COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 27 Ohio State travels to Florida for the fourth time in five weeks to play eight games in seven days beginning Friday.
The Buckeyes open up with Eastern Illinois and Bucknell Friday before taking on Army, Cornell, Bethune-Cookman, Dartmouth, Rollins and Webber International.
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. 27 in Collegiate Baseball.
OSU DROPS 2 OF 3 IN KNOXVILLE
After losing to Marshall Saturday and dropping a close 5-4 decision to Connecticut in the first game Sunday, the Buckeyes bounced back to defeat Tennessee behind a 10-strikeout performance from Alex Wimmers.
IT ALSO SHOULD BE NOTED THAT…
BOOMER SHUTTING THE DOOR
Junior reliever Drew Rucinski, leading the Big Ten with nine appearances, has done a solid job out of the bullpen for the Buckeyes going 14.2 innings with a 2.45 ERA and striking out 18 while picking up three saves.
A TEAM EFFORT
The Buckeyes rank at the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.484), on-base percentage (.427), runs scored (113), hits (169), triples (7) and total bases (236). The 113 runs scored are 13 more than any other team and the 169 hits are 15 more than any other team. The Buckeyes have also struck out just 58 times in the first 13 games, 13 less than any other Big Ten team.
The pitching staff has done its part as well, ranking second in earned-run average (5.09) and strikeouts (109).
Despite misssing three games, outfielder Michael Stephens ranks near the top of most of the Big Ten offensive categories including: batting average (.410, 5th), slugging perecentage (.692, 4th), runs batted in (14, t-6th) and home runs (3, t-6th). Stephens has at least one hit in each game he has played in this season.
Brian DeLucia has also done his part ranking second in the Big Ten in runs batted in (15), seventh in slugging percentage (.653) and batting average (.408) and 10th in on-base percentage (.473).
Zach Hurley is the third Buckeye outfielder among the Big Ten’s top hitters, ranking seventh in hits (20), tied for second in triples (2), tied for first in doubles (7) and sixth in total bases (34).
SITTING THEM DOWN
Junior Alex Wimmers leads the Big Ten with 33 strikeouts, ranks third with a .214 opponent batting average and fifth with a 2.00 ERA while fellow junior Drew Rucinski is ninth with 18 punchouts out of the bullpen. Freshman Brett McKinney ranks fourth in the conference with 22 strikeouts.
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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.
BURKHART ON BENCH WATCH LIST
Dan Burkhart was named to the 2010 Johnny Bench Award watch list, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced. The award is given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.
WIMMERS ON GOLDEN SPIKES LIST
Ohio State junior right-hander Alex Wimmers was named to the 2010 Golden Spikes Award watch list, USA Baseball announced Thursday. The award is given each year to the best collegiate baseball player in the country. The 2010 Golden Spikes Award will be presented live on Tuesday, July 13, at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest in Anaheim, Calif. Wimmers is one of six players on the list who finished among the 30 semifinalists for the award in 2009.
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.
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.
OSU WINS 3 OF 4 IN CLASSIC
After defeating Duquesne Friday and St. Louis in the first game Saturday, the Buckeyes dropped the second game of the doubleheader to the Billikens before defeating Fairleigh Dickinson in the weekend finale Sunday.
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.
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.