COLUMBUS, Ohio – It has been three seasons since Ohio State and Northwestern last met in a Big Ten Conference series. The two teams will renew thier rivalry Friday thru Sunday, April 25-27 at Rocky Miller Park in Evanston in what is shaping up to be a hard fought and competitive series. Consider:

The Buckeyes are in fourth place in the Big Ten at 8-7 and only one-half game up on Northwestern and Penn State (both are 8-8).
Ohio State sits one-half game behind Illinois.
Northwestern is on a roll with nine wins in its last 12 games, including a 7-3 record in its last 10 Big Ten games after last weekend’s 3-1 series win over Iowa.
The Buckeyes have lost four of their last five Big Ten games.
The two teams are hitting an identical .292 in Big Ten play.
Ohio State has posted a team ERA of 3.85 in Big Ten games (2nd in the league) and Northwestern is 6th with a 5.88 ERA.
The Buckeyes play three of their final four Big Ten series on the road (at NU; at Michigan; home vs. Illinois and at Iowa) so making the Big Ten tournament is going to require the team to be road warriors.
Northwestern’s schedule is also tough: it travels to Illinois next week, hosts Indiana and closes the season at Michigan.

Ohio State Buckeyes
(20-16, 8-7 Big Ten) vs.

Northwestern Wildcats
(14-17; 8-8 Big Ten)

April 25-27, 2008
Rocky Miller Park
Evanston, Ill.

Friday, Apr. 25: 4 p.m. EDT
Saturday, Apr. 26: 1 p.m. EDT (DH)
Sunday, Apr. 27: 2 p.m. EDT

Series History: Ohio State leads, 80-40
Last Meeting: March 22, 2007; Ohio State, 11-6

Broadcast Information
TV: Big Ten Network (Games 2 & 3)
Radio: WMNI-AM 920 (Games 1, 2 & 4) (All Games)
Live Stats
Audio Broadcast
Streaming Video

The Saturday doubleheader with Northwestern will be televised on the Big Ten Network. The start time has been changed to noon Central, and 1 p.m. EDT. Ohio State will be on the BTN two more times this regular season (start times all EDT):

Fri., May 2: Ohio State at Michigan, 6:35 p.m.
Sat., May 17: Ohio State at Iowa, 2 p.m.

The two coaching staffs are expected to go with the following starters during this weekend’s series:

G1: RHP Jake Hale  (4-1, 5.06 ERA) vs.
    LHP Joe Muraski (4-3, 5.14 ERA)
G2: LHP Dan DeLucia (1-2, 5.28) vs.
    RHP Bo Schultz  (3-5, 7.34 ERA)
G3: RHP Dean Wolosiansky (5-2, 3.09) vs.
    LHP Eric Jokisch (4-2, 4.72 ERA)
G4: LHP J.B. Shuck (4-2, 2.86) vs.
    NU starter TBA

Ohio State lost a series to Purdue for the first time since 1986 last weekend, 3-1. After dropping the first two games, the Buckeyes won game three behind the pitching of starter Dean Wolosiansky, who improved to 5-2, Eric Best’s fifth save of the season and three RBI by Justin Miller. Ohio State built a 4-0 lead through three innings in game four, but added just one more run the rest of the way while Purdue put together back-to-back three run innings late to steal the finale, 7-5.

Ohio State and Akron split a doubleheader Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium, with the Buckeyes winning the first game, a comeback 8-7 victory, and the Zips taking the second, 7-3. A crowd of 2,711 was on hand for buck-a-burger night.

Tony Kennedy’s four-hit game vs. Akron was the seventh this season by seven different Buckeyes. Cory Kovanda, J.B. Shuck, Justin Miller, Dan Burkhart, Ryan Meade and Tyler Engle also have four-hit games. Miller has a five-hit game as well.

The Ohio State vs. Northwestern Rivalry dates to 1913 and includes 120 games played. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 80 wins to 40. Some series notes:

Ohio State has won four straight over Northwestern and eight of the last nine.
Coach Bob Todd’s Buckeyes are 28-12 all-time vs. Northwestern.
Ohio State has won the last two series – played in 2004 and 2005 – by 3-1 counts.
The two teams tied in 2003 in a Big Ten series played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The two teams tied in the 1988 series, Bob Todd’s first year as Ohio State coach. NU won, 3-1, in 1989. Ohio State has won or tied each series since (six wins and two series ties).

The Buckeyes will be looking to put the brakes on a skid that has them just 2-6 in their past eight games and 1-4 in the last five Big Ten games. The team has the ability to reverse course.

Ohio State is third among Big Ten teams with an overall batting average of .321 and it is third in team ERA at 4.44.
The team is 15-1 when it has a lead after eight innings.
Six everyday players are hitting at least .300 and six have at least 15 RBI.
The staff is limiting opponents to a .261 overall batting average.
Four pitchers with at least 20.0 innings have ERAs under 4.00.

Ohio State pinch hitters are 12-for-29 (.414), led by Ryan Dew (4-for-6; .667), Michael Arp (3-6) and Ben Toussant (2-for-6). Opponent pinch hitters have had virtually no success against Ohio State pitching (4-for-27; .148).

This is one of coach Bob Todd’s youngest teams. The typical starting lineup includes six freshmen and sophomores sophs Cory Kovanda at 2B, Cory Rupert at 3B and either Zach Hurley or Ryan Dew in RF; and frosh Dan Burkhart at C, Ryan Meade at DH and Tyler Engle at SS … 
OSU is 15-2 when leading after six innings this season; 3-9 when trailing … Ohio State has been involved in seven shutouts this season, winning four and losing three … The staff has picked off 12 opponent base runners, but  has been called for 10 balks … Pitching wins are nicely balanced. Dean Wolosiansky has five and J.B. Shuck and Jake Hale and Dean have four apiece … RS frosh Wolosiansky nailed down the first complete game of 2008 for the staff with a 4-1 G3 win over Minnesota … pitching staff youth is countered by experienced weekend starters Dan DeLucia (22-12 and 3.91 career numbers.), J.B. Shuck (16-11 and 3.49) and Jake Hale (12-9 and 4.13) … the staff includes two freshman starters Dean Wolosiansky and Wednesday starter Andrew Armstrong and two freshmen relievers (Drew Rucinski and Alex Wimmers).

Click on the attached pdf for more game notes, bio updates and statistics!