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May 19, 2001

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COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Ohio State Buckeyes staved off elimination from the Big Ten Tournament on a clear, dry Saturday night when they dropped the Fighting Illini of Illinois, 10-0. OSU used a balanced attack to down the Illini as seven Buckeyes tallied hits and six scored runs in front of 1,099 fans at Bill Davis Stadium. Greg Prenger improves to 5-1 with the complete game shutout. He struck out six, walked one and scattered seven hits

Ohio State advances to play Minnesota, who is undefeated in the tournament, tomorrow at 12:35 p.m. while Illinois is eliminated from competition.

The Buckeyes jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second when John Mayor laced a two-out single to left field off pitcher Tim Gorski. Freshman Steve Caravati, who has belted Illinois’ pitching all year, then drilled a double off the left field wall to plate Mayor, giving OSU an early 1-0 advantage.

Mike Harris began the third for OSU with a sharp single to left-center field. He stole second and advanced to third on Gorski’s sixth wild pitch of the year. Mike Check then stepped to the plate and delivered a run-scoring sacrifice fly to right field, giving OSU a 2-0 lead.

OSU added another run in the fourth as Doug Deeds scored on a fielder’s choice after crushing a one-out double to left-center field. Deeds, who had advanced to third on an error by center fielder Rob Fischer, slid around catcher Patrick Arlis as he struggled to corral the throw.

The Buckeyes continued to pile it on in the fifth, scoring two more runs to take a staunch 5-0 lead. With one out, Harris drew a walk and then stole second base for the second time in the game. It was his 35th stolen base of the year, making him OSU’s single season record holder. He broke Roy Marsh’s record of 34, set in 1994. Dendinger then stepped to the plate after Check was retired and launched his 10th home run of the year over the left-field wall of a 1-2 pitch from Gorski.

The Fighting Illini had the first two runners on base to begin the sixth, but could not get any runs across the plate as the OSU defense picked up its play. Prenger struck out a swinging Fischer for the first out and the Buckeyes turned a breathtaking 3-6-1 double play. Trevor Frederickson sliced a line drive to Nick Swisher. The first baseman handled it on a hop, turned and delivered a laser to Trent McIlvain for a force at second. McIlvain then relayed the ball back to a covering Prenger to complete the twin killing.

In the bottom of the seventh, McIlvain lined a one-out single into center field for his only hit of the game, but it set the table for another big inning for OSU. Harris followed with a double, advancing McIlvain to third. Both were driven in by Check’s double that bounced over third baseman Luke Simmons head to give OSU a 7-0 advantage.

The Buckeyes led off the bottom of the eighth with back-to-back singles by Mayor and Caravati. Both advanced up a base on a fielder’s choice. McIlvain then laced a single to score Mayor. Harris reached first when he was hit by a Justin Olson pitch. Check then plated Caravati on an RBI groundout. Dendinger drilled a single to right field to score McIlvain, putting OSU ahead 10-0.

Gorski took the loss as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits. The right hander struck out five and walked one while falling to 1-2.