April 28, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team (33-7, 15-1), after beating Dayton 3-1 on Tuesday night, will aim for the best home start in school history when it faces Cleveland State (16-24, 8-4) Wednesday night in Bill Davis Stadium (4,450). The Buckeyes tied the school record with their 13th consecutive win at home to start the season Tuesday against Dayton. Only the 1984 team started as good at home as the 1999 Buckeyes (13-0). After facing Cleveland State, Ohio State will host Big Ten foe Purdue in a four-game series in Bill Davis Stadium this weekend.
WOSU Radio (820 AM) will air today’s game against Cleveland State as well as games one, two, and four of this weekend’s Big Ten series live with the tandem of Herb Howenstine and Frank Fraas calling all the action.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON
The Ohio State baseball team continued its incredible run Tuesday night with a solid 3-1 win over Dayton. The Buckeyes have now won 26 of their last 27 games, including 12 straight. OSU has lost just once in the last 39 days. The last time Ohio State lost two consecutive games was March 13-14. The 1999 Buckeyes need just one more win to equal the longest stretch in Ohio State history with only one loss. The 1994 team won 27-of-28 games.
OHIO STATE IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes continued to climb in the national polls this week. OSU jumped two spots and is No. 14 in the Baseball America poll. The Buckeyes moved ahead four spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll and are now ranked 19th. Ohio State is now No. 18 in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll, after being No. 25 last week.
CLEVELAND STATE PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP RF 26 Clint Lawson Jr., R-R CF 7 Marty Healy Jr., R-R LF 16 Matt Smith Fr., L-L 1B 11 Adam Miller So., R-R 2B 14 Keith Lillash So., R-R SS 12 Mike Lehman Jr., R-R 3B 28 Jeff Haase Jr., R-R C 21 Jim Rickon Sr., R-R DH 10 Ross Smirne So., L-R Not projected batting order.
Jeff Haase leads the Vikings in home runs (11) and RBI (40). Healso has six stolen bases in six attempts. Matt Smith leads theteam in hitting with a .367 average. Smith’s .445 on-basepercentage also leads all Vikings.
OHIO STATE PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP RF 24 Jason Turner Jr., L-L CF 20 Mike Lockwood Jr., L-L LF 6 Jason Driscoll Jr., R-R 1B 36 Jason Trott Sr., L-L 2B 7 Chad Ehrnsberger So., R-R SS 17 Trent McIlvain So., R-R 3B 21 Matt Middleton Sr., L-R C 10 Tom Durant Sr., R-R DH 13 John Mayor So., R-R P 26 Brandon Steen Fr., R-R Not projected batting order.
Tom Durant is enjoying his finest offensive season ever at OhioState, batting .331 with 14 doubles and 41 runs scored. Durantstole a base in Tuesday’s game against Dayton, giving him eight onthe year and tying him for the team lead.
SECOND LEAST LOSSES
Ohio State has the second fewest losses (seven) of any ranked team in the nation. Only Florida Atlantic has fewer losses than Ohio State (four).
Not only has OSU won 26 of its last 27 games, but the Buckeyes have also captured 12 consecutive victories. The 1999 Buckeyes are one of only three teams in school history to own two seperate winning streaks of at least 10 games. Listed below are the longest single-season winning streaks in school history. Amazingly enough, two of them have occurred during the 1999 season.
Streak Year Dates 20 1994 4/23-5/20 15 1970 4/18-5/23 14 1999 3/21-4/10 13 1984 3/31-4/14 12 1999 4/11-Pres.
OSU’S LAST ACTION
Freshman E.J. Laratta put together his third consecutive impressive outing Tuesday night against Dayton, going five innings without allowing an earned run as OSU topped Dayton 3-1. Laratta struck out five in collecting his seventh win of the season. Three other pitchers – Ted Kalnins, Kurt Fullenkamp, and Cory Cox – combined to pitch four shutout innings for Ohio State. Dayton’s only run of the game was unearned. Ohio State collected only five hits in the game but manufactured three runs in the second inning. Freshman Joe Wilkins went 2-2 with an RBI for OSU, while sophomore shortstop Trent McIlvain was 1-3 with two RBI on a double off the leftfield wall.
After Sunday’s game, OSU head coach Bob Todd had this to say to the Columbus Dispatch: “I’ve said ever since we started this winning streak that it hasn’t been one or two people carrying this club. It’s been somebody different every game.” Todd’s words ring true when considering that no Buckeye has a current hitting streak of more than four games.
CLEVELAND STATE SERIES HISTORY
Ohio State leads the all-time series against Cleveland State 26-5. The two teams first met in 1980. Ohio State won last year’s meeting against the Vikings 15-4. Jason Trott led Ohio State offensively in that game by going 3-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. The last Cleveland State win over Ohio State came in the first game of a doubleheader on April 26, 1997. The Vikings won that game 5-3.
SCOUTING THE VIKINGS
Cleveland State is 16-24 overall and 8-4 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The Vikings will come to Columbus as losers of four of their last six. CSU started the season against some stiff competiton, going 2-13 to start the season. Since then, however, the Vikings are 14-11. Matt Smith (.367 b. avg., .445 on-base pct.) and Jim Rickon (.333 b. avg., 33 RBI) lead CSU offensively. The Vikings are hitting .290 as a team, while opponents are hitting .314 against the Cleveland State pitching staff. Ryan McClarnon has been the team’s most effective starter. He stands 3-3 with a 3.45 earned run average and 42 strikeouts in 50.2 innings of work.
NEVER SAY DIE
The Buckeyes came from behind to win once again versus the Flyers. The Buckeyes have now come from behind to win 14 times overall this season, including eight times in their last 11 games. In 15 Big Ten wins this year, OSU has been forced to come-from-behind seven times (47 percent of the time).
NEVER SAY DIE, PART II
Ohio State won an amazing three games against Penn State last weekend in its last at-bat. The Buckeyes have now won six games this year in their last at-bat.
SOMEBODY GO DEEP
Ohio State has now failed to hit a home run in five consecutive games, its longest drought of the season. Despite not playing longball, OSU has gone 5-0 during the stretch.
IS THIS DESTINY OR GOOD PITCHING?
Ohio State was outhit by Dayton Tuesday night 7-5, marking the fourth time in five games the Buckeyes have been outhit and still won. Prior to the last five games, the Buckeyes had outhit their opponents in 16 of the last 18 games. OSU is now 21-0 when outhitting its opponent and 6-5 when being outhit.
MAKING THE MOST OF IT
Joe Wilkins got the second start of his career – the first in the outfield – Tuesday night against Dayton. Wilkins capitalized, going 2-2 with an RBI and a run scored. He reached base three times in three plate appearances.
LET’S TALK LARATTA
E.J. Laratta has put together three impressive starts in the last 11 days. Combined, Laratta has gone 19 innings and surrendered just four earned runs. He has also struck out 16 in that span and collected two complete games and a shutout.
THE FULLENKAMP OF OLD
Kurt Fullenkamp, the third winningest pitcher in OSU history in terms of percentage, has returned to form lately after a rough, early-season start. One of the team’s top middle relievers, Fullenkamp has surrendered just one earned run in his last four appearances. He also has a win in that stretch.
THE FIRST OF MANY
Redshirt freshman Ted Kalnins recorded the first strikeout of his career Tuesday against Dayton when he fanned Flyer leadoff hitter Jake Long in the sixth inning.
THERE’S A NEW LEAGUE LEADER
Cory Cox picked up his seventh save of the season against Penn State and now is tied for the league lead with Northwestern’s Ryan Box. Cox has allowed just three runs in his last eight appearances. He also has four saves in his last six appearances.
Ohio State head coach Bob Todd, one of the most respected collegiate coaches in the nation, is approaching a pair of coaching milestones. Todd needs just four wins to record the 600th of his career and just seven to become the winningest baseball coach ever at Ohio State (surpassing Marty Karow’s 478 career victories.)
Three Ohio State pitchers are climbing the record books in terms of winning percentage. Kurt Fullenkamp was credited with the win in game two against Penn State, moving to 2-0 on the year and 17-3 during his career. His winning percentage of .850 ranks third all-time at OSU, trailing only Steve Arlin’s .889 (24-3) and Ken Hay’s .857 (12-2). Andy Lee collected his fifth victory of the season without a loss in Sunday’s finale against Penn State. Lee’s career record now stand at a stellar 16-3, and his winning percentage of .842 ranks fourth all-time. Justin Fry has improved his career record to 31-10 overall by going 6-1 this season. His .756 winning percentage ranks eighth all-time at OSU.
RUN SCORING MACHINES
The Buckeyes outscored Penn State 25-17 in four games last weekend. The Buckeyes have now scored nine or more runs in 11 of their 16 Big Ten games this season. Ohio State has scored 137 runs in Big Ten games, an average of 8.56 per contest. The Buckeyes have outscored their Big Ten opponents 137-86 so far this season.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Jason Trott sat out his first game of the year Tuesday night against Dayton. Trott has now reached base safely in 37 of the 39 games he has played in this year. He leads the team with a .475 on-base percentage. Trott had a 14-game hitting streak snapped in game three against Penn State when OSU was limited to just two hits. Trott also had a nine-game hitting streak earlier in the year. He is one of only three Buckeyes that is hitting .400 in Big Ten games this year (.426). Chad Ehrnsberger (.436) and Trent McIlvain (.436) are the others.
SPEAKING OF EHRNSBERGER AND MCILVAIN
Oddly enough, Ohio State’s two star middle infielders – shortstop Trent McIlvain and second baseman Chad Ehrnsberger – have the exact same hitting lines in Big Ten games. Both have 24 hits in 55 at-bats for a .436 batting average. Ehrnsberger also leads the team in overall RBI (49) and is tied for the team-lead with 10 home runs. In Big Ten games, Ehrsnberger is averaging 1.6 RBI per game.
BIG TEN LEADERS
In Big Ten games…..Ohio State leads the league in hitting (.340), ranks second in pitching (5.46), and ranks first in fielding (.982). OSU owns the top three hitters in the league – Chad Ehrnsberger (.436), Trent McIlvain (.436), and Jason Trott (.426). Kevin Goodrum leads the league in earned run average (2.75). Mike Lockwood is tied for the league lead with 22 runs scored, and is also tied with OSU’s Jason Driscoll for the league lead in triples (3).
CAN TROTT THREEPEAT
Trott became the first player since Indiana’s Mike Smith (1991-.476, 1992-.472) to win back-to-back batting titles. Trott posted a .426 average for the 1998 regular season and claimed the crown in 1997 with a .418 mark. Wisconsin’s Rick Reichardt is the only other player to win consecutive titles when he posted season bests in 1963 (.429) and 1964 (.472). No player has ever claimed three conference batting titles.
Fry and Lockwood were named to Collegiate Baseball’s preseason All-America third team. Fry was a first team preseason selection in 1998. Freshman pitcher Smith was named a first team top freshman by Baseball America.
Season box seats went on sale March 1 and individual game tickets were made available March 22. Contact the OSU Athletic Ticket Office for more details (1 800-GO-BUCKS). The ticket office is now located in The Jerome Schottenstein Center
ONE OF THE TOP TEAMS OF THE 90s
With it’s 372-168-1 record over the past nine seasons, Ohio State is ranked the 12th winningest team of the 1990s with a .689 winning percentage. The Buckeyes are the only Big Ten Conference school among the top 25. Wichita State leads the pack with a 484-130-0 (.788) mark since the 1990 season.
PREDICTED BIG TEN FINISH
According to the Baseball America college preview, Ohio State is predicted to finish third in the Big Ten behind Minnesota and Illinois. All three squads are expected to receive NCAA tournament bids and Fry, Lockwood and Trott are preseason all-Big Ten selections. The Big Ten is ranked the sixth-best conference in the nation this year.
Predicted final Big Ten standings according to Baseball America 1. Minnesota 19-9 42-21 2. Illinois 19-5 42-21 3. Ohio State 18-9 45-15 4. Michigan 9-15 21-27 5. Penn State 15-11 28-24 6. Purdue 9-18 23-29 7. Indiana 14-14 29-27 8. Northwestern 10-18 27-26 9. Michigan State 8-16 25-27 10. Iowa 9-15 19-27
The Ohio State baseball program has had a new treat each season for the past two years. In 1997, it was the opening of the stadium itself. Last year it was the lights for night contests, a batter’s eye in centerfield and the matrix scoreboard for animation. This year, expanded seating is the name of the game as the Buckeye venue maintains its spot as one of the premier college ball-parks. With the addition of bleacher seating down both foul lines, the stadium capacity has increased to 4,450, making it a probable choice for NCAA Regional competition. Permanent batting cages are also being constructed on the third base side.
THE RECORD WATCH
Career Batting Average 1. Jason Trott .403 2. Dan Seimetz (1995-98) .370 3. Alex Eckelman (1994-97) .367 4. Robby Cobb (1980-83) .363 5. Brian Mannino (1992-95) .362
Career Wins 1. Justin Fry 31 2. Pete Perini (1947-50) 30 3. Scott Klingenbeck (1990-92) 28 Tom Schwarber (1987-91) 28
Career Innings Pitched 1. Justin Fry 375.1
Career Strikeouts 1. Justin Fry 335