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May 30, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fresh off the seventh Big Ten tournament championship in school history, Ohio State will pack its bags and head to Corvallis, Ore., where it will meet Oregon State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes and Beavers will play Friday at 8:05 p.m., EDT. Ohio State is the fourth seed in the regional, while Oregon State is the top seed in the regional and the No. 8 national seed.

“We are happy to be in the NCAA tournament, Bob Todd, the 18th-year coach of the Buckeyes, said. “I know Oregon State is a good team. They won the Pac-10 and if you look at who they play, it is an outstanding league. We know they are a good team and are excited to be heading out there to play.”

The other two teams in the Corvallis, Ore. Regional are No. 2 Virginia and No. 3 St. John’s. Those two teams will play open the regional at 4:05 p.m., EDT. There will be two games Saturday and Sunday at 4:05 p.m. and 9:05 p.m., EDT, and a second regional championship game, if necessary, would be played Monday at 5:05 p.m.

Oregon State is 41-9 overall and finished 19-5 atop the Pac-10 conference after taking two of three games from Southern California May 20-22. The Beavers won 11 games in a row before falling to the Trojans in the season finale, but won 21 of 25 games on their home field, Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Outfielder Jacoby Ellisbury leads the team with a .415 batting average, 86 hits, 17 doubles, six home runs, 45 runs scored and is second with 42 RBI. As a team the Beavers are batting .315 and have a .970 fielding percentage. Ohio State is expected to face sophomore right-handed pitcher Dallas Buck, who is 11-1 on the year with 109 strikeouts and a 1.93 ERA in 107.0 innings. The pitching staff has an ERA of 3.02.

No. 2 seed Virginia is 41-18 overall and finished 14-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers lost 4-3 to Georgia Tech in the championship game Sunday and are making their fifth NCAA tournament appearance in the history of the program. Virginia is 17-5 over its last 22 games and is 10-13 away from home, where it was 31-5. The Cavaliers are batting .293 and own a fielding percentage of .975. Ryan Zimmerman leads the team at the plate, batting .399 and also leads the team with 91 hits, 18 doubles, 58 RBI and 50 runs scored. The Virginia pitching staff has a 2.73 ERA and is paced by Jeff Kamrath, who is 9-3 and has 74 strikeouts and a 2.23 ERA in 93.0 innings. St. John’s is the No. 3 seed in Corvallis and is 39-16. The Red Storm won the Big East regular season championship with a 19-4 record to earn the top seed in the Big East tournament at Somerset Park in New Jersey. Of the everyday players, Greg Thomson led the team with a .377 batting average, 21 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 43 RBI. P.J. Antoniato batted .370 and led the team with 80 hits and 63 runs. St. John’s is batting .299 as a team and posts a .968 fielding percentage. Craig Hansen is one of the best closers in the nation and is 2-2 with 14 saves and 77 strikeouts to go with a 1.41 ERA in 30 appearances totaling 57.1 innings. Anthony Varvaro is 9-3 with 115 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA in 85.1 innings. The St. John’s pitching staff has a 3.04 ERA and is holding opponents to a .211 batting average.

Ohio State is 39-18 after going 4-1 to win the Big Ten tournament as the No. 5 seed and enters the NCAA tournament as one of the nation’s hottest teams as winners of 19 of its last 22 games. The Buckeyes batted .365 in five games in the Big Ten tournament after getting to the championship round undefeated. Minnesota forced a second championship game after getting a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 win, but Ohio State jumped out to an 11-1 lead after four innings and cruised to a 14-6 win.

Senior co-captain and outfielder Steve Caravati, the 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year, was named the Most Outstanding Player of this year’s tournament after batting .667 with a tournament-record 14 hits and 26 total bases. He had four doubles, one triple and two home runs to help bat in eight runs and score eight times. He had a slugging percentage of 1.238 and an on-base percentage of .692. Matt Angle (outfielder), Wes Schirtzinger (designated hitter) and Dan DeLucia (pitcher) also were named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team. Ohio State beat Michigan (7-3 in 13 innings), Purdue (6-5) and Minnesota (15-6) to get to the championship round.

Senior co-captain and centerfielder Mike Rabin leads all Buckeyes who have played at least 50 games with his .333 batting average. He has 64 hits and has driven in 28 runs, while scoring 43 times. Angle, a freshman rightfielder, and Eric Fryer, a freshman catcher, are batting .318, while sophomore second baseman Jason Zoeller is batting .316. He paces the squad with 65 hits and has scored a team-best 48 runs. Senior first baseman Paul Farinacci has driven in 53 runs to lead the squad, which is batting .312. Caravati, who missed 11 games with a pulled hamstring early in the season, is batting .371 in 45 games. He has 52 hits, 33 RBI and 33 runs scored.

Ohio State is fielding at a .971 clip and led the Big Ten with a 3.81 ERA. Freshman lefty Cory Luebke led the team with 54 strikeouts, though DeLucia, a sophomore lefty, got the win in the championship game Sunday to improve to 5-5 on the year, has the best ERA on the staff at 3.12. Senior righty Mike Madsen and senior lefty Trent Luyster each are 7-3 on the year and each pitched complete games to help get the Buckeyes to the championship round.

The appearance in the NCAA tournament the 17th in school history and the 11th under Todd, who has guided the Buckeyes to the tournament in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. The Buckeyes also have made appearances in 1951, 1955, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1982. Ohio State has four appearances in the College World Series – 1951, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Ohio State was the runner-up in 1965 and won the last baseball national championship by a Big Ten in 1966. Todd has not missed the tournament in consecutive years since he first guided the Buckeyes to the tournament in 1991.

The Oregon State athletic ticket office will begin taking orders for full-tournament tickets on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., EDT, when it reopens after the Memorial Day weekend. Only full-tournament tickets will be sold in advance; all single-game tickets will be sold the day of game only. Full-tournament reserved seats in the grandstand will be $60; bleacher general admission for adults will be $48; and bleacher general admission for students will be $36. The student admission prices are for OSU students, students from other schools in the tournament, and children ages 2 through 18.

The Oregon State athletic ticket office will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., EDT to take orders. Tickets can be purchased in person in Gill Coliseum Room 107 or by telephone at 1-800-GO BEAVS or 541-737-4455; there will be a $10 service charge for phone orders.

All Ohio State games in the NCAA tournament will be broadcast on NPR 820 (WOSU-AM) and on the Internet at www.wosu.org.