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April 2, 2006

Box Score

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Ohio State freshman left-handed pitcher J.B. Shuck took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and was backed up with 17 hits as the Buckeyes beat Iowa 15-1 Sunday at Duane Banks Field to clinch the opening series of Big Ten play, 3-1.

Shuck, from Galion, Ohio (Galion) gave up a home run to Ben Geelan to lead off the eighth inning, but retired the batters in order to get out of the inning. It was the only run allowed by the Buckeye staff as Dan Barker (So., Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) did not allow a hit in pitching the final inning.

It was the 14th time this season the Buckeyes had double-digits in hits and was the 10th game this season they scored at least 10 runs. The offense was hot right from the start.

Jacob Howell (Jr., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) took a 1-0 fastball that was a little high and deposited it over the fence in right-center field to lead off the game and give Ohio State an early 1-0 lead. It was the third career home run for the Buckeye left fielder and his first since he homered against Penn State in 2004.

The Buckeyes exploded for four runs in the top of the third inning, capped with a three-run home run by Jedidiah Stephen (Sr., Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah), his first of the year. Howell drew a walk to lead off the inning and then after e stole second and went to third one a ground out by Matt Angle (So., Whitehall, Ohio/Whitehall-Yearling), he scored on a single to right-center field by Eric Fryer (So., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg). Ronnie Bourquin (Jr., Canton, Ohio/Canton) followed with his second hit of the game to put runners at first and second for designated hitter Adam Schneider (Jr., Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura). He flied out to the corner in left field and Stephen came through with a huge two-out home run, clearing the fence in left field to give Ohio State a 5-0 lead.

The home run marked the second time this season the Buckeyes had two homers in a game. Ohio State must like pitching from the state of Iowa. It also had two home runs in a game March 11 vs. Northern Iowa in a 9-6 win in Clearwater, Fla. The team now has six home runs this season.

Another run crossed in the fourth. Justin Miller (Fr., Dayton, Va./Turner Ashby) led off the inning with a double to right-center field. A sacrifice bunt by Jason Zoeller (Jr., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) moved him to third and then Howell drove him in with a single up the middle, splitting the drawn-in infield. The Buckeyes kept Iowa off the scoreboard in the first four innings and have outscored their opposition 93-35 in the first four innings this season.

It did not stop there, however, as Ohio State scored four more runs in the fifth inning to take a 10-0 lead. Zoeller drove in the first two runs with a double to the wall in centerfield and the second two runs scored with two out on an error on second baseman Justin Toole when the ball went between his legs.

The Buckeyes put up a five-spot in the sixth inning. Fryer drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single up the middle and then with two runners on for Stephen, who went long down the left-field line for his first home run of the year, the second three-run home run by the team in the game and the third team home run of the game. Those five runs built the Buckeye lead to 15-0.

Bourquin was 4-for-4 with three RBI, while Howell was 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored four runs. Stephen finished 2-for-6 with three RBI and scored two runs.

Shuck allowed just the one hit and struck out a career-best eight without giving up a walk to improve to 4-0. Travis Sweet got the loss (1-1), allowing eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Ohio State returns to Bill Davis Stadium Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. for a non-conference game against the Miami RedHawks. The Buckeyes will welcome Illinois, the defending Big Ten regular season champion, to Columbus next weekend for a four-game series beginning Friday at 6:35 p.m.