from Bellefontaine, Ohio, transferred from Akron, while redshirt sophomore pitcher Austin Woodby, from Springboro, Ohio, transferred from Cincinnati. The two are joined by freshmen pitchers Ryan Feltner (Hudson, Ohio; Walsh Jesuit) and Connor Curlis (Findlay, Ohio; Findlay), freshmen infielders Brady Cherry (Pendleton, Ind.; Lapel), Casey Demko (Xenia, Ohio; Bellbrook) and Matt Carpenter (Aurora, Ohio; Aurora), freshmen catchers Jacob Barnwell (Catlettsburg, Ky.; Boyd County) and Andrew Fishel (Charlotte, N.C.; Providence Catholic) and freshman outfielder Jacob Vander Wal (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Catholic Central).
Sixth-year head coach Greg Beals is the 11th head coach in Ohio State history and only the fourth in the last 60 years. He has a 402-327 career record and is in his 14th season as a collegiate head coach.
20TH SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
Ohio State is 314-161 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .661 winning percentage. Ohio State is 168-99 vs. the Big Ten Conference at home.
Ohio State travels to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Caravelle Resort Baseball at the Beach Tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina Feb. 26-29. The second contest vs. the Chanticleers will be streamed on Big South Network.