COLUMBUS, Ohio – In the third segment of a four-part Buckeye baseball preview for the 2020 season, we’ll touch on the Ohio State infielders. Tuesday, we took a look at the arms who will lead those on the bump and we focused on the Buckeye catchers Wednesday before taking a look at an experienced group around the infield.
A major strength for the Buckeyes heading into the 2020 campaign is the infield and the experience it returns. Ohio State welcomes back a total of 232 starts between six infielders returning from 2019.
“I like that our entire infield is back defensively,” Beals said. “We missed Noah West the back half of the season because of injury last year. Inputting him along with everybody else who is back will make our infield defense a major strength of our team.”
Two-year starter Conner Pohl made 62 starts at first base in 2019, batting .264 with seven doubles, seven home runs, 45 RBI and 39 runs scored. Co-captain Matt Carpenter, a fifth-year senior, started 41 contests at second base last year, batting .257 with eight doubles, two triples, 25 runs scored and 15 RBI while Nick Erwin returns after notching seven multi-hit games in 38 starts as a true freshman a year ago.
Zach Dezenzo, a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and member of the Big Ten All-Freshman team last year, was a regular making 41 starts at shortstop and 17 at third base, hitting .250 with nine doubles, 10 home runs and 37 RBI in his rookie campaign. The 10 home runs were the most by a Buckeye freshman in 18 years as he filled in nicely up the middle for West, who missed the final 44 contests of 2019 with an injury. Prior to the injury, West made 19 starts at short, batting .284 with six doubles, one triple, one home run, 13 runs scored and nine RBI. Sophomore utilityman Marcus Ernst also returns after playing in 28 contests, hitting .257 with a trio of doubles and eight runs scored.
In addition to the returning group, Colten Bauer, Avery Fisher and Sam Wilson each enter their first season with the Buckeye infield.
Visit OhioStateBuckeyes.com Friday for a look at the Buckeye outfielders.