February 21, 2018

Ohio State Travels West for Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge

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Feb. 21, 2018

RELATED INFO:  2018 Team Guide | Weekly Release | 2018 Schedule | 2018 Roster | Baseball Homepage | Big Ten Baseball VIDEO: Buckeyes Preview B1G/Pac-12 Challenge | Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second straight year, the Ohio State baseball teams heads west to the desert to play in the Big Ten/Pac-12 College Baseball Challenge Thursday-Sunday in Surprise, Ariz. The Buckeyes (3-1) start the weekend with a Thursday matchup against Utah at 7 p.m. ET at Surprise Stadium, spring training home facility to the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. The Scarlet and Gray will then play No. 2 Oregon State at 3 p.m. ET Friday. Ohio State faces the Utes (0-3) for a second time at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on the back field of the stadium grounds before a final contest against the Beavers (4-0) at 11 a.m. ET Sunday in Surprise Stadium.

THE BASICS
Ohio State vs. Utah
| Thursday, Feb. 22 | 7 p.m. ET | Surprise Stadium
Live Stats | Twitter Updates

Ohio State vs. No. 2 Oregon State | Friday, Feb. 23 | 3 p.m. ET | Surprise Stadium
Live Stats | Twitter Updates | Oregon State Audio

Ohio State vs. Utah | Saturday, Feb. 24 | 6 p.m. ET | Surprise Stadium
Live Stats | Twitter Updates

Ohio State vs. No. 2 Oregon State | Sunday, Feb. 25 | 11 a.m. | Surprise Stadium
Live Stats | Twitter Updates | Oregon State Audio

ON THE BUMP
Thursday vs. Utah: LHP Connor Curlis (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. LHP Riley Pierce (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Friday vs. Oregon State: RHP Ryan Feltner (1-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. TBA
Saturday vs. Utah: RHP Adam Niemeyer (0-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. vs. RHP Tanner Thomas (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sunday vs. Oregon State: RHP Yianni Pavlopoulos (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. TBA

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. There will be no video stream available. Oregon State audio will be available for the two games against the Beavers.

LEADING OFF

  • This is the second trip to the state of Arizona for the Scarlet and Gray in the last 21 years. Ohio State played in the desert state in 2017 and 1997 too.
  • This marks the sixth trip in 135 years of Ohio State baseball the team will be playing in the state of Arizona. Ohio State is 14-15 all-time in the state of Arizona, including a 8-3 mark in neutral site games.
  • Ohio State began the 2018 campaign with a 3-1 record at the Snowbird Classic last weekend in Port Charlotte, Fla. The team defeated Wisconsin Milwaukee twice and also got a victory over Canisius.
  • Ohio State is hitting .292 as a team with 40 runs scored, 11 doubles, two home runs and 5-for-7 in stolen bases.
  • The OSU pitching staff has combined for a 3.60 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 10 walks.
  • Junior Kobie Foppe led the Buckeyes at the plate with a .500 batting average (6-for-12) with six runs scored and two stolen bases.
  • Senior Noah McGowan was named National Player of the Week after driving in a nation-best 13 RBI with two home runs and one double.
  • Senior Seth Kinker picked up a win and a save during the team’s opening day doubleheader at Charlotte Sports Park in victories over Milwaukee and Canisius.
  • Three of the nine National Player of the Week selections by Collegiate Baseball will be playing in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge ( Larnach, Oregon State; McGowan, Ohio State and Brocoff, Utah).
  • The Buckeyes are 2-2 all-time vs. Utah. The Utes won both games at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge a year ago.
  • Ohio State is 2-5 all-time vs. Oregon State. Last year, the two teams split a pair of games with Ohio State winning the first contest by a 6-1 score.
  • 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 Scarlet and Gray will rack up the frequent flyer miles, opening the 2018 season with 17-straight road games. The Buckeyes will be in the state of Florida two times and will also visit Arizona, South Carolina and North Carolina. The team will fly a combine 7,516 miles across the country over the next five weeks.
  • The Scarlet and Gray are 10-4-1 during opening weekend in the last four seasons. Last year, the Buckeyes went 2-2 at the Sunshine State Classic in Osceola County, Fla.
  • Dominic Canzone returns for his sophomore campaign after leading the Buckeyes at the plate with a .343 average last season. He was named a third team All-Big Ten selection.
  • Kinker will anchor an experienced Buckeye bullpen this spring. Kinker posted a 2.95 ERA in 58.0 innings pitched in 2017.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
UTAH
2018 Record: 0-3
Team Stats: .183, 2 2B, 3 HR, 2-for-2 SB, 4.50 ERA, 28 K, 9 BB
Top Hitter: Dominic Foscalina, .444 (4-for-9), 1 HR, 2 RBI
Top Pitcher: Tanner Thomas, 0.00 ERA, 10 K, 1 BB, 6.1 IP
Last Time Out: Swept by Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla.

OREGON STATE
2017 Record: 4-0
Team Stats: .385, 7 2B, 5 HR, 7-for-8 SB, 3.50 ERA, 20 K, 13 BB
Top Hitter: Trevor Larnach, .667 (8-for-12), 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 BB, 7 RBI
Top Pitcher: Luke Heimlich, 3.00 ERA, 1-0, 4 K, 1 BB, 6.0 IP

MCGOWAN NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Noah McGowan was named a National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball, announced Monday. McGowan powered the Buckeyes to a 3-1 record at the Snowbird Classic last weekend in Port Charlotte, Fla. He collected 13 RBI, including 12 RBI with two outs, batting .400 with a double, two home runs, six runs scored and three walks. He had four-consecutive games with at least one RBI, including a career-high six RBI in the 2018 opener against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. McGowan becomes the first Buckeye to be named National Player of the Week since Jacob Bosiokovic (2016).

SNOWBIRD CLASSIC RECAP
Ohio State went 3-1 during the opening weekend in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Buckeyes won their opener for the fifth straight year after coming from behind to defeat Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 11-7, in game one of a Friday doubleheader. Noah McGowan and Tyler Cowles combined to drive in 10 runs on five hits, while Seth Kinker earned the win with one inning of relief work and allowing one unearned run. In game two, the Buckeyes downed Cansisus, 6-4, McGowan launched the first home run by a Buckeye on the early season and drove in four more runs to put his doubleheader total an impressive 10. Ryan Feltner claimed the victory after throwing five innings and allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three strikeouts. Kinker struck out the side in the ninth to claim his first save of the season. Miscues hurt the Scarlet and Gray last Saturday against the Golden Griffs as the Buckeyes fell short, 6-5. Ohio State had the tying run on second base in the ninth, but Dominic Canzone flew out at the wall in right center to end the game. McGowan also launched a moonshot over the left field fence for his second dinger of the year. In the finale, Yianni Pavlopoulos picked up the win, working five innings and scattering two runs on six hits with two strikeouts and one walk. The OSU bats ignited for 14 hits in the 13-3 win. Ohio State improved to 21-9 all-time at the Snowbird.

BUCKEYES RANK HIGH IN NATIONAL STATS
Ohio State ranks in the Top 10 in the nation in several statistical categories, including first in double plays turned (7), sixth in base on balls (28) and ninth in runs scored (34) and doubles (11). Noah McGowan leads the country in RBI (13) and fourth in RBI per game (3.25). He is 10th in the country in runs scored (6). Dominic Canzone is 10th in runs scored (6) and 17th in walks (5). Jacob Barnwell is 10th in doubles (3), while Kobie Foppe is also 10th in runs scored (6). Tyler Cowles leads the nation in outfield assists with three after the opening weekend.

LEADING THE BIG TEN
The Buckeyes are leading the conference in runs scored (34), hits (40), RBI (32) and doubles (11). The team is second in on-base percentage (.427) and fifth in batting average (.292).

AZ BOY HOMECOMING
Junior transfer Kobie Foppe is returning to his home state this weekend in the valley of the sun. Foppe, from Phoenix, Ariz., transferred to Ohio State after playing two seasons at South Mountain CC. He was an all-state honorable selection at Pinncale High School.

LAST YEAR IN ARIZONA
The Buckeyes went 1-3 in 2017 at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge highlighted by a 6-1 upset win over Oregon State during game two of the weekend action. Yianni Pavlopoulos limited the Beavers to one run in six innings of work and Brady Cherry against the Beavers at Surprise Stadium. The Buckeyes dropped both games to Utah by scores of 12-0 and 6-4. The team dropped the finale on Sunday to the Beavers, 5-1. Jacob Barnwell led the Buckeyes at the plate, batting .455 with two doubles and a walk.