April 26, 2018

Ohio State Hosts No. 21 Minnesota this Weekend in Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team is set for another big weekend of Big Ten play, hosting No. 21 Minnesota Friday-Sunday at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes (27-11, 8-4 B1G) sit in fourth place in the Big Ten standings behind the Golden Gophers (26-11, 9-2 B1G), who are in second in the standings. The Scarlet and Gray have won seven of their last eight games and return to the diamond after winning a home series over No. 8 Indiana last weekend in Columbus.

Minnesota travels to campus as the 21st-ranked team in the country by D1Baseball.com. The series will feature the two top hitting teams in the conference. The Gophers lead the league in hitting at .304 and the Buckeyes are second with a .293 average. Minnesota is third in team ERA (3.50) followed by the Scarlet and Gray in fourth (3.63). Both teams also rank in the Top 40 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings released Wednesday.

WEEKEND ROTATION
Friday: LHP Connor Curlis (5-2, 3.09 ERA) vs. RHP Reggie Meyer (3-2, 3.51 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Ryan Feltner (4-2, 4.39 ERA) vs. RHP Patrick Fredrickson (5-0, 1.68 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Adam Niemeyer (3-2, 5.79 ERA) vs. RHP Sam Thoresen (1-2, 5.02 ERA)

FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats links can be found by going to the schedule page of Ohio State Baseball on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter via @OhioState_BASE. The games will be streamed on Buckeye Vision ($) and can also be heard on AM 1460 ESPN. Matt Andrews and Bob Spears will have the radio call.

PROMOTIONAL CALENDAR
Friday: Zach Farmer Memorial Game, Postgame Fireworks
Saturday: Family & Friends Packs Available
Sunday: Family & Friends Packs Available

LEADING OFF

– Ohio State is 27-11 overall and 8-4 in league play heading into weekend No. 11 of 2018.

– According to Baseball America, Ohio State (27-11, 8-4) has the fourth-biggest turnaround in the country after a 22-34 campaign in 2017.

– The team is 12-3 at home in 2018. The Buckeyes are 4-4 against Top 25 teams. Ohio State is 2-1 vs. nationally ranked opponents this season in Columbus.

– The Buckeyes return to Big Ten action winning two of three games vs. No. 8 Indiana in Columbus. It marked the first Top 10 league series win for the Buckeyes in this century.

– Ohio State is No. 39 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, while Minnesota is No. 40.

– The Buckeyes are first in hits (392) and runs (272), second in scoring (7.2) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.40) and third in walks (186), doubles (71), on-base (.388) and slugging (.433).

– The OSU pitching staff has combined for a 2.57 ERA In the last 10 games.

– Senior Noah McGowan is leading the Big Ten in RBI (47) and doubles (17). He is second in hits (61) and batting (.404) and third in slugging (.689).

– Dominic Canzone is third in runs scored (40) and hits (55).

– Senior reliever Seth Kinker is the Big Ten leader in ERA (1.16). He is 5-1 with nine saves in 18 appearances.

– Junior left-handed starting pitcher Connor Curlis is fifth in the league in strikeouts (57) followed by junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Feltner in sixth with 55 strikeouts.

– The 2018 Buckeyes return 22 letterwinners this season, including 13 members from the 2016 Big Ten championship team. The team welcomed 10 newcomers in the fall.

– The Buckeyes are guided by eighth-year head coach Greg Beals. He is 252-190-1 at the helm of the Buckeyes. He holds a 495-392-1 in his 25th season overall.

– The team had 26 OSU Scholar-Athletes for the 2017-18 academic year.

ZACH FARMER MEMORIAL GAME
The Zach Farmer Memorial Game will be on Friday night vs. the Golden Gophers. In the summer of 2015, the Buckeyes lost their teammate and friend Zach Farmer after his battle with leukemia. During his fight, Zach helped raise awareness for the bone marrow registry through Be The Match, starting a campus drive with help from his Buckeye teammates. The organization provides marrow transplants in the United States from volunteer unrelated donors to leukemia patients. Two years ago, Minnesota’s pitching coach Todd Oakes passed away after a courageous battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Oakes spent 18 years with the Maroon and Gold. On Friday, the two teams will honor both Farmer and Oakes.

#VOTE4KINKER
Seth Kinker is one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award, the organization announced Tuesday. Kinker, who has made 97 career appearances and leads the Big Ten in ERA at 1.16, is majoring in sport industry. He is from Huntington, W. Va., and Cabell-Midland High School. Fans can vote for Seth Kinker on the award’s official website at www.seniorclassaward.com through May 28. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. This year’s Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2018 College World Series® in June.

OHIO STATE AS OF LATE
The team is 7-3 in the last 10 games. The Buckeye pitching staff has collected a 2.57 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 91.0 innings of work. Noah McGowan is hitting .390 with six runs, four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI. Dillon Dingler is batting .324 with two doubles, one triple and one home run. Seth Kinker has thrown 11.2 scoreless innings of relief with seven strikeouts in five appearances.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
MINNESOTA
2018 Record: 26-11 (9-2 B1G)
Team Stats: .304, 71 2B, 24 HR, 33-46 in SB
Top Hitter: Terrin Vavra, .382, 9 2B, 4 HR, 33 RBI
Top Pitcher: Patrick Fredrickson, 5-0, 1.68 ERA, 40 K in 53.2 IP
Last Time Out: Defeated South Dakota State, 6-2, on Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minn.

OHIO STATE VS. GOPHERS
Minnesota leads the all-time series vs. the Buckeyes, 93-91-1. The Gophers swept the Buckeyes to begin Big Ten play a year ago. Brady Cherry is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with two doubles in his career vs. the Gophers. Seth Kinker has tossed 5.1 scoreless innings in four career appearances against Minnesota.

22ND SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
Ohio State is 358-185 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .655 winning percentage. Ohio State is 184-113 vs. the Big Ten Conference at home.

HOME, SWEET HOME

– Ohio State is hitting .309 with 27 doubles, six triples and 10 home runs.

– The team is outscoring opponents, 110-69, in 15 games at Bill Davis Stadium.

– Noah McGowan is hitting .431 with seven doubles, two home runs and 17 RBI. Dominic Canzone has scored 18 times, while Conner Pohl has driven in 15 runs at Bill Davis Stadium.

– The OSU pitching staff has combined for 3.36 ERA with 136 strikeouts in 142.0 IP in Columbus. Kinker is 3-0 with 22 strikeouts and has not walked a batter in 20.2 innings of relief work.

RPI UPDATE
Ohio State sits at No. 39 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, which were released on Wednesday. The Buckeyes are the second-highest ranked team in the Big Ten. Ohio State has five wins over Top 50 RPI teams.

SERIES WIN OF THE CENTURY
The Buckeyes picked up their first Top 10 league series win of the century last time out against No. 8 Indiana, winning two of three games. After being shut out 4-0 in the opener, the Buckeyes rallied to a 5-4 win in game two and won the series finale, 6-5 in 12 innings last Sunday at Bill Davis Stadium. Noah McGowan was the hero for both games. He hit the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the seventh in game two before hitting a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the 12th vs. the Hoosiers. Seth Kinker claimed a win and a save over Indiana, throwing a combined 7.1 scoreless with four strikeouts in two appearances.

PENN STATE ROAD SWEEP
The Buckeyes claimed their first conference sweep since the 2016 campaign April 13-14 at Penn State. Ohio State won game one, 1-0, April 13 before taking both games of a doubleheader April 14. The Buckeyes claimed a 5-1 win in game one and defeated the Nittany Lions, 19-8, in the nightcap at Lubrano Park. Dillon Dingler hit .500 (6-for-12) with four runs scored, one double and one home run. The OSU pitching staff had a 3.00 ERA over the weekend.

IN BIG TEN PLAY
Ohio State is fourth in league games in batting average (.279) and team ERA (3.55). Noah McGowan is second in hits (20), sixth in slugging (.755) and eighth in batting (.408). Seth Kinkeris third in ERA (1.08) and second in saves (5).

STREAKY BUCKEYES
Kobie Foppe
 is on a 21-game reached base streak. It’s tied for the longest streak by a Buckeye this season (Tyler Cowles, 21). Foppe’s on-base percentage is .469 during the stretch and has a .349 average with 15 runs scored and 11 RBI.

Other reached base streaks:
McGowan (16)
Cherry (8)
West (7)
Canzone (5)

POWER RANGERS
The team is getting productive and powerful hitting up and down the lineup. Five players have 10 or more extra-base hits. The power rangers include:
McGowan: 17 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 47 RBI
Canzone: 10 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 27 RBI
Cowles: 9 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 33 RBI
Cherry: 10 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 25 RBI
Dingler: 6 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI

BIG IMPROVEMENTS
After 38 games in 2018, vs. the first 38 in 2017, several individuals are enjoying significant statistical improvements:

  • Noah McGowan is batting 185points higher (.219 in 2017, .404 in 2018) and his slugging is 275 points higher (.414 in 2017, .689 in 2018). He has 28 more RBI in 38 games than his season RBI total a year ago.
  • Tyler Cowles is batting 145 points higher (.191 in 2017, .336 in 2018) and his slugging is 167 points higher (.330 in 2017, .358 in 2018). He has 18 more RBI in 38 games than his season RBI total a year ago.
  • Dominic Canzone is two hits shy of his season total in 2017 (57 in 2017, 55 in 2018). He already has 18 more runs scored than his 2017 season total (22).
  • As a team, Ohio State has collected 90 more hits than it did this time last year (392) and has scored 88 more runs than it did this time a season ago (272).

TO THE BULLPEN
The OSU bullpen has combined for 3.08 ERA with 129 strikeouts in 146.0 innings pitched. The Buckeye relievers have combined for a 2.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2018. The bullpen is holding opponents to a .254 batting average out of in in 38 games.

NATIONAL STAT RANKINGS
Ohio State ranks in the Top 50 in multiple statistical categories, including 28th in scoring (7.2), 36th in batting (.293), 46th in slugging (.433), 47th in on-base (.388) and 49th in ERA (3.63). Seth Kinker is fourth in the nation in ERA (1.16) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (13.33). Noah McGowan is 11th in doubles (17), 12th in batting (.404) and 18th in RBI (47).

IT SHOULD BE NOTED…

– Ohio State has outscored its opponents, 58-36, in the last 10 games.

– The Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents, 46-24 in the opening inning. The team is 9-0 when scoring 10 or more runs and 11-2 vs. left-handed starting pitchers.

– The Scarlet and Gray are 21-1 when leading after the sixth inning and 23-0 when leading after the eighth inning.

– Ohio State has an impressive 94 two-out RBI through 38 games. Noah McGowan has 21 and Tyler Cowles has 17 RBI with two outs on the board.

– Opposing hitters have just a .123 average (7-for-57) with two outs against Connor Curlis.

– The Buckeyes are second in the league in overall wins (27).

– Kinker has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings of relief work on the mound.

– Austin Woodby has not allowed a run in his last three appearances out of the bullpen.

– Canzone has 112 career hits in 87 games played. He is hitting .586 (17-for-35) with two outs this season.

– McGowan is batting .442 (23-for-52) with runners in scoring positon. He is currently on a six-game hit streak.

– Kinker is five appearances shy of the OSU career appearances record (97).

– Beals is five wins shy of 500 in his coaching career.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes hit the road next week with a five-day road trip. The team will play a midweek game at Ball State May 2 before traveling to Champaign, Ill., for a three-game set against Illinois May 4-6.