April 3, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeyes are ranked 24th in this week’s Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll released Monday. The ranking is the first since they finished the 2003 season ranked in the Top 25 of all four of the major polls. This year, Ohio State has won 13 of its last 15 games to improve to 15-6 overall.

Last week, Ohio State went 4-1. After beating Toledo 8-5 in the home opener at Bill Davis Stadium last Wednesday, the Buckeyes won three of four games from Iowa in Iowa City. Ohio State won the first, third and fourth games of the series by respective scores of 12-5, 6-4 and 15-1 with the only blemish of the week coming in game two, a 7-1 loss.

The most dominating win was the 15-1 series clincher on Sunday that kept the Buckeyes on top of the Big Ten standings with a 3-1 record. While the offense pounded out 17 hits, it was the pitching that grabbed national headlines as freshman pitcher J.B. Shuck took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up a solo home run to the lead-off batter that inning. It was the only hit allowed by Buckeye pitching. Shuck struck out eight batters in the game and turned the game over to relief pitching in the ninth to preserve the one-hitter. Shuck earned a spot on the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll for the performance. It was the second time this season he was included on that list.

Shuck leads the Big Ten with his perfect 4-0 record and 1.12 ERA. He has 26 strikeouts in 32.0 innings. Dan DeLucia is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Cory Luebke is the third Buckeye start with 26 strikeouts. he is 3-2 with a 3.56 ERA in 30.1 innings. As a staff, the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with a 3.50 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .263 average.

As strong as the starting pitching has been, the offense has been even stronger. The squad has a .349 batting average, which also is tops in the league. In five games last week, the team outscored opponents 42-22. In the last 15 games, in which Ohio State has lost just twice, the squad is batting .373.

Last week in Iowa City, the team outscored the Hawkeyes 34-17 while 15 of the team’s 44 hits were for extra bases. The team had nine doubles, two triples and four home runs after entering the weekend with only three round-trippers the first 17 games of the season. Ronnie Bourquin was the top batter against Iowa. He batted .438 in the four games, going 7-for-16 with three doubles, a home run, five RBI and six runs scored. He had an .813 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage. He did not strikeout in the series and drew two walks. Jason Zoeller also had a strong series, batting .417.

Bourquin continues to pace the team with his .440 batting average, 40 hits and 28 RBI. Eric Fryer also has 28 RBI and is batting .382 with 29 hits. Jacob Howell is second on the team with a .420 batting average and has 37 hits, four doubles, three triples a home run and 15 RBI. Matt Angle also is nearing .400 with his .393 batting average.

The Buckeyes welcome Illinois, the defending Big Ten regular season champion, to Bill Davis Stadium this weekend for a four-game series that gets underway Friday at 6:35 p.m. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1:35 p.m. before concluding the series with a single game Sunday at 1:05 p.m.