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May 16, 2001

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%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio – After defeating the Michigan Wolverines on the final day of the regular season Sunday, the No. 24 Ohio State baseball team agonized for little over an hour waiting for the outcome of the Purdue vs. Iowa contest. But the wait was well worth it as the Buckeyes got the result they needed as the Boilermakers lost to the Hawkeyes, 2-1. The instant the last out was made, the Buckeyes were crowned the 2001 Big Ten Champions. This week, Ohio State will enjoy the fruits of the first-place finish as it plays host to the 2001 Big Ten Baseball Tournament. After a one year hiatus, the tournament returns to majestic Bill Davis Stadium – one of the premier college baseball facilities in the nation. The Buckeyes are looking to buck the recent trend of regular season champions and win the conference tournament. The last five host schools have gone down in defeat. The last host school to take home the tournament championship was Ohio State in 1995 when the tournament was held at old Trautman Field. OSU’s road to the 2001 tournament title begins Wednesday with a rematch against the Michigan Wolverines at 6:35 p.m. The fifth consecutive game against UM marks the first time in the 118 years of Ohio State baseball, the Buckeyes will face opponent five consecutive times.%^$

%^$2001 Big Ten Champions
%^$For the 14th time in school history, the Ohio State Buckeyes have won the Big Ten Championship.%^$

%^$”The loss on Friday (against Michigan) was such a heartbreaker,” head coach Bob Todd said. “But this team regrouped and showed heart and character. We put ourselves back into position to win and it worked out in the end.”%^$

%^$The top finish is the seventh in 14 seasons under Todd. Every player Todd has recruited to play at Ohio State has left school with a championship ring.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes last won the Big Ten Championship in 1999. That year, the team finished one win shy of qualifying for the College World Series.%^$

%^$BDS to Host NCAA Regionals
%^$On Monday, the NCAA Baseball Tournament Committee announced today that The Ohio State University will serve as one of 16 host institutions for the first round of the NCAA Tournament beginning Friday, May 25. Bill Davis Stadium will serve as the venue for the 2001 NCAA Columbus Regional. The selection automatically places the No. 24 Ohio State baseball team into the tournament and gives the team home field advantage for the first round.%^$

%^$”In order to host, you have to have an administration that’s willing to bid,” head coach Bob Todd said. “I’ve said all along, Andy Geiger and the Ohio State administration are willing to put in bids through the NCAA on a lot of different sports and allow their sports to host. It’s a great philosophy for this administration and I know all the coaches here are appreciative of their efforts.%^$

%^$”Anytime you don’t have to travel, it’s an advantage. Your players get to stay in their own beds and play in familiar surroundings. We love to play in Bill Davis Stadium. Our fans are some of the best around and I know our players love playing in front of those crowds.”%^$

%^$The Rankings
%^$The Buckeyes are ranked in all three national polls this week. OSU is No. 24 in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Coaches and Baseball America polls. In the Collegiate Baseball poll, the Buckeyes are No. 27. Ohio State cracked the national polls during the week of March 26 and have been ranked seven out of the last eight weeks.%^$

%^$OSU at the Big Ten Tourney
%^$Ohio State will be making its 15th appearance the Big Ten Tournament and will serve as the host for the fifth time. The last time OSU hosted the event was in 1999. The Buckeyes have accumulated a 24-20 (.545) tournament record and have won the tournament title four times. The Buckeyes last won the tournament in 1997.%^$

%^$BDS and the Tourney
%^$Majestic Bill Davis Stadium will host the Big Ten Baseball Tournament for the second time in the 5-year home of Ohio State baseball. In 1999, the Buckeyes were eliminated after two games in the four-team tournament. The No. 4-seed Michigan Wolverines took home the tournament title with a 12-11 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.%^$

%^$Last Year at the Tourney
%^$The 2000 Big Ten Baseball Tournament was hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. The No.5 seed Buckeyes lost their opening round game to No. 2-seed Penn State, 8-7. OSU did rebound and take it next two games, 4-2 over Northwestern and 9-8 over Purdue. On the next-to-last day of the tournament, the Buckeyes were eliminated by eventual champions Illinois, 4-0. For the Buckeyes, Trent McIlvain, Nick Swisher and Jason Turner were named to the all-tournament team.%^$

%^$The 40-Win Plateau
%^$The team’s 41-14 overall record marks the eighth time under Bob Todd that the Buckeyes have reached the 40-win plateau.%^$

%^$Powerful Pitchers
%^$The Buckeyes enter the tournament with a league-low 4.00 earned run average. The ERA is the lowest at OSU since 1977 when the team registered a 3.82 ERA. Should OSU maintain its average, it would mark the fifth time in the past decade the Buckeyes have led the Big Ten in ERA.%^$

%^$BDS Ready to Turn 100
%^$Ohio State enter the tournament one win shy of its 100th at Bill Davis Stadium. In the five-year history of Bill Davis Stadium, the Buckeyes never have lost a Big Ten series at home. Ohio State has compiled a 99-31 overall record at home.%^$

%^$The Broadcast
%^$WOSU Radio (820 AM) and ohiostatebuckeyes.com will all postseason games involving Ohio State with the tandem of Herb Howenstine and the jovial Frank Fraas calling the action.%^$

%^$Few More Weeks for Seniors
%^$Nine members of the Ohio State baseball team are down their final few weeks of the season. Chris Alvord, Todd Calcamuggio, Mike Check, Cory Cox, Kevin Goodrum, Mike Harris, Ted Kalnins, John Mayor and Trent McIlvain. The class enters this weekend having accumulated a 164-67 four-year record and winners of the 2001 and 1999 Big Ten Championships along with the 2001 NCAA Columbus Regional Championships.%^$

%^$Dirty Deeds
%^$Doug Deeds had a big series against Michigan last weekend. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year candidate knocked in the game-winning run in OSU’s 2-0 game two win over the Wolverines. In game two, he belted a key three-run home run in OSU’s game three win. He finished the series batting .385 (5-for-13) with two home runs and five RBI. His 13 home runs is an Ohio State freshman record. The old mark of 10 was held by Nick Swisher (2000) and Dan Seimetz (1995).%^$

%^$Newman Steps Up
%^$In OSU’s 9-1 series finale win over Michigan, freshman flame-thrower Josh Newman fired his first career complete game. He struck out a career-high 11 in the win. For the week, he went 2-0 with a 0.69 earned run average.%^$

%^$Triple Machine
%^$Freshman Steve Caravati is leading the Big Ten with six triples. His 0.15 triples per game average ranks him No. 8 in the country. Caravati is one away from tying the OSU single-season record of seven set by Dale Hampshire in 1959.%^$

%^$A Stolen Record
%^$Senior Mike Harris enters the tournament one stolen base shy of tying the OSU single-season record. His 33 steals is one short of Roy Marsh’s record set in 1994.%^$

%^$The Ohio State Offense
%^$Entering this weekend, the Buckeyes are carrying a .317 batting average with 57 home runs and 365 runs batted in. Mike Check is leading the team with a .365 BA and is second with 27 stolen bases. Nick Swisher is supplying the power with a team-best 15 home runs, 52 runs batted in and .721 slugging percentage. Mike Harris has stolen a team-best 33 bases.%^$

%^$The OSU Pitching Staff
%^$Entering this weekend, the OSU pitching staff has a combined 4.00 earned run average with 295 strikeouts. E.J. Laratta (8-3) and Josh Newman (8-2) lead the team with eight wins. Laratta has been the workhorse leading the team with 88 innings pitched. Newman leads the starting pitcher with a 3.18 ERA. Cory Cox has a team best 10 saves.%^$

%^$Turning 30
%^$In the 10-1 win over Indiana May 5, Mike Harris became just the second player in school history to steal at least 30 bases in a season. The second baseman enters this week leading the Big Ten with 32 steals. Roy Marsh was the only other person in Buckeye history to enter the 30 stolen base club when he swiped 34 and 32 bases in 1994 and 1993, respectively.%^$

%^$Cox Sets Records
%^$In OSU’s 10-8, game two win over Indiana May 6, stopper Cory Cox broke his own school record and saved his 10th game of the season. He became the only person in school history to record double-digit saves and adds to his career-record total of 27 saves. Cox’s 10 saves is the third most in the country.%^$

%^$OSU Wins Michigan Series
%^$Last weekend, the Buckeyes took 3-of-4 from the Michigan Wolverines at Bill Davis Stadium. In the series opener, the Buckeyes lost 7-5 after a ninth inning rally by the Wolverines. The following day the Buckeyes rebounded and fought back. In game two, Kevin Goodrum fired his first career complete game shutout in OSU’s 2-0 win over the Wolverines. In game three, the OSU bats came alive as the team won 10-7. In the series finale, Josh Newman threw a complete game gem, striking out 11 batters in a 9-2 victory.%^$

%^$Scouting the Wolverines
%^$The Michigan Wolverines enter tournament with a 26-26 overall record and in sixth place in the Big Ten with a 10-14 mark. Offensively Brock Koman leads the team in every major hitting category with a .376 batting average, 12 home runs and 53 runs batted in. Mike Sokol and Nate Wright are tied for second on the team with five home runs. As a team, the Wolverines have a .298 BA with 37 home runs and 278 runs batted in. From the mound, Bobby Korecky has been the team’s ace. He enters this week with a 6-3 record and 3.17 earned run average. Jeff Trzos has a team best three saves. As a staff, the Wolverines carry a 5.07 ERA and opponents are carrying a .291 BA. The head coach is Geoff Zahn. He is in his sixth year at the helm.%^$

%^$OSU vs. Michigan All-Time
%^$The Wolverines lead the all-time series between the schools, 135-80-2. Over Bob Todd’s 14-year tenure, the Buckeyes have compiled a 40-22 record. In the past five years, OSU has a 27-9 edge. In 2000, OSU lost 3-of-4 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Buckeyes lost the first three games and avoided the sweep with a 14-4 series finale victory. Greg Prenger earned the win with six innings of relief work. Chris Alvord led the Buckeyes with a .600 batting average, including a home run.%^$

%^$A Stolen Record
%^$On May 6, during game three of the Indiana series, Mike Harris helped set a team stolen base record when he swiped OSU’s 85th base of the season. The old record of 84 was set in 1994. The Buckeyes enter the tournament with 89 thefts. Last year, the Buckeyes stole 49 bags.%^$

%^$Climbing Up the Ranks
%^$Last weekend, junior pitcher E.J. Laratta picked up his 25th career win and pitched career inning No. 275.1 in OSU’s, 10-1, game one victory over the Indiana Hoosiers. The totals rank him No. 8 in both respective categories in OSU career history%^$

%^$OSU Career Wins%^$1. Justin Fry 1995-99 36%^$2. Pete Perini 1947-50 30%^$3. Scott Klingenbeck 1990-92 28%^$ Tom Schwarber 1987-91 28%^$5. Chris Granata 1991-94 27%^$6. Bill Cuningham 1982-85 26%^$ Mark Dempsey 1977-80 26%^$8. E.J. Laratta 1999-pres. 25%^$ Matt Beaumont 1992-94 25%^$

%^$OSU Career Innings Pitched%^$1. Justin Fry 1995-99 419.2%^$2. Pete Perini 1947-59 344.0%^$3. Chris Granata 1991-94 295.1%^$4. Tom Schwarber 1987-91 278.0%^$5. Mark Dempsey 1977-80 289.1%^$6. Doug Swearingen 1980-83 278.1%^$7. Scott Klingenbeck 1990-92 277.2%^$8. E.J. Laratta 1999-pres. 275.1%^$

%^$Big Ten Dominance
%^$With the 3-1 series win over Michigan, the Buckeyes now have won or tied 86-of-98 Big Ten series in the 14-year tenure of head coach Bob Todd. The team has won 6-of-7 Big Ten series this year (3-1 over Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan State, 2-1 over Indiana, 2-2 split with Penn State and 4-0 sweep over Minnesota).%^$

%^$The Slimmest of Margins
%^$This season, the Buckeyes are 7-3 in one-run games. To put this statistic in perspective, OSU finished 9-10 last year and 4-2 in 1999 in games decided by a single run.%^$

%^$Walk This Way
%^$The combination of a selective eye at the plate and respect from opposing pitchers has given Nick Swisher a school record 51 walks in 51 games. Doug Dendinger is right behind Swisher with 50 walks in 51 games. Mike Lockwood held the old record of 50 set in 1997.%^$

%^$ Name Year Walks%^$1. Nick Swisher 2001 51%^$2. Doug Dendinger 2001 50%^$3. Mike Lockwood 1997 50%^$4. Greg Mohler 1982 45%^$5. Chris Williams 1995 44%^$6. Mike Durant 1991 42%^$ Jason Trott 1999 42%^$

%^$Swisher Invited to USA Trials
%^$USA Baseball announced last week that Nick Swisher was one of 19 collegiate players invited to the 2001 USA Baseball National Team Trials. The trials will be held in Tucson, Ariz., June 16-19. “It’s a great honor to be invited,” Swisher said. “Just to be considered in this group is something special. But right now, my focus in on Ohio State baseball and the things we are playing for right now. I’m sure when the season is over, I’ll focus on making the National Team, but right now, it’s really the farthest thing from my mind.” The USA National Team will be selected from a pool of approximately 20-29 players, of which an additional 5-10 have yet to be determined. Team USA will play approximately 30 games on the Red. White and Blue Summer tour, beginning June 22 with the 30th annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, which this year will be played in Japan.%^$

%^$This is My House
%^$Freshman Steve Caravati quickly has made Bill Davis Stadium his favorite ballpark to play in. In 22 games, including 10 starts, the outfielder is batting .447 (21-for-47) with four doubles, three triples, three home runs and 25 runs batted in. His home slugging percentage is an astounding .851 percent. On March 10, he became the first player in Bill Davis Stadium’s 5-year history to hit for the cycle. Against the Detroit Titans, he opened the game with a one-run double in the first inning. In the third inning, Caravati belted a solo home run. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, he sent a shot off the center field wall for a bases-clearing triple. In his final at bat, Caravati spanked a RBI single to left field. For the game, he finished 4-for-4 with eight RBI. On April 6, he missed his second career cycle by a double in OSU’s 11-6 win over Illinois.%^$

%^$The Old Man
%^$Friday, April 6 against Illinois, stopper Cory Cox set a school record by making his 80th career appearance as a Buckeye. The old record of 79 was held by Andy Lee (1996-99). Cox enters the tournament with 92 career appearances. He (23 years and 1 month) may be the senior member of the pitching staff, but he isn’t the senior member of the team. Catcher Chris Alvord (23 years and 7 months) was born Sept. 1, 1977 and is the only member of the team born that year.%^$

%^$Show of Unity
%^$Five members of the Ohio State catching corps have shaved their heads in a show of unity. Self nicknamed “The Usty’s,” the trend was started when Todd “Musty” Calcamuggio, who wears his head shaved all year round, helped convince Chris “Dusty” Alvord to sport the same look during the Spring Break Trip in Bradenton, Fla. In the two weeks since, Derek “Busty” Kinnear, Doug “Clusty” Larason and Brian “Rusty” Panke have followed suit, giving the catchers a more aerodynamic look collectively.%^$

%^$Wow … What a Start
%^$The 20-5 start by Ohio State was the best 25 game start the program has seen since 1991 when the Buckeyes opened the season with a 21-4 record. That year, OSU won the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In 1994, the Buckeyes streaked to a 19-6 start and eventually finished with the best record in the nation at 49-9.%^$

%^$Lights Out Baseball
%^$The April 4 game against Wright State marked the first game in Bill Davis Stadium history delayed and ultimately suspended because of light failure. Initially, the lights went out during daylight and were temporarily restored. The game was then delayed at 8:32 p.m. after another outage and was restarted at 9:08 p.m. The final power outage occurred at 9:26 p.m. in the top of the ninth inning and the game was then suspended by the umpires.%^$

%^$USA Baseball Adds Todd
%^$USA Baseball has named Ohio State baseball head coach Bob Todd as the third and final assistant coach of the 2001 USA Baseball National Team. The team will consist of collegiate all-stars that will play approximately 30 games on the USA Baseball Red, White and Blue Tour this summer. Pat McMahon of Mississippi State is the head coach and will be assisted by Paul Stevens of Northwestern and Dusty Rhodes of North Florida. In June, USA Baseball, McMahon and his coaching staff will select a team comprised primarily of the nation’s top freshman and sophomore collegiate players. The players will assemble at the training site in Tucson, Ariz., then depart for Japan to play a five-game series against the Japanese Collegiate All-Stars in Tokyo and Okinawa. Upon returning from Japan, the team will play approximately 25 additional games in July in various states on the USA Red, White and Blue Tour, including Alaska, Ohio and New York.%^$

%^$Getting Results
%^$OSU baseball results can easily be found on the Internet at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.%^$

%^$On Deck
%^$The Buckeyes play host to the 2001 NCAA Columbus Regional at Bill Davis Stadium. Play begins Friday, May 25.