May 24, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio – This weekend, the Quest for the Holy Grail begins for the Ohio State Buckeyes and 63 other collegiate baseball teams. From California to Ohio, every college ballplayer has his sights set on one thing – a trip to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series. The road to Omaha has two stops over the next two weekends. Sixty-four teams were selected and split into 16, four-team, double-elimnation regionals across the country. By Sunday evening the field will be shrunk to 16, with those teams moving on to eight, best-of-three Super Regionals at sites to be determined. After the Super Regionals, just eight teams will remain standing and those schools will meet at the final destination point in Omaha. It’s been 34 years since the Ohio State Buckeyes have made it to the College World Series. On Friday, OSU begins its postseason journey with a 7:05 p.m., primetime matchup against Delaware at the 2001 NCAA Columbus Baseball Regional. Majestic Bill Davis Stadium will play host to the Columbus Regional that also features Mississippi State and Kent.
2001 Columbus Regional
For the second time in three seasons, Bill Davis Stadium will play host to the NCAA Baseball Columbus Regional. Southeastern Conference Tournament Champion Mississippi State enters the field as the No. 1 seed and returns to Columbus after being eliminated by the Buckeyes in 1999. Big Ten Champion Ohio State enters the field as the No. 2 seed and host school. America East Champion Delaware is the No. 3 seed and Mid-American Conference Tournament Champion Kent is the No. 4 seed. The double-elimination tournament begins Friday when Mississippi State takes on Kent at 3:35 p.m. The Buckeyes and Blue Hens follow at 7:05 p.m. The winner of the regional will take on the winner of the Fullerton, Calif. Regional.
OSU at the NCAA Tourney
Ohio State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1951. Since that time, the Buckeyes have qualified for the tournament 13 times. In the past 14 seasons under head coach Bob Todd, OSU has earned berths to the tournament seven times. The last time the Buckeyes made the tournament was in 1999 when they played host to the Columbus Regional and Super Regional Tournaments. OSU carries a 24-20 all-time record at the NCAA Tournament and enters the Columbus Regional with a two-game NCAA Tournament losing streak (1999 vs. Cal State Fullerton).
BDS Magic in 1999
Sixteen current Buckeyes have Big Ten and NCAA Regional Championship rings from the 1999 season. That year, the NCAA Tournament returned to The Ohio State University after a 35-year absence. In 1966, old Trautman Field served as the host venue. In 1999, OSU unleashed its gem of a ballpark, Bill Davis Stadium, to the college baseball world. The nation took notice as the Buckeyes used thier home field advantage to help propel themselves to the Columbus Regional Championship. The tournament opened in front of a standing room only crowd of 4,702 as No. 1-seed OSU defeated No. 4-seed Bowling Green, 4-1, on May 28. The following day, the Buckeyes, led by then freshman pitcher E.J. Laratta, defeated Mississippi State, 6-3. On the final day, OSU took home its first regional title in 32 years with a 10-7 win over MSU.
The following weekend, the Buckeyes played host to NCAA Columbus Super Regional, a three-game showdown with Cal State Fullerton. After winning game one 10-7 on June 4, courtesy of an eighth inning grand slam home run, the Buckeyes lost the final two games and the Titans went on to the CWS.
Ohio State at the CWS
Thirty-five years ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes ruled college baseball. OSU defeated Oklahoma State, 8-2, and won the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The following year, in 1967, the Buckeyes returned to Omaha and were eliminated in two games. Since that time, OSU has never made it back to the College World Series. Ohio State has appeared a total of four times at the CWS (1951, 1965, 1966 and 1967). The Buckeyes have compiled a 9-7 record with one national championship (1966) and one runner-up finish (1965).
Golden Flashes Ties
Prior to his 14-year tenure at Ohio State, head coach Bob Todd served a four-year stint as the mentor at Kent. At Kent, Todd compiled a 124-82 record and posted winning records every season and set a single-season mark for Mid-American Conference victories. Todd also doubled as an assistant athletics director for the Golden Flashes. Assistant coach Greg Cypret served under Todd for his four seasons at Kent. Assistant coach Pat Bangtson played under Todd at Kent (1984-87), compiled a 26-17 record as a pitcher and still holds two school records.
2001 Big Ten Champions
For the 14th time in school history, the Ohio State Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship.
“The loss on Friday (against Michigan) was such a heartbreaker,” head coach Bob Todd said. “But this team regrouped and showed heart and character. We put ourselves back into position to win and it worked out in the end.”
The top finish is the seventh in 14 seasons under Todd. Every player Todd has recruited to play at Ohio State has left school with a championship ring.
The Buckeyes last won the Big Ten Championship in 1999. That year, the team finished one win shy of qualifying for the College World Series.
43 and Counting
Ohio State’s 43 wins is the sixth most in school history. The school record of 53 wins was set in 1991. OSU’s .729 winning percentage (43-16) ranks No. 16 in the country.
Wins Year 53 1991 50 1999 49 1994 45 1982 44 1993 43 2001 42 1997 40 1995, 1992
The Big Ten Coach of the Year
For an unprecedented fourth time in his 14-year tenure, head coach Bob Todd was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. No coach in conference history has won the award more than twice since its inception in 1988. He also won the award in 1989, 1994 and 1999.
Deeds Top Freshman
For an unprecedented third-consecutive year, the Buckeyes have produced the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. After leading all conference freshmen and setting an OSU freshmen record with 13 home runs, Doug Deeds was named the top freshman in the conference prior to the Big Ten Tournament. Last year, OSU became the first school to have freshman take home the honor in back-to-back seasons. E.J. Laratta won the honor in 1999 followed by Nick Swisher last year. Since the first year of the award in 1988, six Buckeyes have won Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.
All-Big Ten Buckeyes
Prior to the Big Ten Tournament, eight Buckeyes were named to the three All-Big Ten teams led by a league-high five on the first team. Nick Swisher nabbed first-team honors at first base, while Mike Check earned the distinction as an outfielder. E.J. Laratta and Cory Cox were both nominated as first-team pitchers while Doug Deeds took first-team honors as a designated hitter. The first-team distinctions were the first for all five players.
Mike Harris gleaned second-team All-Big Ten honors at second base, while starting pitchers Kevin Goodrum and Greg Prenger were named to the third team.
In the Collegiate Baseball poll, the Buckeyes are ranked No. 30. Ohio State cracked the national polls during the week of March 26 and have been ranked eight out of the last nine weeks. In the May 15 poll, OSU was ranked in all three national polls.
The Big Ten Tournament
Last weekend, Ohio State made its 15th appearance at the Big Ten Tournament and served as the host for the fifth time. The Buckeyes finished in third place with a 2-2 record and were eliminated in the final day.
The 40-Win Plateau
The team’s 43-16 overall record marks the eighth time under Bob Todd that the Buckeyes have reached the 40-win plateau.
The Buckeyes enter the NCAA Columbus Regional with a Big Ten low 3.96 earned run average. The ERA is the lowest at OSU since 1977 when the team registered a 3.82 ERA. Should OSU maintain its average, it would mark the fifth time in the past decade the Buckeyes have led the Big Ten in ERA.
BDS Turns 100
The May 19 10-0 win over Illinois was the 100th in the five-year history of Bill Davis Stadium. Ohio State enters the NCAA Columbus Regional tournament with 101 wins at Bill Davis Stadium. In the five-year history of Bill Davis Stadium, the Buckeyes have not lost a Big Ten series at home. Ohio State has compiled a 101-33 overall record at home.
WOSU Radio (820 AM) and ohiostatebuckeyes.com will broadcast all postseason games involving Ohio State with the tandem of Herb Howenstine and the jovial Frank Fraas calling the action.
At least One More Week
Nine members of the Ohio State baseball team are down to their final few weeks of their last season. Chris Alvord, Todd Calcamuggio, Mike Check, Cory Cox, Kevin Goodrum, Mike Harris, Ted Kalnins, John Mayor and Trent McIlvain. The class enters this weekend having accumulated a 164-67 four-year record and winners of the 2001 and 1999 Big Ten Championships along with the 1999 NCAA Columbus Regional Championships.
In just 23 starts and 100 at bats, freshman Steve Caravati is leading the Big Ten with six triples. His 0.13 triples per game average ranks him No. 13 in the country. Caravati is one away from tying the OSU single-season record of seven set by Dale Hampshire in 1959.
A Stolen Record
In OSU’s 10-0 win over Illinois, Mike Harris stole two bases and set a school single-season record with 35 steals. The old mark of 34 was set by Roy Marsh in 1994. Harris, Marsh and Mike Check are the only three in school history to steal at least 30 bases in a season.
The Ohio State Offense
Entering this weekend, the Buckeyes are carrying a .317 batting average with 58 home runs and 390 runs batted in. Mike Check is leading the team with a .357 BA and is second with 30 stolen bases. Nick Swisher is supplying the power with a team-best 15 home runs, 16 doubles and a .697 slugging percentage. Doug Dendinger leads the squad with 52 runs batted in. Mike Harris has stolen a team-best 33 bases.
The OSU Pitching Staff
Entering this weekend, the OSU pitching staff has a combined 3.97 earned run average with 337 strikeouts. E.J. Laratta (9-3) leads the team with eight wins. Laratta has been the workhorse, leading the team with 96.1 innings pitched. Newman leads the starting pitchers with a 3.50 ERA. Cory Cox has a team-best 10 saves.
Cox Sets Records
In OSU’s 10-8, game two win over Indiana May 6, stopper Cory Cox broke his own school record and saved his 10th game of the season. He became the only person in school history to record double-digit saves and adds to his career-record total of 27 saves. Cox’s 10 saves is the third highest total in the country.
The Buckeyes have tied the single-season mark for most saves with 15. The dynamic duo of Cory Cox, 10 saves, and Brandon Steen, five saves, has tied the 1996 record.
Saves Year 15 2001, 1996 14 1999, 1994 13 1992 11 1991 10 1982
Walking the Aisle
Five current members of the OSU baseball team will graduate in June with bachelor’s degrees. Chris Alvord (education), Todd Calcamuggio (education), Cory Cox (human ecology), Ted Kalnins (arts and sciences) and John Mayor (business) will finish up both baseball and college in the next few weeks. Two members from last year’s team, Jason Driscoll (education) and Marcello Garofalo (arts and sciences) will also earn degrees. Former Buckeyes stolen base king Roy Marsh (1992-94) is also graduating through OSU’s Athletic Outreach Program. After concluding his minor league baseball career, Marsh returned to OSU and will earn a degree in arts and sciences.
Scouting the Blue Hens
After starting the season a dismal 1-5, the Delaware Blue Hens soon became one of the hottest teams in the country, winning their next 11 games. Winning streaks are nothing new for the Blue Hens as they have won seven or more consecutive games three times this season, highlighted by a 14-game stretch during April. The Hens enter the NCAA Columbus Regional on a tear, racking up 25 victories in their last 28 games.
Delaware (44-13, 22-6 America East) is making its fourth-consecutive regional appearance and 16th overall after winning the America East Championship – for a fourth-consecutive year – with a 7-0 victory over Towson. The Hens have more wins, 44, than any other team competing in the Columbus regional.
Leading the Hens is first-team all-conference selection Chris Kolodzey. The senior right fielder has hit safely in 43-of-57 games this season, including a 14-game hitting streak. He bats a solid .361 and leads the team in home runs (12) and runs batted in (59). Earlier this season he became the 22nd player in program history to surpass the 200-hit barrier.
Right behind Kolodzey on the hit chart is Rotary Smith Award candidate and first-team all-conference selection Andrew Salvo. He became the 23rd member of the UD 200-hit club this year. Salvo, who was a preseason third-team All American by Collegiate Baseball, now has 240 career hits and has hit safely in 27 of his last 31 games. He has recorded a hit in all but 10 games this season while racking up an astounding 84 on the year. He launched six home runs, chalked up 42 RBI and scored 49 runs.
The Hens boast two pitchers who have amassed 10 wins on the year in Rotary Smith Award candidate Rich McGuire and Vic Sage. Both were named second-team all-conference and McGuire was a third-team preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball. McGuire, a junior, posted a 10-3 mark with a 4.04 earned run average this season while leading the team in innings pitched (93.2) and strikeouts (66).
Sage is 10-2 and is second on the Hens’ pitching staff with a scanty 3.49 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting just .239 off the right-hander. He is one of the iron men of the staff, racking up 90.1 innings while striking out 57.
OSU vs. UD All-Time
The Friday game marks the first meeting between the school.
Scouting the Bulldogs
Mississippi State enters NCAA postseason play on a roll after winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend in Hoover, Ala. The Bulldogs won 4-of-5 contests, including a 4-1 championship-game victory over perennial power Louisiana State, en route to the tournament title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Four Bulldogs – pitchers Chris Young and Brandon Medders, catcher Jon Knott and outfielder Josh West – earned all-tournament team honors.
The Bulldogs posted a 36-22 record this season and a 17-13 mark in the SEC, finishing second in the SEC West division. MSU is making its sixth-consecutive appearance in NCAA postseason play and fourth-consecutive under head coach Pat McMahon. Last year, the Bulldogs advanced to the Super Regionals before falling to Clemson.
Knott paces the Bulldog offense, leading the team in home runs (eight), batting average (.356), hits (69) and slugging percentage (.557). Freshman first baseman Matthew Brinson posted a .313 batting average and Jason Burkley notched a .303 average while posting a team-high 10 doubles and 43 runs batted in.
On the mound, junior all-conference selection Tanner Brock anchors the staff. The right-hander amassed a 7-1 record and 3.32 earned run average. In 14 starts, he held opponents to a paltry .219 batting average while striking out 70 over 86.2 innings. He was even more impressive in conference play, earning a 6-0 record with a 2.75 ERA. Medders is the Bulldogs’ stopper out of the bullpen, leading the team with six saves while holding opponents to a .183 batting average. The Bulldog staff posted a 3.43 ERA this season, limiting opponents to a .242 batting average.
OSU vs. MSU All-Time
Mississippi State enters the Columbus Regional with a 4-2 edge in the all-time series over Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the last two meetings against the Bulldogs in the 1999 Columbus Regional.
Scouting the Golden Flashes
Kent makes its first NCAA Tournament appearance in seven years this week after capturing the Mid-American Conference Tournament title last week. The Golden Flashes rose from the losers’ bracket of the tournament to win three-consecutive games last Sunday, including an 8-3 win over Miami University in the championship game.
The Golden Flashes enter NCAA play with a 30-28 mark. They finished second in the MAC East division with a 16-11 league mark. Kent is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 1994 when the Golden Flashes participated in the Atlantic I Regional in Miami, Fla.
Kent rides the broad shoulders of MAC Player of the Year John VanBenschoten. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior first baseman has recorded a monstrous season, swatting an NCAA-high 30 home runs, which amounts to an average of .53 home runs per game.
The All-America, Rotary Smith Award and Dick Howser Trophy candidate also leads the team in virtually every offensive category – batting average (.443), hits (93), total bases (209), slugging percentage (.995), walks (52), on-base percentage (.556) and triples (6). He also provides speed on the basepaths, swiping 22 bases in 24 attempts – second on the team to Eric O’Brien, who has 31 stolen bases in 36 attempts.
As if his hitting numbers aren’t enough, VanBenschoten dominates from the pitching rubber as well, serving as the Golden Flashes’ closer. He leads the team with a 2.66 earned run average and eight saves in 20 appearances.
Kent depends on its offensive game, hitting .311 as a team with six starters hitting .312 or better. On the other hand, Flashes’ pitching staff has accumulated a 6.15 ERA.
The Kent head coach is Rick Remblielak. He is in his eighth season at the helm.
OSU vs. Kent All-Time
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series over Kent 32-12. The schools last met on March 9, 1996 when Ohio State defeated the Flashes 5-2.
Climbing Up the Ranks
Last weekend, junior pitcher E.J. Laratta picked up his 26th career win and pitched career inning No. 283.2 in OSU’s 8-4 win over Michigan at the Big Ten Tournament. The totals rank him tied for No. 6 in wins and No. 4 in innings pitched in OSU career history.
OSU Career Wins 1. Justin Fry 1995-99 36 2. Pete Perini 1947-50 30 3. Scott Klingenbeck 1990-92 28 Tom Schwarber 1987-91 28 5. Chris Granata 1991-94 27 6. E.J. Laratta 1999-pres. 26 Bill Cuningham 1982-85 26 Mark Dempsey 1977-80 26 9. Matt Beaumont 1992-94 25
OSU Career Innings Pitched 1. Justin Fry 1995-99 419.2 2. Pete Perini 1947-59 344.0 3. Chris Granata 1991-94 295.1 4. E.J. Laratta 1999-pres. 283.2 5. Tom Schwarber 1987-91 278.0 6. Mark Dempsey 1977-80 289.1 7. Doug Swearingen 1980-83 278.1 8. Scott Klingenbeck 1990-92 277.2
Big Ten Dominance
This year, the Buckeyes won 6-of-7 Big Ten series and tied the one they did not win (3-1 over Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan State, 2-1 over Indiana, 2-2 split with Penn State and 4-0 sweep over Minnesota). OSU has won or tied 86-of-98 Big Ten series in the 14-year tenure of head coach Bob Todd.
Walk This Way
The combination of a selective eye at the plate and respect from opposing pitchers has given Nick Swisher a school record 59 walks in 55 games. Doug Dendinger is right behind Swisher with 50 walks in 56 games. The old record of 50 was set by Mike Lockwood in 1997.
Name Year Walks 1. Nick Swisher 2001 59 2. Doug Dendinger 2001 50 Mike Lockwood 1997 50 4. Greg Mohler 1982 45 5. Chris Williams 1995 44 6. Mike Durant 1991 42 Jason Trott 1999 42
Swisher Invited to USA Trials
USA Baseball announced that Nick Swisher was one of 19 collegiate players invited to the 2001 USA Baseball National Team Trials. The trials will be held in Tucson, Ariz., June 16-19. “It’s a great honor to be invited,” Swisher said. “Just to be considered in this group is something special. But right now, my focus is on Ohio State baseball and the things we are playing for right now. I’m sure when the season is over, I’ll focus on making the National Team, but right now, it’s really the farthest thing from my mind.” The USA National Team will be selected from a pool of approximately 20-29 players, of which an additional 5-10 have yet to be determined. Team USA will play approximately 30 games on the Red. White and Blue Summer tour, beginning June 22 with the 30th annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, which this year will be played in Japan.
This is My House
Freshman Steve Caravati has made Bill Davis Stadium his favorite ballpark to play in. In 25 games, including 12 starts, the outfielder is batting .455 (25-for-55) with five doubles, three triples, three home runs and 27 runs batted in. His home slugging percentage is an astounding .818 percent. On March 10, he became the first player in Bill Davis Stadium’s 5-year history to hit for the cycle. Against the Detroit Titans, he opened the game with a one-run double in the first inning. In the third inning, Caravati belted a solo home run. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, he sent a shot off the center field wall for a bases-clearing triple. In his final at bat, Caravati spanked a RBI single to left field. For the game, he finished 4-for-4 with eight RBI. On April 6, he missed his second career cycle by a double in OSU’s 11-6 win over Illinois.
The Old Man
Friday, April 6 against Illinois, stopper Cory Cox set a school record by making his 80th career appearance as a Buckeye. The old record of 79 was held by Andy Lee (1996-99). Cox enters the tournament with 93 career appearances. He (23 years and 1 month) may be the senior member of the pitching staff, but he isn’t the senior member of the team. Catcher Chris Alvord (23 years and 7 months) was born Sept. 1, 1977 and is the only member of the team born that year.
Show of Unity
Five members of the Ohio State catching corps have shaved their heads in a show of unity. Self nicknamed “The Usty’s,” the trend was started when Todd “Musty” Calcamuggio, who wears his head shaved all year round, helped convince Chris “Dusty” Alvord to sport the same look during the Spring Break Trip in Bradenton, Fla. In the two weeks since, Derek “Busty” Kinnear, Doug “Clusty” Larason and Brian “Rusty” Panke have followed suit, giving the catchers a more aerodynamic look collectively.
Wow … What a Start
The 20-5 start by Ohio State was the best 25 game start the program has seen since 1991 when the Buckeyes opened the season with a 21-4 record. That year, OSU won the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In 1994, the Buckeyes streaked to a 19-6 start and eventually finished with the best record in the nation at 49-9.
Lights Out Baseball
The April 4 game against Wright State marked the first game in Bill Davis Stadium history delayed and ultimately suspended because of light failure. Initially, the lights went out during daylight and were temporarily restored. The game was then delayed at 8:32 p.m. after another outage and was restarted at 9:08 p.m. The final power outage occurred at 9:26 p.m. in the top of the ninth inning and the game was then suspended by the umpires.
USA Baseball Adds Todd
USA Baseball has named Ohio State baseball head coach Bob Todd as the third and final assistant coach of the 2001 USA Baseball National Team. The team will consist of collegiate all-stars that will play approximately 30 games on the USA Baseball Red, White and Blue Tour this summer. Pat McMahon of Mississippi State is the head coach and will be assisted by Paul Stevens of Northwestern and Dusty Rhodes of North Florida. In June, USA Baseball, McMahon and his coaching staff will select a team comprised primarily of the nation’s top freshman and sophomore collegiate players. The players will assemble at the training site in Tucson, Ariz., then depart for Japan to play a five-game series against the Japanese Collegiate All-Stars in Tokyo and Okinawa. Upon returning from Japan, the team will play approximately 25 additional games in July in various states on the USA Red, White and Blue Tour, including Alaska, Ohio and New York.
OSU baseball results easily can be found on the Internet at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.
The Opening Pitch – Ohio State at the NCAA Columbus Regional
Some more helpful notes on Ohio State baseball that will make your job easier
Every player head coach Bob Todd has recruited has left school with a Big Ten Championship ring.
The Buckeyes won the NCAA Championship in 1966.
Ohio State is 3-0 all-time in NCAA Regional games at Bill Davis Stadium.
The Buckeyes are 4-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament games at Bill Davis Stadium
Ohio State is 6-6 all-time in postseason games at Bill Davis Stadium.
This weekend will mark the 14th time in school history OSU has been selected into the NCAA Tournament.
Head Coach Bob Todd is 12-14 all-time at the NCAA Tournament.