COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State junior pitcher/utility player J.B. Shuck has been selected as the Big Ten Conference’s initial 2008 Pitcher of the Week for his standout performance in Ohio State’s 1-0 win over Memphis Saturday in the Service Academies Spring Classic in Millington, Tenn. The honor marks the first time since 2000 that a Buckeye pitcher has been honored by the conference to open the season.

Shuck, from Galion, Ohio and Galion High School, earns the first Pitcher of the Week award of his career after recording a career-high nine strikeouts in six innings of work. He scattered just two hits and had only two walks in the effort against a Memphis team that made an appearance in the 2007 NCAA tournament. At one point he retired seven consecutive batters between the fourth and sixth innings and for the game allowed just one Tiger to reach third base

Shuck’s effort was one of many fine outings by Buckeye hurlers in the first weekend of play. The best of the best efforts from a staff that combined on a 1.33 earned run average and walked just six batters while striking out 21 include:

  • Columbus native and Bishop Watterson grad Dan DeLucia, making his third opening day start for the Buckeyes, went 4.0 innings against Arkansas State and scattered five hits while allowing just one earned run in a much-anticipated and watched return from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the 2007 season after three starts and 17 innings pitched.
  • Sophomore reliever Eric Best, from Lewis Center and Olentangy Liberty High School, came into the Arkansas State game in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out and slammed the door on the Indians behind three fly ball outs. He picked up the save with a flawless ninth inning.
  • Freshman Alex Wimmers, from Cincinnati, relieved Shuck in the seventh inning against Memphis and promptly retired the side in order including strikeouts of the first and third batters he faced as a collegian. He also had a three-up-three-down inning in the eighth. Wimmers picked up the save with 3.0 innings of one-hit, five-strikeout work.
  • And true freshman Drew Rucinski, from Broken Arrow, Okla., pitched well in relief against Seton Hall with a couple 1-2-3 innings while allowing just one unearned run in 4.1 innings of work. He earned his first collegiate win in the process.

The Buckeyes travel to College Station, Texas, this week to compete in the Dominos Pizza Aggies Baseball Classic. The Buckeyes will play Texas A&M Friday at 7:30 p.m. (ET), Louisiana Tech Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Arkansas Sunday at noon.