COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team heads to California for the first time since 1996 to take on No. 29 California, No. 20 Fresno State and Cal State Bakersfield on the Buckeyes’ annual Spring Break trip. The Buckeyes face California Friday through Sunday, have a day off before facing Fresno State for a pair Tuesday and Wednesday before wrapping the trip up with three at Cal State Bakersfield Thursday through Saturday.
Ohio State picked up a win over Yale but dropped a pair to Illinois State and Army last weekend in Winter Haven, Fla.
Ryan Cypret extended his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games against Army … After getting off to a slow start with a .176 batting average through the first four games, Cypret has gone 16 for his last 28 to push his average to .422 … Brad Hallberg has two hits in each of his last five games … Josh Dezse is staying hot: his three-hit day (plus two RBI and a run scored) March 13 against Army was the sixth multi-hit game of his young career. He leads the team and ranks third in the Big Ten with a .426 average … Cypret and Dezse each have a hit in 10 of 11 games this season.
OHIO STATE TODAY
The Buckeyes, at 6-5 through the first four weekends of play, have the fifth-best record in the Big Ten. First-year Ohio State coach Greg Beals and his staff are working with a completely overhauled roster, one that includes 15 newcomers and returned just three everyday starters from last season. So far the Buckeyes are hitting .328 as a team and slugging at a .437 clip – percentages that rank third and fourth in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have scored 76 runs, good for fourth in the conference while recording a .415 on-base percentage, the second-best in the Big Ten. The pitching staff is sporting a 4.73 team ERA and limiting opponents to a batting average of .262.
THE OPPONENTS THIS WEEK
California – Ranked 29th nationally by Collegiate Baseball, the Bears are off to a 10-4 start with wins over No. 17 Coastal Carolina and No. 18 Rice. Cal has a 2.23 team ERA with senior hurler Kevin Miller sporting a 0.81 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. Sophomore Tony Renda is batting .406 with five doubles and a team-leading 15 RBI.
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series with Cal, 1-2, dropping two games to the Bears in the 1991 Midwest Regional.
Fresno State – No. 20 Fresno State enters the week with an 11-2 record after taking two of three at Nebraska last weekend. The Bulldogs, 2008 NCAA champions, have a 2.72 team ERA while senior starter Greg Gonzalez is 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched. Garrett Weber is batting .333 with two triples and 10 RBI while starting all 13 games.
The games will mark the first meetings between the Buckeyes and Bulldogs.
Cal State Bakersfield – The Roadrunners are off to a 12-5 start with wins over No. 10 Arizona State and at No. 4 South Carolina in their third season of intercollegiate baseball. Cal State Bakersfield has a 2.21 team ERA with junior Brandon Van Dam leading the Roadrunners, going 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA in 20 innings pitched. Junior catcher Jeremy Rodriguez has started all 17 games, batting .394 with four doubles and 17 runs scored.
Thursday will mark the first meeting between Ohio State and Cal State Bakersfield.
DEZSE EARNS SECOND BIG TEN FOW
Josh Dezse led the team offensively in the 7-1 win over Army with three hits in four at-bats, two runs scored and two RBI. He singled in both the first and third innings and scored the first two runs of the game on Matt Streng singles. In the seventh inning he broke the game open with a bases-loaded double that gave the Buckeyes a 6-1 lead.
BUCKS WIN ONE IN WINTER HAVEN
Ohio State defeated Yale, 12-6, while dropping games to Illinois State, 12-1, and Army, 14-9, March 11-13 in Winter Haven, Fla.
BUCKEYES TAKE 3 OF 4 FROM WMU
Ohio State picked up three wins in four games in Port Charlotte, Fla. The team met Western Michigan four times as part of the Snowbird Classic, winning Feb. 25, 4-3, splitting a double header Feb, 26 with a 7-4 loss followed by a 22-6 win, and closing out the series Feb. 27 with a 4-2 victory. Some weekend highlights…
@ BIG EAST/BIG TEN CHALLENGE
Ohio State completed play at the Big East/Big Ten Challenge the opening weekend of the season and went 1-2, including an 8-7 win in 11 innings over a strong St. John’s team that had led at one point, 7-1, and already owned convincing wins over Minnesota and Michigan in the tournament. It was the first win of the Greg Beals coaching era at Ohio State. Ohio State played well in a 2-0 Game 2 loss to No. 20 Louisville and let go of a 5-0 lead in Game 1 vs. Cincinnati only to lose, 11-5.
David Fathalikhani has been a most pleasant surprise out of the bullpen with a 0.00 ERA in 7.2 IP with 6 Ks and 2 walks … Opponents are hitting just .160 against Fathalikhani … The team has lost Jared Strayer for 4-to-6 weeks with a broken bone … Josh Dezse leads the team with a .426 avg. and he also has a 3.52 ERA with two saves … Opponents are hitting just .192 off Dezse … Starters Drew Rucinski and Dean Wolosiansky have opened the season with 2.53 and 3.93 ERAs, respectively … INF starters Brad Hallberg, Ryan Cypret, Tyler Engle and Matt Streng have combined for 24 walks and only 12 strikeouts … The 22 runs the Buckeyes scored Feb. 26 against Western Michigan are a Big Ten season high … The Buckeyes’ 20 hits March 13 against Army also tied a conference season high … Cypret (5 hits March 13 vs. Army) and David Corna (6 RBI Feb. 26 vs. WMU) have recorded Big Ten season bests … The Buckeyes play their first 21 games on the road.
The Buckeyes return to Columbus for the 2011 home opener against Xavier at 6:35 p.m. March 29 before hosting Northwestern April 1-3 in the first Big Ten series of the season.