COLUMBUS, Ohio Justin Miller, the hot-hitting senior first baseman for the Ohio State baseball team, has been selected as a team captain for the second consecutive year by a vote of his teammates. Miller, who captained the 2008 team along with Dan DeLucia, is the sole captain of this year’s team.

“Justin is respected by his teammates and they are the ones who choose their captain,” 22nd-year Ohio State head coach Bob Todd said. “He comes to practice intent on getting better every day and it shows in the way he plays. He is responsible in the classroom and off the field as well.”

Miller, “Gus” to friends, family and teammates, is only the 14th Buckeye to be a captain more than one year. He is the first sole captain of the team since Greg Policka was the team’s only captain in 1986, two years before Todd’s arrival.

Miller, who is on the pre-season watch list for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame, is the team’s best returning hitter with a .348 career average that skyrockets to .387 in Big Ten Conference games. Last year he led the Buckeyes in eight hitting categories, including average (.395), slugging (.535), home runs (4) and RBI (61). 

Miller has also led the team in hits the past two years, the first Buckeye to do so since Jonathan Sweet in 1993-94 and only the seventh Buckeye ever to accomplish the feat. He enters the season with 197 career hits and 124 career RBI. He will crack Ohio State’s Top 25 for career hits and career RBI with three more of each, respectively.

The Buckeyes are currently conditioning for the start of full team drills Feb. 2. The players are individually working out now to get their arms and legs in shape because once the coaches start working with them in February, the first game will be just three weeks away.

Ohio State opens its season Feb. 20-22 in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge. The Buckeyes will meet Notre Dame, Connecticut and Cincinnati in that first weekend of play.