COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State senior relief ace Jake Hale has been named the Pitcher of the Week in the Big Ten Conference this week. The honor comes in the wake of the announcement that Hale is in the running for the fifth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. The Albany, Ohio and Alexander High School graduate is one of 45 pitchers nationally and the only pitcher from the Big Ten Conference to be included in the USBWA’s midseason “watch list.”

Hale’s Big Ten and national accolades are well deserved considering the monster weekend he had on the road at Purdue. Over the course of 25 hours, he saved all three wins in Ohio State’s 3-0 Big Ten series sweep over Purdue, a performance that vaulted the Buckeyes into first place in the Big Ten Conference with a 9-3 record. The team is 29-8 overall.

Hale pitched a total of 5.1 innings in the Purdue series, surrendering four hits, no runs and two walks while striking out seven. The saves boosted his total to 10 saves on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.12 in 32.0 innings pitched. He has now finished 23 consecutive games. Here’s a little more about his weekend:

  • In the 1-0 Game 1 win, Hale went 2.0 innings and allowed but two hits and struck out one.
  • In the 7-4 Game 2 win, Hale didn’t allow any of the five batters he faced to reach base and struck out three.
  • In the 11-10 Game 3 win, Hale entered in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out and he held the lead thru 1.2 innings of work.

Hale has now reached 10 saves in a single season for the second time. He first accomplished the feat in 2007 and he is the only Buckeye with two years of 10-or-more saves. The season record is 14 by Matt Davis in 2003.

Hale was Ohio State’s stopper for three-fourths of the 2007 season until he became a starter and helped lead the team to the NCAA tournament. Last year he was the team’s Friday night starter and posted a 5-3 record and a 4.50 ERA. This year he moved back to the bullpen and he has been the top reliever in the conference with Big Ten-leading totals in appearances (24), games in relief (24), games finished (23) and, of course, saves.

At the end of the college baseball regular season (June 3), the national saves leader and four other relief standouts will be selected as finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award. The NCBWA’s All-America Committee then will select the winner, with the announcement set for Saturday, June 13, before the opening of the College World Series.

Hale is the sixth Buckeye to be honored by the Big Ten Conference this year as either a pitcher or player of the week.

2009 Ohio State Big Ten Player/Pitcher of the Week Award Winners:

Feb. 23 Drew Rucinski, Pitcher
Mar. 2 Dan Burkhart, Player
Mar. 16 Alex Wimmers, Pitcher
Mar. 23 Alex Wimmers, Pitcher
Apr. 14 Alex Wimmers, Pitcher 
Apr. 21 Jake Hale, Pitcher

Click on the attached PDF for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year announcement and to see a list of the 45 relievers on the midseason “watch” list.