COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Buckeyes are heading on spring break this week…finally! After finals week this week and four straight weeks of travel to places like St. Petersburg, Winter Haven, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, Fla., for four-games-in-three days action, the team will take off Thursday afternoon for six games over the course of five days. 

This Week in Ohio State Baseball

No. 22 Ohio State (13-2) on Spring Break in Winter Haven, Orlando and Miami…

Game 16: vs. Indiana (6-10 2009; 31-30 in 2008)
Friday, March 20 – 6 p.m. (Note: this is a new start time!)
Chain of Lakes Field; Winter Haven, Fla.

Games 17-18: vs. Army (5-7 2009; 25-25 in 2008)
Saturday, March 21 – 1 & 4 p.m.
Chain of Lakes Field; Winter Haven, Fla.

Game 19: vs. Hartford (1-7 2009; 18-31 in 2008)
Sunday, March 22 – 11 a.m.
Chain of Lakes Field; Winter Haven, Fla.

Game 20: at Rollins (17-9 2009; 29-24-1 in 2008)
Monday, March 23 – 1:30 p.m.
Alfond Stadium; Winter Park, Fla.

Game 21: at No. 9 Miami (15-3 2009; 53-11 in 2008)
Tuesday, March 24 – 6 p.m.
Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Stadium; Coral Gables, Fla.


Note: Rankings by Collegiate Baseball

Ohio State will play Indiana, Army and Hartford Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively,  at Chain of Lakes Field, the old Indians spring training home where Ohio State played four games already this year. Ohio State coaches learned Wednesday afternoon that the start time for the Indiana game will now be 6 p.m. instead of the original 10 a.m. start.

The Rollins game Monday afternoon will be played at Alfond Stadium, which is located on the corner of Orange Ave. and Aragon Ave. in Winter Park, just one mile from the Rollins campus.

The Tuesday night game against the Hurricanes will be played at the newly renovated Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Stadium in Coral Gables. The stadium is on San Amaro Dr. (Hurricane Drive) on the Miami campus.

The Buckeyes will depart Columbus via commercial airlines Thursday afternoon. The team will return to Columbus next Wednesday before flying to Penn State Friday morning.

Five consecutive wins and a 13-2 record has the Buckeyes climbing in the polls. The team moved from No. 30 to No. 22 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll and it made its debut in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll at No. 30.

  Indiana, 6-10 after a Tuesday loss to E. Illinois, is in central Florida all this week on spring break. The game with Ohio State will be IU’s second-to-the-last on its trip. The two teams do not meet for a Big Ten series this year. Led by Jerrud Sabourin (.475) and Josh Phegley (.412) the team is hitting .340  and has a 5.43 ERA.

Army, 5-6, has won three consecutive games (Sacred Heart, No. Iowa and Central Florida). The Black Knights, who have scored as many as 17 runs in one game this season, have four players hitting over .365 led by Kyle Fleming (.429). The team has swiped 25 bases.

Hartford is 1-7, including four losses at New Mexico State to open the season, and has had four games cancelled due to weather. The team runs a Big Ten test with games vs. Indiana, Illinois and Ohio State this week. Hartford is led by Mike Amendola’s .481 avg.

Rollins, a Division II school in the Sunshine State Conf., has five wins over DI programs and is 16-9. The Tars (it means sailor) are hitting .342 as a team and two starters – Tim Griffin and Stephen Hiscock – have four wins each. 

Miami is 15-3 overall and 5-1 in the ACC. The Canes play a three-game series at unbeaten Virginia this weekend and host Top 10 school Georgia Tech three days after the Ohio State game. Miami boasts a team ERA of 3.14 against a mighty schedule with 145 strikeouts vs. 55 walks. The team averages just under 10 runs per game.

Ohio State’s 13-2 record ties for the best 15-game start in the 22-season Bob Todd Era. The top 10 15-game starts under Todd:

 1.  2009….13-2    6.  2005*…11-4
     1991*…13-2        2001*…11-4
 3.  2007*…12-3        2000….11-4
     1998….12-3        1997*…11-4
 5.  2002*…11-3-1      1996….11-4
 * Years played in the NCAA tournament
Alex Wimmers’ complete game win over Pitt that included 15 strikeouts earned him a “Louisville Slugger” national player of the week honor this week. He  also picked up co-pitcher of the week accolades in the
Big Ten Conference.

The Buckeyes are getting offensive contributions from its entire roster. Consider: 

 Nine players have scored at least 14 runs and 15 players have scored runs;
 10 players have hit home runs led by juco transfer Michael Stephens (5), sophomore catcher Dan Burkhart (4) and three apiece by Zach Hurley, Matt Streng and Justin Miller;
 Five players have tripled and four players have multiple triples with three Buckeyes tied for the Big Ten lead with three (Burkhart, Hurley and Cory Kovanda).

Ohio State hit .436 as a team last weekend at the Palm Beach Baseball Classic and slugged at a .709 rate. Here’s the fallout from those stats: 

 The team’s overall average is now a Big Ten best .357. Ohio State is averaging 14.2 hits and 11.2 runs per game through its first 15 games.
 In 15 games the team has surpassed the 56-game 2008 totals of 19 home runs and 11 triples with 26 and 12, respectively.
 Three everyday players are above .400: Michael Arp (.415); Zach Hurley (.414 with 26 RBI, 18 runs and a .671 slugging pct.) and Dan Burkhart (.406 with 25 RBI, 19 runs scored and a .734 slugging pct.)

All four Ohio State starting pitchers lasted at least 5.0 innings this weekend. There were more positive gains, as a result:
 Ohio State starting pitchers have now lasted at least 5.0 innings in nine of their 16 starts.
 Alex Wimmers (9.0 IP and 15 Ks vs. Pitt) and Dean Wolosiansky (7.0 and 8, respectively, vs. North Dakota State) tied or set career IP and strikeout highs.
 Reliever Drew Rucinski picked up another win and he is now a  Big Ten best 5-1 with all his decisions coming in relief. He’s sporting a 2.95 ERA with 27 Ks and only 7 walks in 21.1 IP.
 Closer Jake Hale has finished eight consecutive games and has not allowed a run in that stretch. The reliever-turned-starter-turned-reliever as a sophomore-junior-senior has three saves this season in addition to 15 Ks in 10.0 IP. His ERA is 2.70.
 Eric Best picked up his second win of the year in his first start. He went 5.0 innings vs. UMBC, striking out six and walking zero.

Michael Arp has led the team in hitting the last two weekends – .471 in Winter Haven and a scorching .563 last week – and he has taken over the team lead in hitting with a .415 average.

Dan Burkhart has hit in every game this season and, including his last three games of 2008, has a hitting streak of 18 games. The top hitting streaks by a Buckeye:

 1.  23  Jay Semke………1987
 2.  22  Doug Wollenburg…1992
 3.  21  Keith Klodnick….1991
 4.  20  Jason Trott…….1999
 5.  19  Nick Swisher……2002
 6.  18  Dan Burkhart……2008-09
Michael Stephens and Cory Kovanda are also working on extensive hitting streaks: 13 and 12 games, respectively. Kovanda’s two hits in Ohio State’s last game – vs. North Dakota State – were both triples.

Click on the attached Weekly Release for additional notes on the Buckeyes and tons of stats. Click on the Big Ten pdf for the latest Big Ten individual and team stats.