April 10, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team remained 24th in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll and was ranked for the first time this season by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, earning a No. 26 ranking in the organization’s Top 30 national poll. The Buckeyes also received votes in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

Ohio State is off to its best start since the 2001 season when it began the year 20-6 after a 17-game win streak. This year’s team is 19-7 and has won six of the last seven games and 11 of the last 13 to post the best overall record by a Big Ten team this season. After cracking the Top 25 last week, the 24th-ranked Buckeyes went 4-1, beating Miami (Ohio) in a mid-week non-conference tilt before taking three of four games vs. Illinois to stay atop the league standings with a 6-2 record.

For the weekend, the team batted .331 and was led by centerfielder Matt Angle, who was 7-for-15 (.467) with a pair of doubles and four runs scored. Shortstop Jedidiah Stephen batted .462 and third baseman Ronnie Bourquin batted .429, while J.B. Shuck, who had one start at first and two in left field, batted .400. Shuck, also a freshman pitcher, went the distance to pitch his first career complete game in the series clinching victory on Sunday. He allowed only one run on seven hits and struck out five. Catcher/first baseman Eric Fryer batted .389 with six RBI and seven runs scored.

Six pitchers combined for a 2.12 ERA and struck out 30 Illini batters in 34.0 innings pitched and limited Illinois to a .203 batting average. Dan DeLucia and Cory Luebke joined Shuck in pitching complete games. DeLucia allowed one run on six hits with a career-high tying nine strikeouts, while Luebke allowed one run on three hits with seven strikeouts in his 7.0-inning complete game. Shuck and DeLucia both lead the Big Ten with five victories. Shuck is 5-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 41.0 innings, while DeLucia is 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 52.2 innings and is 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 0.56 ERA.

Ohio State will play host to Central Michigan Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium and then heads to Michigan for a four-game series in Ann Arbor. The teams will play a single game Friday at 6:35 p.m. and continue with a doubleheader Saturday at 4:05 p.m. before concluding the series with a single game Sunday at 1:05 p.m.