April 9, 2002

It is different this season for OSU first baseman Doug Dendinger.

Dendinger had a break-through season a year ago for the Buckeyes as he set career highs in every statistical category and established himself as one of the top RBI men in the Big Ten.

Because of his success on the field, Dendinger earned the respect of his teammates, who voted him one of four team co-captains prior to the 2002 season.

“It is different than being an underclassman where all you do is listen,” Dendinger said. “Now, I’m more of a teacher and help the underclassmen understand what is going on. I find myself talking about the little things like guys did with me.”

Dendinger describes his leadership style as leading by example.

“I try to set an example for the guys with how I play and how I practice,” he said. “I try to stay positive with the guys.”

He said it has been difficult this year to do that, mainly because of his self-proclaimed slow start to the season.

“I started kind of slow this year,” the senior from Greenwich, Ohio, said. “I have tough expectations for myself and expect to compete at a high level of competition.”

Dendinger has done a remarkable job playing first base this season. He has just one error in 152 fielding chances. Not to mention, he has done an impressive job as the No. 2 guy in the Buckeye lineup.

Dendinger is batting .281 (16-for-57) this season in his 18 games with two extra base hits, including a home run on March 25 in the 9-0 victory over Harvard at the Homestead Challenge. But what stands out is his team-leading on-base percentage of .506. Through his patience at the plate, he has drawn a Big Ten best 22 walks and has been hit by a pitch another four times.

A year ago, Dendinger finished the year with great success, batting .357 in the Big Ten Tournament. He finished the season with a .291 batting average, just percentage points better than where he is now. If he can put together a series or two like he did last season against Minnesota that earned him recognition as the Big Ten Player of the Week, that might help erase that slow start.

He led the Buckeyes in last year’s Minnesota series with a .600 batting average, going 6-for-10 from the plate with four runs scored, a triple, home run and six RBI. In the series finale against the Gophers he belted a three-run home run over the centerfield wall to give the Buckeyes a 5-1 victory.