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April 26, 2002

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Ohio State returns to conference play welcoming Purdue to Bill Davis Stadium for a three game Big Ten series this weekend. The Buckeyes are 11-4 and sit atop the league standings, while the Boilermakers have a 9-7 record and are currently fifth, by just percentage points.

The Buckeyes are 23-11-1 record overall after falling to Wooster 9-7 on Wednesday. The Fighting Scots were the No. 1 team in NCAA Division III. Purdue won at Xavier, 2-1, on Wednesday night to improve to 19-19 overall.

Ohio State took two of the three games last weekend at Indiana, the Buckeyes extended their lead to two games over Indiana, which is now tied with Michigan State for second place in the conference race that has reached its mid-way point.

Doug Deeds continues to lead the Buckeyes, which are batting .309 as a team. Deeds has a .403 batting average and leads the team with eight home runs after launching a shot to right in the bottom of the seventh inning against Wooster on Wednesday. The Buckeye pitching staff continues to lead the Big Ten with a 4.15 ERA. Nate Smith continues to lead the league with a 1.25 ERA overall and 0.82 in conference games. He is expected to go against Purdue’s ace Chadd Blasko Friday night.

The Buckeyes are not ranked in any of the three polls this week but are receiving votes (36th) in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN coaches poll. The Big Ten Race
Ohio State took two of three games last weekend at Indiana to improve to 11-4 and extend its lead to two games over the second-place Hoosiers, who are now tied with Michigan State with 9-6 records. Minnesota is in fourth place with an 8-6 record and Purdue is in fifth place by just percentage points with a 9-7 mark. The Boilermakers join Michigan and Iowa as the only Big Ten schools that have not lost a game to the weather. Everyone else has played 15 games, with the exception of Minnesota, which has played only 14 games after getting snowed out last Sunday vs. Illinois. There are four more weeks of converence play meaning this is the midway point of the season. Indiana has the best overall record among Big Ten teams at 26-9.

About Purdue
The Boilermakers are 9-7 in the Big Ten after losing three of four games at home to Iowa last weekend. Purdue is 19-19 overall after defeating Xavier in Cincinnati on Wednesday. The team has a .274 batting average, led by Adam Fazio, who is batting .345. He also leads the team with 25 RBI. Daniel Underwood and David Harrell each have four home runs to account for eight of the 17 total hit by the Boilermakers. Purdue’s pitching staff has an ERA of 5.38 and is lead by Chadd Blasko, who has 67 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings. He has a 5-3 record, a 2.67 ERA and has a scoreless streak of 21 1/3 innings.

Against the Boilermakers
Ohio State has an all-time record of 113-47-1 against the Boilermakers, but the two teams have not played in the regular season since sweeping Purdue in the 1999 season. Ohio State beat Purdue, 9-8, in the 2000 Big Ten Tourament, which is the last time the two schools met on the diamond. The last Boilermaker victory against Ohio State was a 3-2 score in the 1995 Big Ten Tournament at Ohio State. The Buckeyes preserved a season split by beating Purdue 8-3 later in the tournament. Each team won twice in the regular season that year. There have only been two other regular season meetings between OSU and Purdue since 1995, both were four game sweeps (1998 and 1999) by the Buckeyes.

Road Warriors Return Home
Despite playing 21 of the first 35 games on the road thus far, Ohio State has posted a 15-5-1 away from Bill Davis Stadium this season. The Buckeyes played 14 (10-3-1) of their first 17 games outside of Columbus and then went to Homestead, Fla. for six games, where they went 4-2. After a nine-game homestand, Ohio State has played seven (5-2) of its next nine games away from home.

Wednesday’s game vs. Wooster was the first of six home games for Ohio State, which continues against with four games vs. Purdue this weekend and Youngstown State next Wednesday. The Buckeyes will then return to the road for conference series at Michigan and Michigan State before closing out the Big Ten schedule at home May 17-19 against Minnesota. Ohio State will have finished the year with only 25 homes games compared to 29 games on the road.

Todd Eyeing OSU Win No. 600
Ohio State coach Bob Todd won his 700th career game earlier this season against Detroit on March 16. Now in his 15th year at OSU, he is within eight victories of winning his 600th game at Ohio State. Todd has a 592-289-2 record and is already the winningest baseball coach in Buckeye history, doing that with his 479th win on May 5, 1999 vs. Pittsburgh. He won 500th game on March 19, 2000 against Oregon State. Todd has a career record of 716-371-2 in his 19th season as a head coach, having previously coached at Kent.

Live on the Internet
Fans can follow the Buckeyes live on the Internet at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Broadcasts by WOSU-AM Radio from all games can be heard by clicking on a link on that web site. For home games, fans can also catch the broadcast by OSU student radio, The Underground at www.underground.fm. A live box score is also available on the Ohio State Athletics web site for all home games.

Wednesday Woes
With the loss to Wooster on Wednesday, the Buckeyes have now lost all three Wednesday games this season. Oakland surprised the Buckeyes by winning 10-5 on April 10 and then Dayton did it to the Buckeyes on April 17, sneaking out of Columbus with a 4-3 victory. Wooster, the top-ranked team in Division III and coached by Tim Pettorini, the father of OSU designated hitter/third baseman Terry Pettorini, beat Ohio State 9-7 this past Wednesday. Remaining Wednesday dates for the Buckeyes include Youngstown State (May 1), Miami, Ohio (May 8) and Cleveland State (May 15).

Wooster Wins Wednesday
Wooster scored twice in the top of the eighth inning to break a 7-7 tie to knock off Ohio State 9-7 Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium. It was the third straight Wednesday night loss for the Buckeyes.

Bill Daugherty singled to left-center field to score Luke Ullman and Jared Treadway to give the Fighting Scots the two-run lead in the top of the eighth inning.

Ohio State had tied the game, 7-7, in the bottom of the seventh on solo home runs by Doug Deeds and Terry Pettorini. Wooster would have dominated the game if it were not for four Buckeye home runs.

Joining Deeds and Pettorini in going deep were Paul Farinacci, which gave Ohio State a 3-1 lead in the third, and Christian Snavely, who pulled the Buckeyes within 7-4 in the sixth. It was the fourth game this season and the second time in the last six games, that OSU batters have had at least four homers in a game.

Snavely finished 3-for-5 from the plate, scoring once with three RBI and Pettorini finished 2-for-5 with the home run. Chris Hanners, who gave up the two Wooster runs in the eighth, his only inning of the game, fell to 1-2 on the year. Ohio State started 2-0 Matt Davis and went with a total of five pitchers.

Multiple Hit Games
Christian Snavely had three hits Wednesday night against Wooster. It was his fourth three-hit and 14th multiple hit game of the season. He has six games with at least three hits this year. Doug Deeds is the team leader with 15 mulitple hit games.

Remembering Taylor
The Ohio State baseball team is wearing a black circle patch with a white No. 27 on its right sleeve to remember former Buckeye baseball All-American Fred Taylor. Taylor, who passed away Jan. 6, 2002 after a long illness, was the first baseball All-American from Ohio State in 1950. The former first baseman is probably more recognized as coach of the Ohio State men’s basketball team from 1959-76. Five of his teams earned NCAA Tournament berths (1960, ’61, ’62, ’68 and ’71) with four of those advancing to the Final Four (1960, ’61, ’62 and ’68). His 1960 team won the National Championship. The Buckeyes also made history under Taylor by winning an unmatched five-consecutive Big Ten titles (1960-64).

Rain Cancels Game Four
Rain forced the cancellation of last Sunday’s game four between Ohio State and Indiana. Heavy rain entered the area early Sunday morning and continued into the afternoon forcing the cancellation of the series finale.

OSU Wins 3-2 in Comeback
Ohio State scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Indiana 3-2 in the second game of a doubleheader and avoid what would have been just the first doubleheader sweep by a Big Ten opponent since 2000.

Ohio State manufactured a pair of runs to take the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Drew Anderson drew a walk to lead off the inning and then stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Paul Farinacci. Mike Rabin tied the game 2-2 on a double to leftfield and later scored when Christian Snavely singled to short rightfield.

Ohio State jumped out to the early 1-0 lead, but Indiana came back to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning.

Rabin finished the game 2-for-3 with the game-tying RBI and Snavely was 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI. Ohio State and Indiana each had six hits and the Buckeyes won despite two errors.

Scott Lewis pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing both Hoosier runs on six hits. He also had seven strikeouts and just one walk in improving to 4-2 with the 109-pitch victory. Brandon Steen came on to get the final out of the game to earn his fourth save of the season.

A loss to Indiana in game two would have been the first doubleheader sweep in conference play since the Buckeyes lost both games on April 15, 2000 at Michigan.

Comeback Falls Short
Indiana shortstop Eric Blakeley’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave the Hoosiers a 5-4 victory in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday against Ohio State.

Ohio State scored twice in the top of the seventh to tie the score 4-4 thanks to an RBI single through the right side by Doug Dendinger. A double down the leftfield line Drew Anderson scored Joe Wilkins, but the Buckeyes stranded runners at second and third.

Those were just two of 11 runners stranded by Ohio State in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Buckeyes had stranded a dozen runners in the 14-11 victory over Indiana on Friday.

Indiana’s first four runs were the responsibility of designated hitter Joe Kemp, who knocked in two runs in the first and the second two runs in the sixth inning. He finished the day 2-for-3 with four of five RBI for the Hoosiers. Blakeley was also 2-for-3 with his game winning RBI.

OSU Scores 10 in Third Inning to Beat Indiana 14-11
Joe Wilkins had a two-run homer in the third inning to give Ohio State the lead as the Buckeyes never looked back in a 14-11 victory over Indiana April 19 in the first of a four-game Big Ten series.

Doug Deeds was 3-for-5 with three RBI. Drew Anderson and Christian Snavely were each 3-for-6.

Ohio State jumped all over Indiana to start the game, taking a 4-0 lead in the first frame. But just as the Buckeyes sent 10 hitters to the plate in the first, Indiana would also bat around. The Hoosiers scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take the 5-4 lead.

After going down in order in the second, Ohio State batted through the order again in the third inning to score 10 times on 10 hits. Eight singles by Buckeye batters fueled the big inning ignited by Wilkins’ home run over the leftfield fence. When the inning was done, Ohio State led 14-5.

Indiana got one run back on a solo home run by Kemp, who sent a shot over the fence in left-centerfield for his third round-tripper of the season. The Hoosiers added another run in the bottom of the seventh after a home run to centerfield by shortstop Eric Blakeley. He added a two-run shot in the eighth and the Hoosiers scored two more times in the ninth before falling 14-11.

E.J. Laratta pitched 6 1/3 innings to improve to 6-1.

Rabin Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Mike Rabin was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday (April 22) after going 6-for-9 (.667) in the three games in Bloomington, Ind., scoring three times and knocking in four RBI. The freshman from West Chester, Ohio, hit an RBI double in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader that tied the game in the bottom of the seventh.

Including the game vs. Dayton on April 17, he finished the week 8-for-11 (.727), scoring four times, while batting in four runs. He also walked four times and did not strike out in the four games for an on-base percentage of .800. He was perfect on the base paths with two stolen bases. In his last 10 games, he is batting .412 (14-for-34).

Rabin is now batting .352 on the season, which is third best on the team. He has started the last eight games in left field and is batting .480 in those starts after batting only .283 up to that point of the season. Rabin has started a total of 19 games, but in 14 starts in left, he is batting .419.

Wilkins Misses Cycle but Hits Four Times in Game One Win
In the first game at Indiana last weekend, catcher Joe Wilkins was just a triple shy of becoming just the first batter to hit for the cycle since Steve Caravati did that against Michigan State in 1999. Wilkins had a double in the first inning a home run and a single in the third and a second single in the seventh. He finished 4-for-6 with four runs batted in after flying out in the fourth and striking out in the ninth. It was his 11th multi-hit game of the season and his 10th multiple RBI game this season.

The Buckeyes almost had three players hit for the cycle in the 38-15 victory over Toledo earlier this season. Drew Anderson missed hitting for the cycle by a home run and two others also missed hitting for the cycle. Nick Swisher needed a home run, while Doug Deeds needed a single.

Wilkins was 6-for-13 (.462) last week with a team-high five RBI. He now has 32 RBI to lead the Buckeyes. He is batting .380 in the 15 Big Ten games with 15 RBI.

Dendinger Walks into Second
Senior first baseman Doug Dendinger moved into second place on the Ohio State all-time walks list. After not drawing a base on balls in the four games at Iowa, Dendinger walked three times in the Friday 14-11 victory at Indiana to up his career walk total to 126. He now trails only Greg Mohler (1981-84), who walked 136 times in his career. Dendinger has 31 walks this season to lead the team and the Big Ten. He did not walk against Wooster.

Steen Plays in 62nd Game, Earns Fourth Save of Season
Brandon Steen made 62nd appearance Wednesday night against Wooster to move out of a four-way tie and into eighth place on the school’s career appearance list. Steen pitched the ninth inning but gave up no hits or runs in the loss to Wooster. He did strike out one.

Steen earned his fourth save last Saturday in Indiana when he came into the game to record the final out with the tying run in scoring position. He got a flyout to end the game and preserve Ohio State’s seventh-inning comeback victory, 3-2.

He moved past Bob Spears (1993-96), Mark Mesewicz (1989-92) and Bill Wertz (1986-89) and now trails Justin Fry (1995-99) by just two appearances for seventh place.

Steen earned his fourth save of the season last Satruday in the 3-2 win over Indiana. It was his ninth save of his career after getting five a year ago. The four saves this season put him in a four-way tie on the season saves list. He is tied with Spears (1995), Chad Hale (1993), Dennis Pachner (1993) and Tony Khoury (1991).

Laratta Now Second in Wins
The win last Friday at Iowa was the 32nd for E.J. Laratta as a Buckeye. He is currently in second place on the school’s all-time win list and trails Justin Fry (1995-99) by just four wins for the most all time.

Through last Friday’s 6 1/3 innings of work at Indiana, Laratta has now pitched 345 2/3 innings, which moved him into a tie for the second most innings ever pitched by a Buckeye. He moved in front of Pete Perini’s (1947-49) 344 innings. The all-time leader is Fry, who pitched 419 2/3 innings.

Laratta also has 223 strikeouts in his four years as a Buckeye and is tied for 11th in school history with Paul Ebert (1952-54). He is only one strikeout away from moving into the OSU top-10 list. Just ahead of him is Doug Swearingen (1980-83) who has 224. Scott Klingenbeck (1990-92) is ninth on the list with 238 strikeouts.

Swisher’s Hit Streak Now 13
Nick Swisher was able to extend his hit streak to a career-long 13 games with a double in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Indiana. He had two hits in each of the first two games of the series. He did not play vs. Wooster. The 13-game streak equals the longest by a Buckeye this season. Christian Snavely hit in 13 straight games earlier this season. His previous career long was eight during the 2001 season, which is somewhat remarkable considering he has safely reached base in 45 consecutive games (his final 15 games of 2001 and all 30 games he has played this season. He reached safely in all but four of the 57 games he played in last season and all but 11 of the 55 games he played as a freshman.

Other Streaks of Note
After Swisher’s 13-game hit streak, only Doug Dendinger (3) and Christian Snavely (2) have streaks going. Six Buckeye have at least one hit in their last game. Freshman outfielder Mike Rabin had reached a season-long six game hit streak, but went 0-for-4 against Wooster on Wednesday. Terry Pettorini snapped an 0-for-22 skid by getting two hits, including a late-inning, game-tying home run against Wooster.

Last 10 Games
Ohio State has a pair of hitters who have better than a .400 average in the team’s last 10 games, in which the Buckeyes are 5-5. Nick Swisher leads the group by batting .419 (13-for-31) in the team’s last 10 games. He has scored six times with five RBI and a home run. Doug Deeds has hit four home runs in his last 10 games and is batting .417 (15-for-36). He has seven RBI and has scored six times.

Big Ten Rankings
Ohio State has the No. 1 pitching staff (4.15 ERA) and the No. 4 batters (.309 BA) when taking all games into account this season. But the numbers flip-flop when only looking at conference games. In Big Ten games only, the Buckeyes have the No. 1 batting contingent (.324) and the No. 4 pitching staff (4.37).

Regardless of which games are accounted for, Nate Smith is the best pitcher in the Big Ten as far as ERA is concerned. He has a 1.25 ERA overall and a 0.82 ERA in conference games. The junior from Bryan, Ohio, is holding conference opposition to a batting average of .143 while the average jumps slightly to .165 vs. all opposing batters. Both figures lead the league.

In all games, Doug Deeds is fifth in the conference in individual batting with a .403 average. Christian Snavely cracks the top 10 in tenth with his .382 average. However, in Big Ten games only, Mike Rabin is second with a .447 average, behind Minnesota’s Luke Appert, who is battin at a .462 clip in his 14 Big Ten games. Nick Swisher (.385) and Joe Wilkins (.380) are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.

Other Rankings…
In all games, Scott Lewis has the sixth best ERA (2.85) and E.J. Laratta ranks 10th (3.15)… Doug Deeds is second in on-base percentage (.503)… Doug Dendinger is sixth in on-base percentage (.478)… Dendinger is the conference leader by two in walks with 31… Lewis has 54 strikeouts to rank sixth in the Big Ten and is holding opposing batters to a .252 batting average, eighth in the league.

In conference games only, Mike Rabin has the best on-base percentage (.512)… Deeds is fourth in on-base percentage (.500), first in runs scored (21) and sixth in slugging percentage (.679)… Joe Wilkins is tied for third in runs batted in with 15, while Nick Swisher and Christian Snavely each have 14 to tie for fifth.

Dayton Downs Buckeyes 4-3
Dayton scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning on its way to a 4-3 victory over Ohio State April 17 at Bill Davis Stadium.

Kyle Brown gave up two runs in the eighth when in came on in relief for Trent Luyster. Dayton centerfielder Rory Thornton walked and then Tom Beechem singled through the left side. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position and then Brown fielded a ground ball to retire Aaron Reesh at first, but Thornton was able to tie the game, scoring from third. A sacrifice fly by Shawn Bolinger gave the Flyers the lead, scoring Beechem who had advanced to third on the ground out by Reesh.

Ohio State missed a golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases without an out, but Doug Dendinger grounded into a 5-2-3 double play that first caught Brett Garrard, the tying run, at home. Designated hitter Lance Rolston struck out to end the inning and strand the tying run at third.

Beechem finished the game 2-for-4 and scored a run for Dayton and Bolinger knocked in two runs in a 1-for-3 night. Christian Snavely led Ohio State was led at the plate going 2-for-5 with the single in the first and a two-run homer in the third. Garrard and Mike Rabin also had multiple hits for the Buckeyes.

Buckeyes Take Three of Four at Iowa
It was the first Big Ten road series for Ohio State of the season and the Buckeyes responded by winning three of four in Iowa City to remain in first place in the conference.

Ohio State had 15 hits in a 7-1 victory in the series opener on April 12. Pitcher E.J. Laratta went the distance to get his fifth win over the year. Laratta threw just 95 pitches scattering 10 fly outs and 11 ground outs in his third complete game of the season and the 17th of his career.

The Buckeyes got their 20th win of the season with a 2-1 triumph over the Hawkeyes in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader. Josh Newman struck out eight batters in pitching 6 2/3 innings. He gave up only four hits for run, which was unearned. At the time, it was a team-best sixth win of the year.

The third game went the way of the Hawkeyes as a three-run home run tied the game at four in the bottom of the fifth and then got the winning run in the next inning to beat Ohio State 5-4 in the second game of the doubleheader.

Pure power led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 victory and 3-1 series win on Sunday. Rightfielder Doug Deeds had two home runs and starting pitcher Nate Smith struck out a career-high 13 batters. Deeds gave the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead in the third inning with his fifth home run of the season and then his sixth homer of the season put the Buckeyes on top 7-0. Paul Farinacci and Doug Dendinger also homered in the game.

Smith Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Nate Smith pitched another Sunday gem for the Buckeye, sitting down batters in order in the second, fourth and fifth inning, including nine batters in a row at one point. Smith finished the game with a career-best 13 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He improved to 4-0 on the year with the victory allowing just one run on three hits and was named Big Ten Pitcher of the week in the process. Chris Hanners replaced Smith to start the eighth and had three strikeouts of his owns as the duo combined to strike out a season-high 16 batters.

Swisher Smacks No. 30
Nick Swisher blasted a shot over the fence in left field to give Ohio State a 4-1 lead in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Iowa. It was just the first home run by either team in the series and the fifth home run by Swisher this season. He now has 30 home runs for his career and is now tied for ninth with Ken Tirpack (1989-92) on the school’s career list. He needs two home runs to move into a three with tie for seventh place with Mark Chonko (1993-96) and Chad Ehrnsberger (1998-00) with 32. Dan Seimetz (1995-98) has the school’s all-time record with 52.

Buckeyes Stumble vs. Oakland
Oakland starter Dominic Carmosino struck out six and reliever Jared Thomas struck out nine to lift the Grizzlies to a 10-5 midweek victory over Ohio State April 10 at Bill Davis Stadium.

Buckeye pitchers struggled to start the contest, but Ohio State remained in the game until a big fourth inning by Oakland.

The Grizzlies scored five times that inning to seal the victory, taking advantage of a pitching change by the Buckeyes. In an effort to get work for several Buckeye pitchers, some which had not pitched since the Northwestern series at the end of March, Buckeye skipper Bob Todd went with Matt Davis, who had not started since picking up his second win of the season March 30 against Northwestern, in place of starter Chris Hanners to start the fourth inning.

Hanners allowed five runs to come across in the first three innings, but the Buckeyes had pulled within 5-4 before surrendering the big fourth inning. Only three runs scored in the first three innings were earned on a total of seven hits. Davis pitched just a third of an inning yet allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits.

OSU Takes Penn State Series, Despite Game One Loss
After losing 14-2 in the Friday game against Penn State and stumbling out of the gate in the first game of the April 6 doubleheader 6-2, Ohio State huddled together in the dugout prior to the fifth inning and reminded itself it had never lost a Big Ten series at Bill Davis Stadium. A loss Saturday would mean no better than a split with the Nittany Lions, but OSU preferred to get the series win.

From that point on, it was all Buckeyes.

Ohio State scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-6 lead, which it held to win in comeback fashion.

Scott Lewis pitched a two-hit shutout as the Buckeyes took the second game of the doubleheader 10-0. Lewis struck out six batters and walked four. Offensively, the Buckeyes had 14 hits, including three doubles, two triples and a home run. Christian Snavely was 4-for-4 with four RBI. Mike Rabin was 3-for-4.

The Buckeye assault continued in the series finale as they got their second double-figure shutout in as many games, downing the Nittany Lions 11-0. Snavely and Doug Deeds each hit two-run home runs in the second inning.

Snavely Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Second baseman Christian Snavely was named Big Ten Player of the Week April 8 after leading the Buckeyes to three wins against Penn State while batting .438 (7-for-16) with two home runs and eight runs batted in.

Snavely scored three runs on the weekend and posted a slugging percentage of .938 thanks to 15 total bases, twice as many as any other Buckeye. Snavely’s first homer in the series came in the second game on Saturday, as he went a perfect 4-4 and produced four RBI and two runs. He followed that performance with another long ball and three more RBI on Sunday as Ohio State bounced back to win three straight from the Nittany Lions after dropping the opener on Friday.

Buckeyes Open Big Ten Play Winning Three vs. Wildcats
Rain pushed back the start of the Big Ten opening series against Northwestern. The first game actually got underway, but was suspended until Saturday, meaning the Buckeyes and Wildcats played 22 innings in one day.

Christian Snavely hit home runs in consecutive at bats in the fourth and sixth innings helping guide Ohio State to an 8-5 victory in the suspended nine-inning game from Friday.

Nick Swisher became the hero, hitting an 0-2 slider from Northwestern starter Rayn Bos over the leftfield fence scoring two runs to lift the Buckeyes to a 6-5 win in the bottom of the seventh inning in the game one of Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader.

Northwestern handed the Buckeyes their first loss in Big Ten action, winning the nightcap 11-8. The Wildcats won despite committing four errors in the contest. Northwestern had built a 6-1 lead before OSU fought back for a 7-6 advantage. Swisher hit his third home run of the day in the losing effort as the Wildcats scored four runs in the fifth and another in the sixth.

It was all Ohio State in the series finale. Nate Smith pitched a one-hitter through seven innings and was backed up bye a solid offense as the Buckeyes cruised to a 9-2 victory for the series win.

Smith Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Right-handed pitcher Nate Smith was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, April 1, after guiding the Buckeyes to a 9-0 win over Harvard in the Homestead Challenge and a 9-2 victory over Northwestern last Sunday.

Smith pitched 14 innings and struck out 14 batters last week to get his first two wins of the season. He went seven innings and struck out six batters (all in the first three innings) while walking just one while giving up just two hits in the Buckeyes’ win over Harvard. Against Northwestern on Sunday, the junior from Bryan, Ohio, took a no-hitter in to the sixth inning, when he gave up a home run on the first pitch of the inning. It was the only hit he gave up in the game holding opposing batters to .048 average and fanning eight. He had a 0.64 ERA in the two games last week and now has a 1.71 ERA for the season, second best on the team behind E.J. Laratta (1.50). Laratta was also a Big Ten Pitcher of the Week earlier this season (Feb. 25).

Swisher Belts Three Home Runs in Three Games
Junior Nick Swisher scored the winning runs in the 6-5 victory in the first game of a doubleheader vs. Northwestern March 30 with a walk-off home run that capped a five-run bottom of the seventh. His sacrifice bunt in his previous at bat in the sixth inning helped the Buckeyes score their first run of the game. Swisher hit .333 (5-for-15) in the four games vs. Northwestern and hit three home runs, one each in the first three games of the series, which Ohio State won 3-1. He led the team with seven runs batted in last week and had an on-base percentage of .586.

OSU Finishes 4-2 at Homestead Challenge
Ohio State went 4-2 at the Homestead Challenge, March 23-26 getting two wins against Harvard and one against Cornell and Lafayette. The two losses were to Illinois-Chicago and Florida International, which was ranked 20th in the nation by the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN coaches poll.

After getting rained out Friday night against Cornell, the two teams met again early on Saturday. Ohio State scored three runs in the fifth inning and added another in the sixth to take a 4-1 lead. The Big Red scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull within the 4-3 final. Josh Newman got the win. Drew Anderson helped the Buckeyes offensively going 2-for-5 from the plate with an RBI.

Saturday night against Harvard, the Buckeyes were able to find victory despite committing five errors. Starter E.J. Laratta improved to 4-0 on the year who pitched his second complete game of the season and his 16th of his career. The game was tied 2-2 until the eighth inning when OSU erupted for three runs. The Crimson scored in the ninth before losing 5-3.

Illinois-Chicago snapped Ohio State’s four-game win streak with a 3-2 triumph. UIC capitalized on three base hits and two OSU errors to score three runs in the fifth inning. The Flames had just four base runners until the bottom of the fifth inning when the scored three unearned runs off three hits and to Ohio State errors. Doug Deeds and Doug Larason were responsible for scoring the two Buckeye runs. Scott Lewis fell to 2-2 on the year.

Ohio State responded to the loss by winning two games on Monday, beating Lafayette 8-4 and Harvard 9-0. The Buckeyes scored all eight run against Lafeyette in the seventh and eighth innings to fight back for the win. Pinch-hitter Joe Wilkins’ grounder to second scored Christian Snavely giving OSU a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning. In the nightcap, the Buckeyes did not score until the sixth inning when they finally got to starting pitcher Chenny Sheffield for three runs. The assault continued on relief pitching as Ohio State scored once more in the eighth and then five more times in the ninth. Matt Davis picked up his first win as a Buckeye in relief against the Leopards. Nate Smith got his first win of the season by beating Harvard.

Florida International hit three home runs to escape with a 7-6 victory in the Buckeyes’ finale in Homestead. Ohio State scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead and then needed another run in the fifth to go back on top 5-4. A two-run homer by Tommy Duenas gave the Golden Panthers a 6-4 lead. FIU added another run in the eighth that it needed as Ohio State would have scored a tying run in the top of the ninth.

Coach Todd Ejected for First Time in 19-year Career
In a rare occurrence, OSU coach Bob Todd was ejected in the top of the sixth inning of the loss to Florida International. It was the first time in his 18+ years as a head coach that he has ever been thrown out of a game.

“It was obvious what had been going on the entire game,” Todd said. “After seeing the frustration from our pitchers and our hitters, I felt like something needed to be brought to the attention of the umpire. After a two pitches to shortstop Brett Garrard, I needed to settle him down and help him get refocused. So I called him out of the batters’ box to talk him. The home plate umpire, must have overheard what I was saying. It was a very good ball game between two very good teams. It is a shame that the occurrence had to take place.”

OSU Claims Detroit Series 2-1
Righthander E.J. Laratta pitched four perfect innings to ignite Ohio State to a 7-2 victory over Detroit March 17 at Bill Davis Stadium to give the Buckeyes a 2-1 series win.

Laratta pitched a perfect game through the first four innings, but walked Roger Wechter to lead off the fifth inning, ending the bid. Tim Andrzejak singled to shallow right center field to break up the no hitter. Detroit got on the board two batters later.

Laratta struck out the side in the sixth before giving up a leadoff home run to Juston Davenport in the seventh.

Brett Garrard and Brooks Graff each had two hits in the Buckeyes five-hit offensive attack. Garrard was 2-for-3 with three RBI thanks to a three-run bomb in the fourth inning. Graff was 2-for-4, knocking in a run and scoring once himself.

On Saturday, Detroit handed the Buckeyes a loss in the home opener for the first time since 1998. The Titans escaped with a 6-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader, but in the second game, it was all Ohio State. The Buckeyes sprinted out to a 10-0 win in getting coach Bob Todd his 700th career victory.

Todd Gets Career Win No. 700
OSU skipper Bob Todd won his 700th game of his career in a 10-0 victory over Detroit in the second game of a doubleheader March 16. While at Ohio State, Todd has guided the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten regular season and five Big Ten tournament championships, eight NCAA tournament appearances and five top-20 finishes.

Lewis Fans Eleven
Scott Lewis, a freshman from Washington Court House, Ohio, struck out a season best 11 batters in pitching five innings in the Buckeyes’ 10-0 victory over Detroit in the second game of a doubleheader March 16. In his previous games, Lewis had thrown 12 strikeouts. Lewis faced 20 batters, striking out 11 and walking just one. He gave up only four hits, his low in four appearances at Ohio State. The 11 strikeouts by Scott Lewis were the most by a Buckeye hurler since May 12, 2001, when Josh Newman mowed down 11 Michigan Wolverines in a 9-2 OSU victory.

Right Field at Albuquerque
Ohio State out-scored its opponents 50-45 in three games in Albuquerque, N.M., March 8-10. That was with the benefit of a 38-15 victory over Toledo Friday, March 8 in an extreme wind that was blowing out to right field. The Buckeyes belted seven home runs in the game on their way to a school-record 38 runs off 33 hits with just two errors. Ohio State scored 13 runs in the fourth inning.

Designated hitter Terry Pettorini went 6-for-6 from the plate scoring six times. Pettorini had home runs in the third and fourth innings and had three singles and a double to knock in five Buckeyes. Doug Deeds and Lance Rolston also had two-homer games. Deeds finished 4-for-6 with six RBI while Rolston was 3-for-7, with a sacrifice fly, to produce a team-best seven RBI.

Second baseman Christian Snavely was 5-for-6, scoring five times with four RBI and centerfielder Nick Swisher was 3-for-5 with five RBI. All nine Ohio State starting batters had at least one hit. Drew Anderson missed hitting for the cycle by a home run and two others also missed hitting for the cycle. Swisher needed a home run, while Deeds needed a single.

On Saturday, OSU beat New Mexico 10-8 thanks to a five-run fifth inning that led to its sixth win of the year without a defeat. On Sunday, New Mexico used big innings in the sixth and seventh, scoring eight and 10 runs, respectively, to hand Ohio State its first loss of the season. New Mexico won 22-2.

Record Set With 38 Runs
The 38 runs scored against Toledo on March 8 are the most scored by the Buckeyes in the history of the program. Ohio State beat Michigan State on May 7, 1999 by a score of 34-4 at Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, Mich., which had been the runs record. OSU, which had 29 hits in that game, had 33 hits against Toledo.

OSU Earns Win No. 2,000
With a 10-8 win on March 9 at New Mexico, Ohio State won its 2,000th game in the 118 years of the program. The Buckeye program ranks 21st in number of all-time victories with 2,009. The school first started playing the sport in 1881, but did not field teams in 1886, 1887, 1908 or 1910. Ohio State ranks 21st nationally in number of all-time victories.

Ohio State Blanks N. Florida
Rightfielder Doug Deeds broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning with an RBI single that scored shortstop Brett Garrard and then catcher Joe Wilkins hit a two-run homer to give Ohio State a 3-0 victory over North Florida, which was ranked No. 4 in Division II. That was the first of three scheduled games at the Kennel Club Classic for Ohio State. The other two games, at Jacksonville and against The Citadel, were rained out.

Bulldogs and Buckeyes Tie
Ohio State closed out its stay in Starkville, Miss., Feb. 24 with a rare 6-6 tie at Polk-Dement Stadium at Mississippi State. The game was called because of travel considerations. Drew Anderson led the offense with a 2-for-4 day at the plate and scored two runs for OSU. It was the first tie for Ohio State since March 21, 1990, at the Spartan Classic in San Jose, Calif. The Buckeyes played Big Ten foe Minnesota to a 9-9 tie, which was the first tie in the Bob Todd era at Ohio State. The game against Mississippi State was the 41st tie in OSU baseball history.

Buckeyes Take Two from UAB
Behind the a solid pitching performance from E.J. Laratta, Ohio State opened the season with a 2-0 victory over Alabama-Birmingham at the National Bank of Commerce Classic, Feb. 22, at Starkville, Miss. Laratta struck out nine Blazers en route to the 15th complete game of his career and earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors. Doug Dendinger sparked the Buckeye offense with an RBI single in the top of the eighth to break a scoreless tie. The two teams met again on Saturday in a game that went into extra innings. Lance Rolston lined a single to left center field in the bottom of the 10th inning allowing Christian Snavely to score the game-winning run in a 4-3 contest with the UAB.

Ohio State Beats Bulldogs 9-2
The Ohio State baseball team’s offense broke out for nine runs on 12 hits to defeat then-No. 17 Mississippi State, 9-2. Nick Swisher went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored to pace the Buckeyes. Doug Deeds also scored three times and Christian Snavely went 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored to support starting pitcher Josh Newman. Newman went eight innings throwing 117 pitches allowing two runs on six hits with nine strike outs.