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April 9, 2002

%^$It is different this season for OSU first baseman Doug Dendinger.%^$

%^$Dendinger had a break-through season a year ago for the Buckeyes as he set career highs in every statistical category and established himself as one of the top RBI men in the Big Ten.%^$

%^$Because of his success on the field, Dendinger earned the respect of his teammates, who voted him one of four team co-captains prior to the 2002 season.%^$

%^$”It is different than being an underclassman where all you do is listen,” Dendinger said. “Now, I’m more of a teacher and help the underclassmen understand what is going on. I find myself talking about the little things like guys did with me.”%^$

%^$Dendinger describes his leadership style as leading by example.%^$

%^$”I try to set an example for the guys with how I play and how I practice,” he said. “I try to stay positive with the guys.”%^$

%^$He said it has been difficult this year to do that, mainly because of his self-proclaimed slow start to the season.%^$

%^$”I started kind of slow this year,” the senior from Greenwich, Ohio, said. “I have tough expectations for myself and expect to compete at a high level of competition.”%^$

%^$Dendinger has done a remarkable job playing first base this season. He has just one error in 152 fielding chances. Not to mention, he has done an impressive job as the No. 2 guy in the Buckeye lineup.%^$

%^$Dendinger is batting .281 (16-for-57) this season in his 18 games with two extra base hits, including a home run on March 25 in the 9-0 victory over Harvard at the Homestead Challenge. But what stands out is his team-leading on-base percentage of .506. Through his patience at the plate, he has drawn a Big Ten best 22 walks and has been hit by a pitch another four times.%^$

%^$A year ago, Dendinger finished the year with great success, batting .357 in the Big Ten Tournament. He finished the season with a .291 batting average, just percentage points better than where he is now. If he can put together a series or two like he did last season against Minnesota that earned him recognition as the Big Ten Player of the Week, that might help erase that slow start.%^$

%^$He led the Buckeyes in last year’s Minnesota series with a .600 batting average, going 6-for-10 from the plate with four runs scored, a triple, home run and six RBI. In the series finale against the Gophers he belted a three-run home run over the centerfield wall to give the Buckeyes a 5-1 victory.%^$