COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State, in a first-place tie with Michigan in the Big Ten at 6-3, hosts the Penn State Nittany Lions for a three-game set beginning 6:35 p.m. Friday at Bill Davis Stadium. Games two and three will be played at 1:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Buckeyes have won six of the last nine matchups between the two schools, including two of three last season in University Park.
This Week in Ohio State Baseball
Ohio State (21-11, 6-3 Big Ten)
Game 33: vs. Penn State
(15-21, 2-7 Big Ten)
Friday, April 23 – 6:35 p.m.
Game 34: vs. Penn State
Saturday, April 24 – 1:05 p.m.
Game 35: vs. Penn State
Sunday, April 25 – 1:05 p.m.
All Times EDT
LIVE STATS & STREAMING VIDEO
Live stats and streaming video at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Ohio State probable rotation:
Friday – RHP Alex Wimmers
Saturday – RHP Drew Rucinski
Sunday – TBA
SOME SERIES HISTORY
Ohio State leads the all-time series 53-28 and has never lost a home series to the Nittany Lions.
BUCKEYES TAKE 2 OF 3 IN 2009
3.27.09 – A five-run fifth inning erased a 2-0 deficit and carried Ohio State to an 8-3 win over Penn State in the Big Ten Conference opener for both schools. Sophomore Dean Wolosiansky allowed just five hits and two runs through 7.0 innings to improve to 4-1 on the season. Wolosiansky walked two and struck out six before giving way to Rucinski in the eighth inning. Offensively, Zach Hurley had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI and Stephens and Justin Miller had two RBI apiece.
3.28.09 – In game two vs. the Nittany Lions, Eric Best pitched a career-best 6.0 innings and Matt Streng hit two home runs to lead Ohio State to a 12-2 win over Penn State at Medlar Field. Ryan Dew had four singles and scored a run. Burkhart, Miller, Hurley and Stephens also had multi-hit games with two apiece.
3.29.09 – Penn State won game three, 15-11, but the Buckeyes won the series, 2-1. The Nittany Lions countered a five-run Ohio State fifth inning, which gave OSU an 8-7 lead, with six runs in its half of the fifth and two more in the eighth.
ABOUT PENN STATE
Led by sixth-year head coach Robbie Wine, the Nittany Lions are currently 15-21 overall, 2-7 in Big Ten Conference play. Penn State is led offensively by junior catcher Ben Heath, batting .367 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 40 runs batted in.
However, on the mound the Nittany Lions have struggled with a team earned-run average of 6.44. Opponents are batting .328 off Penn State pitching. Top starters include freshman Neal Herring (3-2; 6.00) and sophomore Ryan Ignas (2-3; 6.10).
14th SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
Ohio State is 226-115 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .663 winning percentage. The team is also 131-69 against the Big Ten.
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.
GETTIN’ DIALED IN
Ohio State’s pitching corps has the third-lowest ERA in the Big Ten at 4.82. The staff ERA is 4.35 the last 20 games after posting a 5.52 ERA in the first 12 games of the season.
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
Dan Burkhart has thrown out 46 percent of those trying to steal so far this season (12 of 26).
SITTING THEM DOWN
Junior Alex Wimmers is tied for first nationally with eight 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 8-0 was Scott Lewis in 2003. Wimmers leads the Big Ten with 67 strikeouts, ranks second with a 1.71 ERA and sits second with a .228 opponent batting average while fellow junior Drew Rucinski is third with a 2.56 ERA.
BUCKING THE PSU TREND
Wimmers has had his struggles over his career against the Nittany Lions. In one start and a relief appearance, his earned run average against Penn State (15.75) is over six runs higher than against any other team in the Big Ten. The right-hander went 2.1 innings, giving up six earned runs on four hits and five walks in a no-decision last season.
A TEAM EFFORT
Heading into the weekend, the Buckeyes rank near the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.338, 1st), slugging percentage (.468, 5th), on-base percentage (.412, 1st) and home runs (25, t-4th). The Buckeyes have also struck out just 142 times in the first 32 games, 55 less than any other Big Ten team.
Zach Hurley leads the Buckeyes and ranks sixth in the conference with a .403 average. He also sits fourth in the conference with 13 doubles and sixth with a .660 slugging percentage.
Cory Rupert has done his part, ranking second on the team and seventh in the conference with a .393 batting average. The senior third baseman has reached base safely in every start this season.
Outfielder Michael Stephens is the third Buckeye among the Big Ten’s top hitters, ranking third in the Big Ten with eight home runs and seventh with a .624 slugging perecentage.
THANKS FOR COMING
Through the first six home games of the season, Ohio State ranks 41st nationally in average home attendance with 1,472. The number ranks second in the Big Ten behind Minnesota.
CLASSY ON AND OFF THE FIELD
Senior co-captain Cory Kovanda was recently selected as one of ten finalists for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
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…
ZIPS, BANGSTON TOP BUCKEYES
The Akron Zips, coached by former Buckeye assistant coach Pat Bangston, 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 TWO OF THREE 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.