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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State hosts a key three-game series against league-leading Michigan State this weekend at Bill Davis Stadium. Game times are set for 6:35 p.m. Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

Fri. – Streaming video at BigTenNetwork.com
Sat. – Televised live on the Big Ten Network
Sun. – Streaming video at BigTenNetwork.com.

THE TWO TEAMS TODAY
Ohio State is 13-14 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, a record that places the team in a tie for fourth place. The team defeated Northwestern, 2-games-to-1, to win a series on the first Big Ten weekend of the season. Last weekend Ohio State won the first game of a road series at Indiana, 6-1, but dropped the next two games in close (5-3) and dramatically unfortunate (10-9) fashion.

Michigan State is 21-8 overall and alone in first in the Big Ten with a 5-1 record. The Spartans took two games and the series at Iowa to open Big Ten play and then swept preseason favorite Minnesota – 4-2, 2-0 and 6-4 – last weekend in East Lansing.

EARLIER THIS WEEK
Ohio State swept a doubleheader against Akron, 5-0 in Game 1 and 8-1 in Game 2, Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. Dean Wolosiansky pitched a complete game shutout in Game 1. He scattered five hits, struck out four and walked only one.

Michigan State split a pair of games with Oakland, winning the opener 7-1 and dropping Game 2, 9-7. 3B Torsten Boss had four hits and six RBI in the games and 2B Ryan Jones had four hits and five runs scored.

SERIES HISTORY
This weekend marks the 39th consecutive year the teams have met in a Big Ten series (although the 1979 series was reduced to just one game). Ohio State leads the all-time series in wins, 131-83-1. Here’s more lore:

  • The teams first met in 1928
  • Ohio State has won 19 of the last 29 series played with three Michigan State wins and seven ties
  • Ohio State has won three consecutive series with MSU gaining series wins in 2005 and 2007 (3-1)
  • Ohio State won 10 consecutive games in the series from 1993-95; Michigan State won eight consecutive from 1970-72.

LAST YEAR
Ohio State won the 2010 series in East Lansing with 10-1 and 4-3 wins in the first two games. Michigan State won Game 3, 14-7. Tyler Engle hit .384 with 5 hits in 13 at-bats. Theron Minium picked up the Game 2 win with 2.2 innings of effective relief. Drew Rucinski went 6.0 innings in Game 2, allowing just two runs. Brian DeLucia hit a three-run home run in Game 1.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Through two weekends and six games, here is what Ohio State and Michigan State are doing in a few key stat categories in Big Ten Conference play only:

Batting: OSU T2nd (.308); MSU 7th (.282)
SLG%: MSU 3rd (.415); OSU 6th (.398)
OBP: OSU 4th (.382); MSU 8th (.348)
ERA: MSU 2nd (2.72); OSU 6th (4.61)
Opp. BA: MSU 5th (.276); OSU 10th (.311)
Walks Allowed: OSU T3rd (17); MSU 7th (22)
Fielding Pct.: OSU 7th (.957); MSU 9th (.956)

WETZEL NABS BIG TEN HONOR
Freshman centerfielder Tim Wetzel was named Big Ten Conference co-Freshman of the Week this week. The Mayfield, Ohio, native hit .466 for the week (7-for-15) with five runs scored. Wetzel had the first three-hit game of his career and first multi-RBI game Sunday against Indiana while extending his hitting streak to six consecutive games.

Ohio State’s 2011 Big Ten honorees:
Josh Dezse – Freshman of the Week (2/21, 3/7)
Greg Solomon- Player of the Week (4/4)
Tim Wetzel – Freshman of the Week (4/11)

ON THE BUMP
Both team’s starters are set for this weekend:

G1 – RHP Drew Rucinski vs. RHP Kurt Wunderlich
G2 – RHP Brett McKinney vs. RHP Tony  Bucciferro  
G3 – RHP Greg Greve vs. RHP David Garner.

– Rucinski is 3-1 with a Big Ten best (all games) 1.83 ERA … pitched 6.0 innings (1 ER; 5 Ks, 1 BB) 4/1 vs. NU and went 7.0 innings with 5 Ks, zero walks and no earned runs allowed in win 4/8 over Indiana … 20-11 career record.
– Making his second Big Ten start, McKinney is 1-2 with a 4.63 ERA this season … pitched 5.2 innings 4/9 at Indiana and gave up 4 ER but struck out 5 and did not issue a walk.
– Greve is 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA so far this season … ERA drops to 4.15 in Big Ten games … gave up 2 ER in 4.0 innings in last start, 4/10 at Indiana.

TOP 20 ERAs
Michigan State is the fifth Ohio State opponent with a Top 20 (nationally) team ERA. The low five includes No. 5 CSU Bakersfield (2.15), No. 14 Louisville and Fresno State (2.58 each), No. 17 MSU (2.70) and No. 20 California (2.83).

BUCKEYE BATS
Greg Solomon leads the team with a .382 overall batting average and a .500 average in Big Ten games … Matt Streng is hitting .417 in the Big Ten and .299 overall … Ryan Cypret (.366) and Tim Wetzel (.360) also have fine averages in Big Ten games.

MORE NOTES
Ohio State is averaging 980 paying fans through its first seven home games … Greg Solomon, Matt Streng and Ryan Cypret are tied for the team lead with nine multi-hit games … Solomon leads the Bucks with six multiple-RBI games while Cypret is tied for second with five … Rucinski’s 1.83 ERA leads the Big Ten … Ohio State’s .290 batting average and .372 on-base percentage each rank fourth in the Big Ten … The Buckeyes are 5-2 in games played at Bill Davis Stadium … the team is 12-1 when leading after six innings … Ohio State also is 10-3 when scoring at least five runs.

RPI INFO
Michigan State is the highest-ranked Big Ten team in this week’s RPI at No. 61. Indiana is No. 96 with Ohio State third-highest among Big Ten teams at No. 114.

HEAD COACH GREG BEALS
Head coach Greg Beals is just the 11th head coach in Ohio State history and only the fourth in the last 60 years. He has a 256-216 career record and is in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach.

15th SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
Ohio State is 238-116 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .670 winning percentage. Ohio State is 136-76 vs. the Big Ten Conference.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes host Bowling Green at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday before travelling to Penn State for a three-game set next weekend.