Sept. 15, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – It’s a new year for the Ohio State baseball team. Ohio State head coach Greg Beals, beginning his seventh year with the program and in the wake of a Big Ten tournament title and NCAA Regional appearance, welcomed 40 student-athletes last week for the start of fall ball, which commenced Sept. 6 and run approximately five weeks.
“It’s always exciting to be out on the field for the first week of practice with a new group of guys,” Beals said. “We’re excited about the 2017 season. There are obviously a lot of holes that we have to replace from last year’s ball club, but we have a lot of pieces and we are looking forward to putting that puzzle together and having another championship run next spring.”
The fall practices conclude the week of Oct. 10 with the annual Scarlet and Gray World Series (times and dates to be announced next week). Click above to see in-depth feature on the start of fall practice.
A LOOK AT THE ROSTER
The Buckeyes return 16 letterwinners, including three position players and eight pitchers that saw significant playing time. In addition, Ohio State welcomes 17 newcomers to the program that will get their first taste of Buckeye baseball this fall. Click above to see the 2016 fall roster.
“We have a lot of talent that will push the program through very competitive scrimmages and position battles this fall,” Beals added. “The newcomers are very talented and will learn from the veterans who have worked very hard to get us here today.”
TIME TO COMPETE
The Buckeyes arrived on campus last month ready to get to work under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Dean Hansen, who is now in his fifth year with the program. The Buckeyes will have team lifts twice a week during fall camp before starting the off-season workout program in the beginning of November.
“We have a lot of new guys this year, so the biggest thing right now is giving them the opportunity to compete,” Hansen said. “We don’t want them to be to sore from the workouts, but you want to push them to be at the level we need them to be at by the spring. Right now it’s about competition.”
Last season, the Buckeyes led the Big Ten in home runs (57), doubles (133) and triples (15), while also setting the school single-season record for stolen bases (101). The 2016 campaign marked the most home runs by a Buckeye squad in seven years.
THE PITCHING STAFF
Ohio State returns two starters and six relief pitchers from the 2015 staff that broke the school record for strikeouts in a season (495), including redshirt junior right-handers Adam Niemeyer and Yianni Pavlopoulos, junior right-hander Seth Kinker and sophomore right-hander Ryan Feltner. Fifth-year senior right-hander Jake Post is back on the mound in 2017, too. Pitching coach Mike Stafford welcomed eight new members to the staff this fall.
“Our goal right now is for the newcomers to learn the culture and what we are trying to accomplish as a pitching staff,” Stafford said. “We have several guys that have been in the program for three or four years now and that will help the transition be a lot easier. Guys like Niemeyer, Kinker and Pav [Pavlopoulos] will help past the torch and keep guys accountable.”
ALUMNI WEEKEND UP NEXT
The Ohio State baseball team is set to host its annual alumni weekend Friday-Saturday in Columbus. The weekend starts with the alumni golf outing Friday afternoon at Glenross Golf Club. On Saturday morning, the alumni baseball game will take place at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m.