April 4, 2006
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NO. 24 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
15-6, 3-1 Big Ten
9-14, 1-5 MAC
Wednesday, April 5, 2006 o 6:35 p.m.
Bill Davis Stadium (Capacity: 4,450)
Series History: Ohio State leads 28-15
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Connor Graham (MU) vs. Dan Barker (OSU)
AM 920 WMNI
GameTracker, Streaming Audio & Video
No. 24 Ohio State returns to Bill Davis Stadium for just the second time in 22 games Wednesday when it welcomes Miami (Ohio) for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. The Buckeyes improved to 15-6 after winning three of four games at Iowa last weekend and sit at the top of the Big Ten standings, tied with Michigan State and Northwestern.
Miami comes to Columbus after losing three games to Ball State in Muncie, Ind., last weekend to fall to 9-14 overall and 1-5 in the Mid-American Conference. The RedHawks will be the third team from the MAC the Buckeyes have met. Ohio State lost 12-11 to Western Michigan, but beat Toledo 8-5 last Wednesday.
The Buckeyes continue a mini six-game home stand this weekend when they welcome Illinois, the defending Big Ten regular season champion to Bill Davis Stadium this weekend. Central Michigan will close out the home stand next Wednesday before Ohio State heads to Ann Arbor for a four-game series at Michigan.
The game will be broadcast on the new radio home for the Ohio State baseball team, AM 920 WMNI in Columbus. Randy Rhinehart and Frank Fraas will call that action. The game will be available at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.
ABOUT OHIO STATE
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 21 of all four of the major polls after hosting Missouri State in an NCAA Super Regional. 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 Dan Barker, who pitched the ninth without a hit.
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 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.
SHUCK MAKES NATIONAL HONOR ROLL
For the second time this season freshman pitcher J.B. Shuck made the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll. Shuck, a left-handed pitcher from Galion, Ohio (Galion), took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a 15-1 victory Sunday at Iowa. The Hawkeyes broke it up with a solo-home run to lead off the eighth inning, but he retired the next three batters to get out of the inning and handed the game over to a reliever who did not allow a hit in the ninth. The two pitchers combined to allow only the one hit. Shuck struck out a season-high eight batters, equaling the most by a Buckeye this season, and did not issue a walk.
Shuck also started the midweek game against Toledo, but pitched only three innings after allowing one earned run on five hits in the short start. After beating Iowa, Shuck improved to 4-0 and boasts a 1.12 ERA, the lowest in the Big Ten. Opposing hitters are batting just .161. He has allowed only four earned runs this season and also holds his own at first base, where he has made eight starts. Shuck is batting .400 in 12 games (14-for-35) with 10 RBI.
The multi-position player also made the honor roll after his first win of the season, a 4-2 win over Missouri the opening weekend of the season, when the Tigers were ranked No. 12 in the nation.
IN BIG TEN OPENERS
The Buckeyes are 12-7 in conference openers since head coach Bob Todd arrived in Columbus prior to the 1988 season. Prior to last year’s loss at Illinois, Ohio State has won six Big Ten openers. When opening league play at home, the Buckeyes are 8-4 under Todd. Since 1988, when the team is on the road to open Big Ten play it is 3-3 and at a neutral site, the team is 1-0.
Miami (Ohio) is 9-14 this year after getting swept at Ball State this past weekend in a three-game conference series. The RedHawks are 1-5 in league play after taking 1-of-3 games the previous weekend to Toledo. Last week in midweek, non-conference action, Miami lost 5-3 to Xavier and beat Cincinnati 4-3 in 11 innings.
Jordan Petraitis leads Miami with a .357 batting average (30-for-84), three home runs and 16 RBI. The RedHawks, which are batting .275 as a team, have just one other everyday player batting better than .300 and that is Geoff Orr, who is batting .337 (31-for-92) with a team-best 31 hits, including five doubles. Former Ohio State pitcher Jeffrey Carroll transferred to the Oxford, Ohio, school after last season and has played in 10 games this season and has a .314 batting average (11-for-35) with two doubles, a triple and seven RBI.
On the mound for Miami, John Ely is 3-1 with a 3.44 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 34.0 innings pitched. Keith Weiser is 2-3 with a 5.68 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 38.0 innings. Sam Shorts has started three of his eight appearances and is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. The pitching staff has a 5.06 ERA and has an opposing batting average of .307.
Dan Simonds (Davidson, 1987) is 9-14 in his first season at Miami. He replaced Tracy Smith, who departed to become the head coach at Indiana after last season. Simonds was the head coach at Xavier in 2005 and guided the Musketeers to a 19-35 record in his only previous season as a head coach. Ohio State will meet Indiana April 21-23 in Bloomington.
AGAINST THE REDHAWKS Ohio State leads the all-time series vs. Miami (Ohio) 28-15 and has won the last five in the series and seven of the last 10 after beating Miami 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning last year in Columbus. The first meeting in the series was in 1920 when Ohio State won 16-1. Ohio State coach Bob Todd is 15-4 all-time against Miami, which includes four seasons the teams met when Todd coached at Kent State.
Last 10 Games vs. Miami (OSU leads 7-3)
LAST TIME VS. THE REDHAWKS
Freshman outfielder Matt Angle came through with a one-out sacrifice fly to score Jedidiah Stephen and give Ohio State a 3-2 ninth-inning victory over Miami (Ohio) in a non-conference thriller at Bill Davis Stadium May 17, 2005.
With the score tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Stephen came through with a one-out base hit through the left side to put the winning run on base. Connor Graham, the fourth RedHawk pitcher of the game, tried to pick off Stephen at first, but an errant throw sent the Buckeye shortstop to third. Graham intentionally walked Paul Farinacci and then loaded the bases with a second walk to Eric Fryer.
Miami skipper Tracy Smith yanked Graham in favor of Sam Shorts and then pulled his center fielder Jason Brown for David Franco, who plugged the hole up the middle as a fifth infielder. Smith also slid right fielder Brandon Hillier over to cover center field, a configuration Angle admitted after the game to never have seen before. But the rookie connected on a 1-1 pitch and sent the ball deep to right-center field for the sacrifice that delivered Stephen.
AGAINST 2005 NCAA TOURNEY TEAMS
Miami (Ohio) is one of five teams the Buckeyes face this year that advanced to the NCAA tournament last year. Ohio State lost to Florida (10-3), beat Missouri (4-2), and lost to Illinois-Chicago (7-1) earlier this year. This is the fourth meeting against 2005 postseason teams. The lone remaining NCAA regional team the Buckeyes have yet to play is Michigan, which it will meet April 14-16 in Ann Arbor. Miami played in the NCAA Austin Regional and was 1-2, beating Quinnipiac with losses to Arkansas and Texas, which went on to win the 2005 national championship.
LAST WEDNESDAY: OHIO STATE 8, TOLEDO 5
With the scored knotted at two in the bottom of the third inning, Ohio State shortstop Jason Zoeller delivered a two-out bases loaded triple and later added another RBI in the seventh to help propel the Buckeyes to an 8-5 victory over Toledo in front of 1,008 fans Wednesday in the home opener at Bill Davis Stadium.
Zoeller gave the Buckeyes a three-run lead with his first triple of the season and the fourth of his career. Eric Fryer led off the inning with a single through the left side, but the next two batters were retired. Greg Gompf, the Toledo starting pitcher, hit Jedidiah Stephen and then walked Wes Schirtzinger to load the bases. Zoeller sent a ball off the wall in right-center field to empty the bases and lift Ohio State to a 5-2 lead. Each team scored a run in the fourth, but neither team scored in the fifth or sixth. The Buckeyes extended their lead to five runs, 8-3, with a pair of runs in the seventh.
Zoeller was 2-for-2 in the game and was hit by a pitch on the helmet in the second and drew a walk in the fifth, but knocked in four RBI. Fryer was a perfect 4-for-4 and scored two runs, while Howell was 3-for-5 with one RBI. Ronnie Bourquin and Stephen also added two hits as the Buckeyes collected 14 as a team and overcame two errors. The Rockets also had 14 hits.
OSU starting pitcher J.B. Shuck struck out five in 3.0 innings of work and allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits before leaving in the fourth after putting the first two runners on base. Dan Barker pitched the next two innings and did not allow a run on three hits with a pair of strikeouts to earn the win (2-0). Gompf was tagged with the loss after allowing the first five Ohio State runs of the game on five hits.
IN HOME OPENERS
Since Bob Todd arrived to Ohio State prior to the 1988 season, the Buckeyes are 14-5 in home openers. The Scarlet and Gray have beaten Toledo each of the last two years in the home opener to improve to 7-3 all-time in openers at Bill Davis Stadium.
IN THE BIG TEN
Ohio State continues to own the best overall record in the Big Ten at 15-6 and sits in a three-way tie atop the league standings after going 3-1 at Iowa last weekend to open conference play. Michigan State took 3-of-4 from Indiana and Northwestern won 3-of-4 at Michigan. Illinois, which visits the Buckeyes this weekend, is one of two teams with 13-8 records. Purdue is the other. This weekend, Iowa is at Penn State, Indiana is at Northwestern, Michigan State is at Purdue and Michigan is at Minnesota.
The Buckeyes lead the league with a .349 batting average and a 3.50 ERA. In addition to Ohio State, Michigan State (.320), Purdue (.318) and Illinois (.316) all are batting better than .300. Minnesota has the next closest ERA (3.95) and is the only other team with an ERA of less than 4.00.
Ronnie Bourquin leads the league with his .440 batting average. The Buckeyes rank 1-3-5 and have five of the Top 10 batting averages this week with Jacob Howell (.420) third and Matt Angle (.393) fifth. Eric Fryer is eighth at .382 and Jedidiah Stephen is 10th at .376. Bourquin and Howell are 1-2 in hits with 40 and 37, respectively, while Angle (32), Howell (27) and Bourquin (26) rank 1-3-4 in runs scored. Fryer and Bourquin lead the conference with 28 RBI, while Stephen has 12 doubles to set the standard.
In pitching, J.B. Shuck continues to lead the Big Ten with his 1.12 ERA and .161 opposing batting average. He and Dan DeLucia are tied atop the conference with four victories.
The Buckeyes have really turned it on at the plate in the last 15 games to up their batting average to a Big Ten best .349. The next closest team, Michigan State, has a batting average of .320. During the 15-game stretch, in which Ohio State has won 13 games, the Buckeyes have hit .373 and have outscored their opponents 143-62, that is an average of 9.5 to 4.1. Ohio State is averaging 14.4 hits to 8.2 hits per game during the stretch. For the season, Ohio State has outscored the opposition 209-135 or 13.5 to 8.3. In the first six games of the season, the Buckeyes were 2-4 and were outscored 36-35. The Scarlet and Gray have scored 10 or more runs nine times this season and have recorded double-digit figures in hits 14 times, including a stretch seven straight games with at least 16 hits (games 6-12).
BUCKEYES FIND EARLY GAME SUCCESS
Ohio State has managed to build early leads against its opponents. Through the first four innings, the Buckeyes have outscored their opposition 93-35, including a margin of 17-1 in the second inning. Last weekend in Iowa, the Buckeyes outscored the Hawkeyes 19-7 in the first four innings. Only eight times this season in 21 games has an opponent scored in the first inning. The sixth inning also has been particularly potent for the Buckeyes, which have outscored opponents 27-6.
6 OF 7 HOME RUNS VS. STATE OF IOWA
Ohio State entered the Iowa series with just three home runs and had not homered since the Northern Iowa game March 11 in Clearwater, Fla., when Jason Zoeller and Eric Fryer each homered against the Cedar Falls, Iowa, school. Zoeller launched a two-run shot to right field in the wind in the opener against Iowa last weekend and then the team had three home runs in the series finale, including a pair of three-run bombs. Jacob Howell got things started went he sent a 1-0 fastball over the fence in right-center to lead off the game. His third career home run was his first since game one of the 2004 Penn State series. Jedidiah Stephen and Ronnie Bourquin each had a two-out, three-run homer later in the game. For Stephen, it was the 19th home run of his career, while it was the seventh career home run for Bourquin. Fryer and Zoeller each have two home runs this season to lead the team.
Every coach preaches getting hits with two outs, but Ohio State players really seems to be taking it to heart this season. The team has 73 two-out hits and has driven in 67 runs with two outs. The Buckeyes are batting .299 (73-for-244) with two outs.
ZOELLER STREAK REACHED 12 GAMES
Buckeye second baseman Jason Zoeller ran his hit streak to a team-best 12 games this season before going 0-for-3 in the third game of the Iowa series. The streak started in game six and continued through game 19. He missed the final two games during spring break but returned with two hits against Toledo and in the first two games at Iowa. The streak was one off his career long of 13, which he did last year in games three through 17.
ZOELLER HIT FOR SERIES CYCLE AT IOWA
In the four games at Iowa, Ohio State second baseman Jason Zoeller hit for the cycle. He was 5-for-12 with two singles, a double, a triple and a home run. He also had a sacrifice bunt and finished the series with five RBI and scored two runs.
The game against Florida marked the 1,300th game of Bob Todd’s career, which is in its 23rd season in 2006. He coached his 1,100th game at Ohio State, where he has coached since 1988, in the Buckeyes’ eighth game of the year, a 13-6 victory over Lehigh in the second game of a doubleheader on March 10. Todd owns a career record of 865-452-2 and is 741-370-2 at Ohio State.
Ohio State has played 3,594 games since it began playing baseball in 1881. The 3,600th game in school history will be played against Central Michigan next Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. The Buckeyes are 2,168-1,388-38 all time.
DELUCIA TOPS 175 CAREER INNINGS
With 14.0 innings on the spring break trip, Dan DeLucia moved ahead of the stat minimum for several career pitching stats. Now at 184.1 career innings after throwing 7.0 in the Big Ten opener at Iowa. He has allowed 179 hits, the seventh lowest total by a Buckeye. He has walked just 54 batters, which is the third fewest by an Ohio State pitcher. He has allowed 95 runs (tied for seventh lowest) and 81 earned runs (sixth lowest). DeLucia is 13-9 with a 3.95 ERA and 105 strikeouts, though this year he is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and is in a three-way tie for the team lead with 26 strikeouts.
SPEED YIELDING MORE TRIPLES
Ohio State already has 11 triples this season in 21 games. The school record for three-baggers is 25 set in 1991. Last year the team had 16 triples, which tied for 10th most in school history. Jacob Howell is the team lead with three this season, though Jason Zoeller and Adam Schneider each have two. Howell has nine career triples to sit in an eighth-place tie on the school’s career list. Jedidiah Stephen, who has one triple this season, has six in his career, while Zoeller has five career triples.
SPEED ALSO WORKING ON BASE PATHS
Buckeye center fielder Matt Angle has stolen 12 of 13 bases this season as the team leader. He was 3-for-3 last weekend at Iowa. Jacob Howell and Wes Schirtzinger, the other two outfielders, also are a threat to steal. Howell is perfect in six attempts, while Schirtzinger has been thrown out once on seven tries. The team is 30 for 35 in stolen bases this season. Howell has 30 career stolen bases and is tied for 17th on the career list.
BUCKEYES GO 5-1 ON SPRING BREAK
The Buckeyes won 5-of-6 games on their annual spring break trip last week in Bradenton, Fla., March 19-24 Ohio State opened the trip with a 14-0 victory vs. Massachusetts and then beat Cornell 12-4 before falling 7-1 to Illinois-Chicago. The Buckeyes rebounded to beat Cornell 6-0 and won two games vs. Vermont (14-1 and 6-5).
The Scarlet and Gray batted .335 in the six games and were led by Jacob Howell, who batted .571 in the six games. He was 12-for-21 with one double, two triples and a sacrifice bunt for five RBI and nine runs scored. He also drew three walks and was hit by one pitch with only two strikeouts. He added two stolen bases. Matt Angle hit .435 and scored 11 runs on the trip and Eric Fryer hit .421 and batted in 10 runs. Ronnie Bourquin was one of three with more than 10 hits. The Buckeye third baseman batted in 10 runs and scored eight times.
On the hill in Bradenton, Dan DeLucia was 2-0 while J.B. Shuck, Jake Hale and Josh Barrera also earned wins. DeLucia pitched a three-hit, complete game, 14-0 shutout vs. UMass in the opener of the spring break trip and then closed the week with a 6-5 victory vs. Vermont. Shuck combined with Dan Barker for the team’s other shutout win of the week. Each kept Cornell off the scoreboard and allowed two hits. Hale picked up his first win as a Buckeye in the 12-4 win vs. Cornell, while Barrera claimed his first win in the 14-1 victory vs. Vermont. Cory Luebke was the losing pitcher vs. Illinois-Chicago. As a pitching staff, Ohio State had a 2.77 ERA and held opposing batters to a .211 average.
HOWELL LEADS BUCKEYES IN BRADENTON
Jacob Howell had nine straight hits to start the week and batted .571 in six games last week, going 12-for-21 with five RBI and nine runs scored as the Buckeyes won five games. He had a slugging percentage of .810 and an on-base percentage of .640.
Howell actually had a hit in 10 straight at bats going back to the team’s win over Bethune-Cookman March 12. He was 2-for-5 in that game with a single in his last at bat. He was 3-for-3 with a walk vs. UMass, 5-for-5 vs. Cornell and then was 1-for-3 vs. Illinois-Chicago with a hit in his first at bat. With the walk vs. UMass, he actually reached base 11 straight times, which was two off the 1934 school record of 13. Howell is third on the team with a .433 batting average.
DELUCIA, HALE HONORED NATIONALLY
Dan DeLucia and Jake Hale were named to the College Baseball Foundation Weekly Honor Roll March 21 after combining to allow just seven hits in two games last week against UMass and Cornell. Delucia allowed only three hits in a nine-inning complete-game shutout, 14-0, over the Minutemen March 19. The junior did not allow the first hit until the fifth inning, and threw 106 pitches to pick up his second win of the season. The in the team’s next game, Hale, a freshman, picked up his first career win, allowing only two runs on three hits, with five strikeouts, as he combined with two relievers to limit the Big Red to only four hits in a, 12-4, victory.
BOURQUIN SHARES BIG TEN HONORS
Ohio State third baseman Ronnie Bourquin was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week March 20 after going 5-for-6 in the Buckeyes’ lone game of the week, a 14-0 win over Massachusetts March 19. Bourquin started the game with five straight singles before a fly out in his last visit to the plate. He drove in five runs and scored twice. Bourquin, a junior from Canton, Ohio (Canton South), ran his hit streak to a career-long eight games and upped his batting average to .520 through the first 11 games of the season.
BUCKEYES PERFECT IN CLEARWATER
Ohio State won all four games they played at the College Baseball Spring Classic at Jack Russell Stadium March 10-12 in Clearwater, Fla. Ohio State took both ends of a doubleheader vs. Lehigh, winning 17-10 and 13-6, before beating Northern Iowa 9-6 and Bethune-Cookman 9-1. In the four games, the Scarlet and Gray scored 48 runs on 73 hits, batting .468 for the week.
OSU center fielder Matt Angle batted .647 in going 11-for-17 with seven RBI and nine runs scored. He was 5-for-6 for the second straight Sunday, getting hits in his first five at bats in games against Western Michigan and Bethune-Cookman. He also had two sacrifice flies and a sac bunt last week and was 3-for-4 in the stolen base department. Angle did not have the only hot bat for the Buckeyes. Shortstop Jedidiah Stephen was 10-for-17 with four RBI and seven runs scored. Four of his 10 hits were doubles and he was able to match his career-best hit streak in a 1-for-5 day against Bethune-Cookman, his 11th straight game with at least one hit. Four other players batted better than .400, including Wes Schirtzinger (.571), Ronnie Bourquin (.474), Jacob Howell (.474) and Jason Zoeller (.417).
ANGLE NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ohio State center fielder Matt Angle was named the Big Ten Player of the Week March 14 after going 11-for-17 as the Buckeyes to four wins on their trip to Clearwater, Fla., March 10-12. Angle, a sophomore from Whitehall, Ohio (Whitehall-Yearling), hit .647 with seven RBI and scored nine runs and had a hit in his first five at bats vs. Bethune-Cookman, including a triple in the sixth, before ending the streak with a fielder’s choice in the top of the ninth. It was his second straight Sunday to go 5-for-6 (also hits in first five at bats) March 5 in a 12-11 loss to Western Michigan in Jacksonville, Fla. In the four games in Clearwater, Angle had a .765 slugging percentage and a .619 on-base percentage. He also had a pair of sacrifice flies and a sac bunt. He was 3-for-4 on stolen bases and had 15 putouts.
KENNEL CLUB CLASSIC REWIND
Ohio State went 1-2 in the three games at the Kennel Club Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., March 4-6. After an exhibition loss to Aoyama Gakuin, a Japanese college team, the Buckeyes beat UNC Greensboro 12-2. The next day at Jacksonville, Ohio State took a 3-1 lead in the top of the ninth, only to lose 4-3 in the bottom of the inning. In the weekend finale, Western Michigan held off a Buckeye comeback bid for a 12-11 victory.
Jedidiah Stephen, Ronnie Bourquin and Eric Fryer led the Buckeyes, each going 6-for-14 (.429). Fryer had six RBI and scored three times, while Stephen had four RBI and one runs scored and Bourquin had four RBI and scored four times. Ohio State hit .314 in Jacksonville and outscored the opposition 38-30. Cory Luebke got the lone victory for the pitching staff, going seven innings against UNC Greensboro, allowing one unearned run on five hits with eight strikeouts. Dan DeLucia was in line to get a win at Jacksonville, but the bullpen let a two-run lead slip by in the bottom of the ninth inning. Ohio State slipped to 2-4 after the first two tournaments.
LUEBKE EARNS WEEKLY HONOR
Ohio State left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week March 7 after getting his first win of the season March 4 vs. UNC Greensboro. Luebke struck out eight batters in the 12-2 victory over the Spartans at the Kennel Club Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. The strikeout total for the sophomore from Maria Stein, Ohio (Marion Local), was one off his career high of nine against UW-Milwaukee last year. Against UNCG, Luebke allowed only one unearned run on five hits, while walking just one batter.
AT FLORIDA’S PEPSI BASEBALL CLASSIC
Ohio State went 1-2 at the Pepsi Baseball Classic at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Feb. 24-26. The Buckeyes suffered setbacks to Wake Forest, losing 6-2 on Friday, and to No. 1 Florida, 10-3 on Saturday. The Buckeyes earned their first win of the season, getting by No. 12 Missouri on the arm of rookie pitcher J.B. Shuck, who struck out six Tigers and allowed one run on three hits in seven innings.
Junior third baseman Ronnie Bourquin led Ohio State in the three games in Gainesville, batting .545 (6-for-11). Bourquin was 4-for-5 against top-ranked Florida and was 2-for-3 in the season opener against Wake Forest, which went on to win the tournament after getting by the Gators 4-0 on Sunday. Junior outfielder Jacob Howell and Jedidiah Stephen each added five hits in the three games. Howell batted .417 with a pair of RBI and one runs scored, while Stephen batted .385 with three doubles and one RBI. As a team Ohio State batted .260.
The lone pitching victory came off Shuck, a lefty, who was making his first collegiate start. Shuck, who pinch hit against Wake Forest and started at first base against Florida, took to the hill against the Tigers and lasted seven innings, recording six strikeouts and allowing one run on three hits. Ohio State pitching struggled in the first two games, walking 11 batters, including eight against Florida. Cory Luebke, who started against the Gators, walked five batters, but allowed only two runs on three hits. Luebke walked on 17 batters all of last year, a season in which he earned Freshman All-American honors. Dan DeLucia got the loss against Wake Forest after allowing three runs on four hits. He struck out four batters, but walked three.
TWO BUCKEYES TABBED TO TEAM
Junior third baseman Ronnie Bourquin and junior outfielder Jacob Howell were named to the all-tournament team of the Pepsi Baseball Classic following Wake Forest’s win over Florida in the final game Sunday. Bourquin batted .545 in the three games, leading Ohio State with six hits. He was 4-for-5 in the loss at Florida. Howell had five hits and knocked in two runs.
SHUCK ATTAINS NATIONAL ACCLAIM
Ohio State freshman left-handed pitcher J.B. Shuck was named to the College Baseball Foundation Honor Roll Feb. 28 after leading the Buckeyes to a 4-2 upset victory over then-No. 12 Missouri. Making his first career start, Shuck allowed only one run on three hits with seven strikeouts, as the Buckeyes pounded out 11 hits to win their first win of the season at the Pepsi Baseball Classic at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Shuck, a freshman from Galion, Ohio, made his Buckeye debut Friday against Wake Forest with a pinch hit in the eighth inning and then made his first start as a Buckeye Saturday vs. Florida as the starting first baseman. In his seven-inning outing against Missouri, he allowed one run on three hits, struck out six batters, and allowed one walk in his first pitching start as a Buckeye. The honor marks the first time an Ohio State player has appeared on the second-year list.
DELUCIA, HOWELL & STEPHEN ARE CAPTAINS
Junior left-handed pitcher Dan DeLucia, junior outfielder Jacob Howell and senior short stop Jedidiah Stephen will serve as tri-captains for the 2006 baseball team. DeLucia, a third-team All-Big Ten pick last season, led the Buckeyes with a 2.92 ERA, 95.2 innings pitched and 55 strikeouts to go with a 6-5 record in 15 starts. Howell was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2004 and made 31 starts in 39 games last season after missing 12 games because of a shoulder injury. Howell ended up batting .270 with 31 hits and 16 RBI in 2005 after batting .336 in 58 starts as a freshman. Stephen is one of three seniors on the squad. Stephen batted .305 last season with 52 hits, including 13 doubles, two triples and five home runs to go along with 46 RBI, the second best on the team.
In addition to their on-field exploits, all three captains have excelled in the classroom as well. DeLucia is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2005, while Howell is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Stephen has been named an Academic All-Big Ten selection and an OSU Scholar-Athlete each of the last two years.
OSU AMONG BEST ALL-TIME CWS TEAMS
Ohio State has been named one of the top College World Series teams of all-time in a story that appeared in the Omaha World-Herald last summer. Ohio State was listed No. 22 in the Top 25 rankings. The Buckeyes have made four appearances in the College World Series, winning the national championship in 1966 after a runner-up finish in 1965. Southern California was ranked as the top CWS team of all time.
As for Ohio State, the World-Herald said, “(Steve) Arlin was selected as one of the two pitchers on the CWS’ 50-year anniversary team for his work in the 1965 and 1966 tournaments. Arlin still holds the CWS career record for ERA (0.96), and his four victories and 47 innings pitched are tied for the all-time lead. In leading the Buckeyes to the 1966 title, Arlin finished all five of their wins – two on complete games. His most memorable performance might have come the year before, when he pitched a 15-inning, 1-0 victory over Washington State after lasting just one-third of an inning in his first CWS start against Arizona State.”
The 1966 national championship is the last won by a team in the Big Ten.
BUCKEYES HAVE 15 TRUE FRESHMEN
Ohio State welcomed 15 true freshmen to the roster this season. Six players are pitchers: Taylor Barnes, Josh Barrera, Eric Best, Jake Hale, Brad Hays and Jake Weber; three are catchers: Shawn Forsythe, Justin Miller and Nick Steponovich; four are infielders: Matt Curran, Seth Sanders, J.B. Shuck (also a pitcher) and Ben Toussant; and two are outfielders: Chris Griffin and Zach Hurley.
Add to that a group of three red-shirt freshmen – pitcher Matthew Selhorst, catcher Josh Hula and infielder Michael Arp – and the Buckeyes have 18 players who have not played college baseball before this season. Ohio State is believed to be among the national leaders in number of freshmen on 2006 rosters. Arkansas and Auburn also have 15 true freshmen on their rosters.
But as many new faces on the Ohio State roster, the total is not as high as it was in 1993 when Todd welcomed 19 true freshmen and another four redshirt freshmen for a total of 23 freshmen. The Buckeyes went 44-19 overall and 19-9 to finish atop the Big Ten regular season standings.
10TH SEASON AT BILL DAVIS STADIUM
This year marks the 10th season of Ohio State baseball at Bill Davis Stadium. One of the best college baseball stadiums has been quite an advantage for the Buckeyes, who have a 170-67 (.717) overall record there. The venue has played host to two Big Ten tournament championships (1999 and 2001), two regional championships (1999 and 2001) and two super regional championships (1999 and 2003).
Ohio State will play 23 games at Bill Davis Stadium in 2006. Toledo was the first of seven home midweek opponents, which also include Miami (Ohio), Central Michigan, Oakland, Cleveland State, Eastern Michigan and Pittsburgh. Defending Big Ten champion Illinois will be the first of four conference opponents to visit Bill Davis Stadium when it comes to Columbus next weekend. The Scarlet and Gray also will welcome Purdue in late April and close the season with back-to-back home weekends against Minnesota and Penn State.
“Bill Davis Stadium has been ranked as one of the best college baseball stadiums in the country and I think Ohio State fans have done a great job creating an extremely positive atmosphere,” Todd said. “I can’t believe it is the 10th season.”
BUCKEYES LEAD BIG TEN IN ATTENDANCE
Ohio State baseball led the Big Ten in attendance in 2005 by welcoming an average of 2,570 in 18 home dates at Bill Davis Stadium, NCAA attendance figures released last November revealed.
The Buckeyes welcomed a total of 46,266 fans to Columbus last season which was the 36th best overall figure in the NCAA. The 2,570 average ranked 23rd among NCAA institutions.
No other Big Ten team ranked in the Top 50 either in total or average attendance. Notre Dame averaged 1,991 fans to rank 28th and drew a total of 43,798 fans for the season to rank 38th. No school in the Mid-American Conference or other Ohio school cracked the Top 50. LSU led in both categories, drawing a total of 270,300 fans over 36 dates for an average of 7,508. The Buckeyes’ drew a season-high crowd of 5,128 for the doubleheader against Minnesota the final series of the regular season. That weekend, Ohio State drew 10,876 fans over three dates, outdistancing previous weekends of 7,782 vs. Indiana, 7,370 vs. Purdue and 6,839 vs. Michigan State.
OHIO STATE BASEBALL ON WMNI-AM IN 2006
Ohio State baseball games will be broadcast this season on WMNI Radio (920 AM), Gene Smith, Ohio State athletics director, announced March 9. The station will carry a minimum of 27 regular-season games and any postseason games the team could play in 2006, including the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
Games one, three and four of six Big Ten series – Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Purdue, Minnesota and Penn State – as well as two games of the series at Indiana and Michigan State will be available on WMNI. The station also will carry five home midweek evening games against Miami (Ohio), Central Michigan, Oakland, Eastern Michigan and Pittsburgh.
The WMNI broadcast schedule begins Friday, March 31 at 7:05 p.m. when the team opens a four-game series at Iowa, and continues through the regular season, which ends Sunday, May 21 against Penn State. Any postseason games the team would qualify for also would be carried by the station.
WMNI has a long-standing history of sports coverage since it went on the air in 1958 and that has included Ohio State basketball, football, men’s hockey and now baseball.
In addition, the complete WMNI broadcast inventory of OSU baseball games also will be available on the Internet at the official web site of the Ohio State athletics, ohiostatebuckeys.com.
Bob Todd RADIO SHOW
The Bob Todd weekly radio show, hosted by Skip Mosic on WBNS Radio 1460 The Fan, will run each week for the next eight weeks with the final program broadcast on Monday, May 22. The nights of the show vary this year because of station conflicts with either Columbus Blue Jackets or Cleveland Indians broadcasts. Six shows will be broadcast on Monday with two shows each on Tuesday and Thursday. Each of the remaining 30-minute shows will begin at 7 p.m. To participate, dial (614) 821-1460.
Bob Todd Radio Show Remaining Schedule
Tuesday, April 4 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, April 10 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, April 17 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, April 24 @ 7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 2 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 11 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 18 @ 7 p.m.
Monday, May 22 @ 7 p.m.
UP NEXT FOR THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State will play a four-game series against Illinois this weekend. The series gets underway Friday at 6:35 p.m. and continues Saturday with a doubleheader at 1:35 p.m. before concluding Sunday with a single game at 1:05 p.m. Games one, three and four will be broadcast on AM 920 WMNI.
The Illinois weekend has a different promotion each day. Friday, the first 2,500 fans will receive free schedule magnets, courtesy of Rooster. On Saturday, the first 1,000 fans will get Ohio State baseball pennants and on Sunday, the first, 1,000 fans will get a free Nick Swisher (former Ohio State Buckeye and current Oakland A’s outfielder) bobble head.