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This Week in Ohio State Baseball

No. 14 Ohio State (0-0; 42-19 2009)

Game 1: at North Florida
(0-0 2010; 23-31 in 2009)
Friday, Feb. 19 – 7 p.m.
Harmon Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

Game 2: vs. Florida A&M
(0-0 2010; 24-30 in 2009)
Saturday, Feb. 20 – 5 p.m.
Harmon Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

Game 3: vs. Richmond
(0-0 2010; 22-25 in 2009)
Sunday, Feb. 21 – 11 a.m.
Harmon Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State opens its 127th season of baseball when it takes on North Florida Friday at 7 p.m. The game will mark the first of 21 consecutive road games to start the 2010 season.

The Buckeyes will also face Florida A&M at 5 p.m. Saturday and Richmond at 11 a.m. Sunday. All three games will be at Harmon Stadium on the campus of UNF. Visit unfospreys.com for stadium location and everything Osprey.

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). Other polls have the Buckeyes ranked 21st (USA Today/ESPN), 22nd (Rivals.com), 23rd (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) and 24th (PING! Baseball).

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.

Note: Technical difficulties with Live Stats occur. In such situations, every attempt will be made to update the action through a game blog at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

A GRAND OCCASION

After a 42-win campaign in 2009, Ohio State head coach Bob Todd sits just three wins shy of becoming the 41st college coach with 1,000 victories. Since Todd took over the program in 1988, the Buckeyes have more wins (873) than any other Big Ten school. Interestingly, Todd’s counterpart in the other dugout to open the season, UNF’s Dusty Rhodes, has already reached the 1,000 win plateau with 1,182 in 30 seasons. Both coaches were inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last season.

PLENTY OF ASSISTANCE
– Greg Cypret is in his 23rd season as an assistant coach on the Ohio State baseball staff. Cypret works with the Buckeye infielders and hitters and oversees recruiting.
–  Eric Parker is in his sixth season overall working with the Buckeye baseball program and the 2010 season will be his third as a full-time assistant coach. He works with the Ohio State pitchers.
– Pete Jenkins is in his third season as a volunteer assistant coach with the Ohio State baseball program. A former catcher who played in the Milwaukee Brewers organzation, Jenkins works with the Buckeye catchers.
– Justin “Gus” Miller, a four-year letterman for the Buckeyes who was one of only 14 players in 126 years of Ohio State baseball to be named a captain on multiple occasions, will be a student assistant coach with the program for the 2010 season. Miller, who graduated in December with a degree in criminology, will work with the Buckeye outfielders and serve as a hitting assistant.

HITTING THE ROAD

The Buckeyes will play the 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.

INFIELD EXPERIENCE

The 2010 group of infielders has a combined 543 starts between them including 160 by second baseman Cory Kovanda and 128 by first baseman Ryan Dew. Cory Rupert (112), Tyler Engle (90), Matt Streng (50) and Brad Hallberg (3) round out the list.

DYNAMIC DUO

Senior outfielders Zach Hurley and Michael Stephens hope to build off their production in the 2009 season. The two combined to hit .346 with 22 doubles, 11 triples and 20 long balls in addition to stealing 24 bases, scoring 119 runs and driving in another 116.

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.

PRESEASON HYPE

Alex Wimmers
– NCBWA preseason All-America second team
Collegiate Baseballpreseason All-America second team
PING! Baseballpreseason All-America first team
– Baseball America second-team All-America

Dan Burkhart
– NCBWA preseason All-America second team
PING! Baseball preseason All-America second team
– Rivals.com preseason All-America first team

SCOUTING THE OSPREYS

North Florida, coached by Dusty Rhodes, finished 2009 with a 23-31 overall record, 15-15 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Senior outfielder Preston Hale returns after leading the team in virtually every offensive category last season including average (.371), runs scored (46), doubles (17) and home runs (10).

SCOUTING THE RATTLERS

Senior outfielder Darryl Evans led the Rattlers with five long balls and 10 doubles last season and posted a .317 batting average.

SCOUTING THE SPIDERS

Led by third-year head coach Mark McQueen, Richmond enters 2010 after posting a 22-25 record in 2009. Sophomore infielder Adam McConnell led the Spiders last season with a .355 batting average and stealing 31 bases in 46 games played.

Probable starting position players & key pitchers

Pos. No.    Player…………….. Notes
C         15    Dan Burkhart…… 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year; 105 career starts
1B      23    Ryan Dew……….. 4th in Big Ten with .388 avg. in ’09; 1st team All-Big Ten
2B      17    Cory Kovanda….. ’10 co-captain; leads team with 160 career starts
3B      10    Cory Rupert…….. Started 112 career games; 11 multi-hit games in ’09
or       21    Brad Hallberg…… 4-for-10 in 2009 before shoulder injury
SS         1    Tyler Engle………. Batted .318 after recovering from hamstring injury in ’09
LF       16    Zach Hurley……… ’10 co-captain; batted .346 in ’09; drafted by Fla. Marlins
CF      24    Michael Stephens        2nd team All-Big Ten in ’09; led team with 14 home runs
RF      29    Brian DeLucia…… 2 home runs before breaking finger three games into ’09
DH     20    Matt Streng…….. Started 50 games in ’09; batted .308 with 8 HR’s

Pitchers
RHP   14    *Alex Wimmers.. ’10 Preseason All-America; ’09 Big Ten co-Pitcher of Year
RHP   42    *Dean Wolosianski      2nd team All-Big Ten in ’09; third in Big Ten with 11 wins
LHP    48    *Eric Best………… 66 career appearances; 14-7 career record
RHP   36    *Ross Oltorik…… 11 appearances, six starts in ’09
RHP   12    Drew Rucinski….. 5th nationally with 12 wins in ’09; 51 career appearances
RHP   50    Jared Strayer…… T-3rd on team with 20 appearances in ’09
LHP    43    Theron Minium… 24 career appearances, Academic All-Big Ten in ’09 
* Indicates starting pitchers