COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State travels to State College, Pa., for a three-game Big Ten Conference series against Penn State. The two teams are in a tie for third place in the league standings with 5-4 records and just one game behind leaders Michigan State and Indiana, each of whom is 6-3. Game times are 6:35 p.m. Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
No word from the Penn State folks about any BigTenNetwork.com streams for the games. Don’t be discouraged. There are still three viable and tastefully subjective ways to follow the Buckeyes this weekend: radio broadcasts at AM 1460 ESPN and its sister audio stream at OhioStateBuckeyes.com; via Live Stats at OhioStateBuckeyes.com; and on Twitter at @BrettR1321.
Ohio State will go with its same weekend rotation for a fourth consecutive week: senior RHP Drew Rucinski (3-1; 2.38 ERA) will start Friday under the lights; sophomore RHP Brett McKinney (1-2; 5.40) will start Game 2 Saturday; and freshman Greg Greve (1-1; 6.03) will start Sunday.
Penn State will counter with sophomore RHP Steven Hill (4-2; 2.38) Friday night; sophomore RHP John Walter (4-3; 2.45) Saturday and either freshman LHP Greg Welsh (1-1; 5.59) or freshman LHP Geoff Boylston (1-0; 0.61) Sunday.
OHIO STATE vs. PENN STATE
Ohio State leads the all-time series 54-30. Penn State won the series last year to win its first-ever series at Bill Davis Stadium. After Ohio State won Game 1, 3-1, behind a complete game, four-hitter from Alex Wimmers, Penn State came back to win Game 2, 18-10, and Game 3, 14-6. Playing Game 3 was a task, as lightning and thunderstorms flirted off and on throughout the day and produced 60 minutes in weather delays. Dean Wolosiansky pitched a solid 7.0 innings in Game 3, giving up just four runs while striking out six. Brian DeLucia was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI in Game 3.
WIMMERS TIES RECORD
Alex Wimmers’ win over Penn State allowed him to tie the school record for the best start to a season at 9-0. Doug Swearingen started 9-0 for Ohio State in 1982 and Scott Lewis opened 9-0 in 2003. It would be Wimmers’ last win as a Buckeye as an injured hamstring caused him to miss three of his next four Big Ten starts.
SO FAR IN THE BIG TEN
Ohio State opened Big Ten play with a 2-1 series win over Northwestern in Columbus; lost a series by the same margin to Indiana in Week 2 and is coming off a 2-1 series win last weekend over Michigan State in Columbus.
Penn State, meanwhile, took two-of-three in Week 1 from Illinois in State College; won the series (2-1) over Northwestern in Evanston; and then hosted Purdue last week and lost the series, 2-1, with two games having to be played on Sunday because of inclement weather.
The Big Ten season will reach its midpoint at the close of this weekend. Looking forward: Ohio State will host Michigan, travel to Illinois, host Iowa and travel to Minnesota to complete its conference campaign. Penn State will have to play three of its final four weekends on the road. The Nittany Lions travel to Michigan State and Iowa the next two weekends, hosts Minnesota and then closes out the season at Michigan.
BIG TEN TEAM STATS
Looking at the statistics in Big Ten Conference games only, there are some rather notable numbers so far. Consider:
Ohio State’s lineup features six .300 or better hitters and the team is hitting .297 as a team overall. Here are some leaders at the plate:
EVEN BETTER IN THE BIG TEN
Ohio State has a better batting average and a lower ERA in Big Ten games than in all games. The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with a .335 average through nine Big Ten games and they have a 4.57 ERA. In all games, Ohio State hits at a .297 clip and has a 4.84 ERA. Individually in Big Ten contests…
OSU’s 2011 BIG TEN HONOREES
Josh Dezse – Freshman of the Week (2/21, 3/7, 4/18)
Josh Dezse – Player of the Week (4/18)
Greg Solomon- Player of the Week (4/4)
Tim Wetzel – Freshman of the Week (4/11)
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 258-218 career record and is in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach.
15th SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
Ohio State is 240-118 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .670 winning percentage. Ohio State 138-77 vs. the Big Ten Conference.
The Buckeyes host Marshall at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday before travelling to Athens for a 6:05 p.m. game Wednesday against Ohio University. Michigan then comes to Columbus for a three-game set beginning Friday at Bill Davis Stadium.