COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team has already clinched a spot in the 2018 Big Ten Tournament, but there is still work to do for the boys. The Buckeyes (33-18, 13-8 B1G) will look to build momentum before heading to Omaha, Neb., next week with their final conference series at Michigan State Thursday-Saturday in East Lansing, Mich. The series begins at 4:05 p.m. Thursday at McLane Stadium at Kobs Fields. The middle game is set for 4:05 p.m. Friday with the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Saturday. The first two games vs. the Spartans (18-29, 9-11 B1G) will be televised live on BTN.
The Scarlet and Gray stand at No. 31 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, which were released Wednesday. The Buckeyes have won four of their last five league series and are tied for fourth in the Big Ten standings. The Top 8 teams will advance to the 2018 Big Ten Tournament May 23-27 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
Thursday: LHP Connor Curlis (7-3, 3.72 ERA) vs. RHP Ethan Landon (3-6, 4.38 ERA)
Friday: RHP Ryan Feltner (4-4, 5.05 ERA) vs. RHP Mason Erla (5-4, 4.06 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Adam Niemeyer (3-2, 5.22 ERA) vs. Mike Mokma (1-4, 4.99 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 first two games will be televised live on BTN. Mike Monaco and Danan Hughes will have the call on Thursday. Kevin Kugler and Scott Pose will be on the call for Friday. The series vs. the Spartans can also be heard on the radio at AM 1460 ESPN. Matt Andrews and Bob Spears will have the call.
– Ohio State is 33-18 overall and 13-8 in Big Ten play heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
– The Buckeyes are tied for fourth in the league standings with Illinois, but hold the tiebreaker over the Illini (29-17, 13-8). Minnesota is in first place (35-13, 16-4) followed by Michigan (32-16, 15-5) and Purdue (31-18, 14-6).
– The Buckeyes have advanced to the Big Ten Tournament seven of the last eight years under head coach Greg Beals.
– Last weekend, the Buckeyes took two of three games vs. third-place Purdue in Columbus. The team won game one, 4-2, last Friday and claimed a 16-6 victory in the series finale last Sunday, stunning Purdue with 15 unanswered runs in the final home game of the year.
– According to Baseball America, Ohio State has had the fourth-best turnaround in the country after finishing 22-34 overall in 2017.
– Beals claimed his 500th career win last Friday against Purdue in Columbus. His career record sits at 501-399-1.
– Senior reliever Seth Kinker broke the career appearances record last Friday night against the Boilermakers. He currently has 104 career appearances and leads the Big Ten with a 1.15 ERA. He is tied for the league-lead in saves with 13 this season.
– Ohio State is 141-91-1 all-time vs. the Spartans and hold a 61-46 record in East Lansing, Mich.
– The Buckeyes are batting .293 as a team, good for second in the league. The Buckeyes are second in scoring (6.9).
– Kinker is third in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (12.50) and fourth in the country in ERA (1.15).
– Noah McGowan ranks in the Top 10 in 10 different offensive categories, including first in doubles (19), second in RBI (54), third in total bases (119), fifth in batting (.374), slugging (.626) and on-base percentage (.466), sixth in home runs (9) and walks (33) and seventh in runs scored (44).
– Dominic Canzone is second in hits (74), fifth in doubles (15) and sixth in runs scored (46). Kobie Foppe is ninth in on-base percentage (.441) and 10th in the league in batting (.337). He leads the conference with 13 sacrifice bunts. Conner Pohl is seventh in RBI (47), while Tyler Cowles is eighth in doubles (14).
– The OSU pitching staff ranks sixth in the conference with a 4.47 ERA. The OSU pitchers have struck out 398 batters, which is second in the league. Ryan Feltner is third with 73 strikeouts, while Connor Curlis is eighth with 67 strikeouts. Curlis is tied for the league lead with seven victories. Kyle Michalik is the Big Ten leader in appearances with 27 followed by Kinker with 25 games under his belt in 2018.
– The Big Ten Tournament is set for May 23-27 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The top eight teams in the conference will battle for the tournament crown. Ohio State won the 2016 tournament last time it was held in Omaha.
Seth Kinker is one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award. Kinker, who has made 104 career appearances and leads the Big Ten in ERA at 1.15 is majoring in sport industry. The Buckeyes are 22-3 when Kinker pitches in a game for the Scarlet and Gray this season. 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.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans return home after dropping two of three games at Minnesota last weekend in Minneapolis. Michigan State won the opener over the 16th-ranked Gophers, 6-5. The Spartans (9-11) are tied for eighth in the league standings with Maryland (9-11), who holds the tiebreaker over the Spartans. Michigan State is hitting .239 as a team with 46 doubles, 17 home runs and 89-for-115 in stolen bases. Justin Antoncic is hitting .278 with six doubles, 15 RBI and 21 walks. The Green and White pitching staff has collected a 4.56 ERA with 374 strikeouts in 414.1 innings of work. Mitchell Tyranski is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 36.1 innings on the mound. He earned the win over the Gophers last week, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings with six strikeouts last Friday at Siebert Field.
LAST TIME VS. THE SPARTANS
Ohio State fell in two of three games during the 2017 campaign in East Lansing, Mich. The Buckeyes won the finale, 13-8, at Kobs Field. Dominic Canzone went 4-for-6 with a run scored, double, triple, three RBI and two stolen bases.
BUCKEYES VS. THE SPARTANS
Head coach Greg Beals is 11-9 all-time vs. the Spartans at Ohio State. Dominic Canzone is batting .545 (6-for-11) with three runs scored, one double, one triple, one home run and four RBI vs. the Spartans. Conner Pohl is hitting .444 (4-for-9) with two runs scored, double and RBI vs. the Spartans. Kyle Michalik has a 1.04 career ERA in eight appearances vs. Michigan State.
Ticket punched to B1G Tournament in Omaha. ✔️
— Ohio State Baseball (@OhioState_BASE) May 14, 2018
OHIO STATE AS OF LATE
The team is 8-7 in the last 15 games. The team is hitting .277 with 27 doubles, eight home runs and 81 RBI. Kobie Foppe is batting .345 (19-for-55) with 12 runs scored, nine walks and 11 RBI. Jacob Barnwell has a .314 average (16-for-51) with 14 runs scored, three doubles and eight walks. Noah West has driven in 16 RBI over the last 15, while Tyler Cowles is slugging .541 with five doubles, on triple and three home runs.
2018 SENIOR CLASS
The 2018 senior class was recognized before first pitch last Sunday as part of Senior Day. The 2018 seniors include Bo Coolen, Tyler Cowles, Curtiss Irving, Seth Kinker, Noah McGowan, Kyle Michalik, Adam Niemeyer, Yianni Pavlopoulos and Austin Woodby. 2018 seniors have won 164 games the past five years, including 83 contests at Bill Davis Stadium. This group helped guide the Scarlet and Gray to the 2016 Big Ten Tournament title and the team’s 20th NCAA appearance.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Tickets for the 2018 Big Ten Tournament May 23-27 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., are on sale now. Tickets for the tournament can be purchased at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha starting one and a half hours prior to the start of the first game each day. Tickets are now on sale for all-session tickets, single-game tickets and group tickets. Please call the MECA Box Office (800-745-3000) or visit Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com.
– Ohio State is 6-3 in league road games in 2018.
– The Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents, 54-34, in the opening inning. The team is 12-1 when scoring 10 or more runs.
– The Scarlet and Gray are 25-1 when leading after the sixth inning and 28-0 when leading after the eighth inning. The Buckeyes are a combined 9-0 when scoring in either the sixth or seventh inning.
– Ohio State has tallied 113 two-out RBI. Noah McGowan has a team-high 22 RBI and Tyler Cowles has 18 RBI with two outs on the board.
– Opposing hitters have just a .158 average (12-for-76) with two outs against Connor Curlis.
– The Buckeyes are third in the league in overall wins (33).
– Dominic Canzone has 131 career hits in 100 career games, which leads all active Buckeyes.
– McGowan has recorded at least one walk in nine of the last 10 games. He currently has a team-high 10-game reached base streak. McGowan is one hit shy of 100 in his career.
– Seth Kinker ranks second in career ERA (2.04) and only trails Buckeye legendary pitcher Steve Arlin (2.01).
– McGowan is batting .369 (24-for-65) with runners in scoring positon.
– Ryan Feltner is nine strikeouts shy of 200 in his career.
– Tyler Cowles leads the Buckeyes with a seven-game hit streak. He has three home runs in his last five games.