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COLUMBUS, Ohio – After defeating Toledo, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon in the 2010 home opener at Bill Davis Stadium, Ohio State hits the road for its first Big Ten series at Northwestern this weekend.

First pitch Friday is set for 4 p.m. EDT while the Saturday and Sunday games will begin at 2 p.m. EDT.

Ohio State probable rotation:
Friday – RHP Alex Wimmers
Saturday – RHP Drew Rucinski
Sunday – RHP Dean Wolosiansky

This Week in Ohio State Baseball

Ohio State (14-7, 0-0 Big Ten)

Game 22: at Northwestern
(6-18, 0-0 Big Ten)
Friday, April 2 – 4 p.m.
Evanston, Ill. (Rocky Miller Park)

Game 23: at Northwestern
Saturday, April 3 – 2 p.m.

Game 24: at Northwestern
Sunday, April 4 – 2 p.m.

All Times EDT

RADIO
102.5 FM

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

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.

  • Senior outfielder Zach Hurley led the team offensively on the trip, batting .500 (15-for-30) with four doubles, two home runs and 15 runs scored. For his efforts, Hurley was named Big Ten player of the week March 22.
  • Senior 1B/DH Ryan Dew batted .414 (12-for-29) with a home run and five runs scored.
  • Senior 2B Cory Kovanda hit .409 with a long ball and five runs batted in.
  • Junior right-hander Drew Rucinski made a successful transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation, picking up a pair of wins over Bucknell and Dartmouth. The Broken Arrow, Okla. native combined to pitch 11.0 innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out 10 batters in the two starts.
  • Junior right-hander Alex Wimmers continued his strong start, moving to 5-0 with a win over Army. The preseason All-American went 7.0 innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out eight. Wimmers, who has struck out at least eight batters in four of five starts this season, also started 5-0 last season. Only two other Buckeye starters have begun the year 5-0 in the last five seasons: Cory Luebke (7-0 in 2007) and J.B. Shuck (5-0 in 2006).
  • Junior right-hander Dean Wolosiansky put together a strong spring break trip after a couple of shaky starts. After picking up a save in 2.1 scoreless innings in two appearances to start the trip, Wolosiansky was the hard-luck loser against Rollins, tossing a career-high 9.1 innings, giving up three earned runs (two in the 10th inning) on nine hits while striking out six.

IT ALSO SHOULD BE NOTED THAT…

  • Wimmers, who has struck out at least eight batters in four of five starts this season, also started 5-0 last season. Only two other Buckeye starters have begun the year 5-0 in the last five seasons: Cory Luebke (7-0 in 2007) and J.B. Shuck (5-0 in 2006).
  • Wimmers has struck out at least seven batters in 16 of 21 career starts.
  • Hurley recorded multi-hit games in five of the seven games on the spring break trip. He currently leads all Buckeyes with 11 in 20 games this season.
  • Dew posted a multi-hit game in four of the seven games on the trip including a 3-for-3 performance with three runs scored against Eastern Illinois. Dew ranks second on the team with 10 multi-hit games this season.
  • Freshman outfielder Hunter Mayfield picked up the first hit of his career against Dartmouth and then earned his first career start two days later at Webber International.

SITTING THEM DOWN
Junior Alex Wimmers leads the Big Ten with five wins and 41 strikeouts, ranks fifth with a 2.12 ERA and sits ninth with a .236 opponent batting average while fellow junior Drew Rucinski is ninth with 29 punchouts and fourth with a 2.10 ERA. Freshman Brett McKinney ranks sixth in the conference with 30 strikeouts.

A TEAM EFFORT
Heading into the week, the Buckeyes rank near the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.344, 1st), slugging percentage (.467, 3rd), on-base percentage (.413, 2nd), hits (254, 4th), and total bases (345, 4th). The Buckeyes have also struck out just 87 times in the first 20 games, 27 less than any other Big Ten team.

The pitching staff has done its part as well, ranking fourth in earned-run average (4.83) and fifth in strikeouts (152).

STAYING FRESH
Despite misssing three games, outfielder Michael Stephens ranks fifth in the Big Ten with five home runs and ninth in the conference with a .641 slugging perecentage. Stephens has at least one hit in 15 of 17 games played this season.

Cory Kovanda has done his part, leading the team and ranking fifth in the conference with a .414 batting average. The senior co-captain has reached base safely in 17 of 18 starts this season.

Zach Hurley is the third Buckeye among the Big Ten’s top hitters, ranking fourth in hits (36), fifth in slugging percentage (.667), sixth in batting average (.400) and leading the conference with 11 doubles.

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.

WATCH LIVE ON BUCKEYE VISION
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.

FOLLOW THE ACTION via LIVE STATS
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.

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 will play their first 21 games on the road – 18 in Florida and three in Tennessee – before the home opener against Toledo March 31. In all, 24 of the Buckeyes’ first 25 games will be 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.

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.