COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 16 Ohio State heads to Florida for the third consecutive weekend to begin the season, this time hosting a tournament in Port Charlotte.
The Buckeyes will open the weekend 1 p.m. Friday against Duquesne and take on St. Louis in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. The weekend will close with a matchup at noon Sunday against Fairleigh Dickinson.
Ohio State rotation:
Fri. vs. Duquesne – RHP B. McKinney
Sat. vs. St. Louis – RHP A. Wimmers
Sat. vs. St. Louis – RHP D. Wolosiansky
Sun. vs. Fairleigh Dickinson – TBD
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). This week, Ohio State is ranked No. 16 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 21 (Rivals), No. 23 (NCBWA) and No. 25 (PING! Baseball).
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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.
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.
A LOOK AT THE DUKES
Duquesne is 0-6 on the season after losing to Kansas State, Illinois State and Villanova last weekend. Sophomore Rick Devereaux leads the Dukes offensively, batting .500 with seven runs scored and a pair of home runs.
The Buckeyes are 3-0 all-time against Duquesne, with the last matchup a 3-2 Ohio State victory in 1997.
SCOUTING THE BILLIKENS
St. Louis is 3-3 on the season after dropping two of three at Central Arkansas last weekend. Sophomore Jerry Mancuso leads the team with a .481 batting average with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Mancuso has also tossed three scoreless innings on the mound. Junior Jon Myers is batting .333 with two doubles and two long balls for the Billikens.
The Buckeyes are 0-1 all-time against St. Louis, the lone game a 4-0 Billiken victory in 2008.
OHIO STATE vs. FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON
The Knights are 0-3 on the season after getting swept in a series at High Point. Stephen LaForge leads Fairleigh Dickinson after going 6-for-12 in the first three games of the season. Reliever Craig Warner has tossed four scoreless innings while striking out three.
Ohio State holds a 4-0 lead in the all-time series after sweeping the Knights in a three-game series in 2001.
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.
IT ALSO SHOULD BE NOTED THAT…
CAN’T TOUCH THIS
Alex Wimmers has given up a leadoff base hit in just two of 14 innings pitched and has not allowed an extra-base hit so far this season. In all, opponents are batting just .128 against the right-hander.
Wimmers ranks first in the Big Ten in ERA for pitchers with more than one start, posting a 0.64 ERA in 14.0 innings pitched. He also leads the Big Ten in strikeouts with 15 and ranks second with the .128 opposing batting average.
BOOMER SHUTTING THE DOOR
Junior reliever Drew Rucinski, tied for the league lead in appearances, has done a solid job out of the bullpen for the Buckeyes going 8.0 innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out 10 while picking up a pair of saves.
A TEAM EFFORT
The Buckeyes rank near or at the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.330, 2nd), slugging percentage (.493, 2nd), on-base percentage (.437, 1st), runs scored (58, 1st), hits (73, 1st), doubles (16, 2nd), triples (4, T-1st) and walks (35, 1st).
The pitching staff has done its part as well, ranking second in earned-run average (3.23) and strikeouts (57) and fourth in opposing batting average (.272). The group has not allowed a triple or a home run on the young season.
Outfielder Michael Stephens ranks near the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.522, 3rd), slugging percentage (.870, 4th), on-base perecentage (.571, 6th), hits (12, T-1st), RBI (10, 1st), home runs (2, T-4th) and total bases (20, T-3rd).
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.
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.