April 20, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team (27-7, 11-1), winner of six straight and 20 of its last 21, will host in-state foe Wright State (18-15, 5-5) Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. in Bill Davis Stadium (4,450). The Buckeyes, the Big Ten’s first-place team, will return to conference action this weekend when Penn State visits Columbus for a four game series – a single game Friday at 6:35 p.m, a doubleheader Saturday at 4:05 p.m., and the series finale Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
The Ohio State-Wright State game will be broadcast live on WOSU Radio (820 AM) with the tandem of Herb Howenstine and Frank Fraas calling all the action. WOSU will also air the first, second, and fourth games of this weekend’s Penn State series.
The Buckeyes have won six consecutive games, 20 of their last 21, and 21 of their last 23. OSU has not last back-to-back games since Mar. 13-14 – a span of 37 days. Two of OSU’s seven losses came against ranked teams this year, and both of those were played on the road.
SECOND BEST START EVER
Ohio State’s 11-1 Big Ten start is the second best ever in the 86 years the Buckeyes have competed in the Big Ten. Only the 1970 team started better through 12 games in the Big Ten. Following is a breakdown of the four best Big Ten starts in OSU history:
Year 12-Game Start Finish/Place 1970 12-0 13-3/2nd 1999 11-1 ??/?? 1982 10-2 13-3/1st (East) 1994 10-2 25-2/1st
OHIO STATE IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes continued to soar in this week’s national polls. Ohio State climbed to No. 16 in the Baseball America poll, No. 23 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and No. 25 in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll.
OSU’S LAST ACTION
Ohio State did something no other Buckeye baseball team under Bob Todd has ever done – sweep the University of Illinois in Champaign. The Buckeyes topped the Illini 11-8 and 12-10 in a doubleheader last Saturday. OSU completed the sweep of Illinois in a Sunday twinbill with 10-4 and 9-6 wins. Chad Ehrnsberger led Ohio State offensively in the series by going 6-13 with a pair of home runs and eight RBI. Mike Lockwood (6-16, two HR, seven runs, six RBI), Trent McIlvain (6-14, seven runs, three RBI), and Jason Trott (7-14, six RBI, five runs) also enjoyed a fine series from the plate. It was the relieving tandem of Kevin Goodrum and Cory Cox that led OSU on the mound in the Saturday sweep, combining to pitch 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball as the Buckeyes rallied from behind with six runs in the sixth in game one. Cox was credited with the save in the game. In game two, the bullpen duo threw 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball and Goodrum, who entered the game with the score tied, was credited with the win. Cox picked up his second save of the day. A pair of freshman pitchers led OSU to wins in Sunday’s doubleheader. E.J. Laratta started game three and proceeded to pitch the second complete game of his young career, scattering eight hits over seven innings and allowing four earned runs. Nate Smith picked up the win with four scoreless innings in relief in the series finale. Smith allowed just three hits to a powerfull Illinois lineup, striking out three.
Jason Trott 11 games Mike Lockwood six games Matt Middleton six games Chad Ehrnsberger five games
WRIGHT STATE SERIES HISTORY
Ohio State leads the all-time series against Wright State, 20-16-1. Head coach Bob Todd is 8-6 all-time against the Raiders. The Buckeyes have won three of the last four games against WSU, including two straight. The last Raider win over Ohio State came on May 9, 1996.
SCOUTING THE RAIDERS
Wright State stands 18-15 overall and 5-5 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The Raiders enter Bill Davis Stadium as winners of four of their last five, and are 2-0 versus Big Ten teams this year (two wins over Purdue). Senior Dusty Beam leads Wright State with a .392 batting average, nine home runs, and 46 RBIs. The 6-2, 205 shortstop owns a scorching .713 slugging percentage, and is tied for the team lead in stolen bases. Wright State is hitting .294 as a team, and opponents are hitting .325 off the Raider pitching staff. Mark Squire has been impressive as the WSU closer this season, and will bring a 2.25 earned run average and 11 saves into Columbus. Brian Stephans has been Wright State’s most effective starter and stands 4-2 with a 4.30 ERA.
WELCOME BACK NISCHWITZ
Longtime Wright State Coach Ron Nischwitz graduated from Ohio State in 1961. Nischwitz was a second-team All-American in 1958 when he went 9-1 with a 1.71 earned run average for OSU.
SOMETHING GOOD IS BOUND TO HAPPEN
Cory Cox made two appearances over the weekend against Illinois and picked up a save in each one. In his last five appearances, he has surrendered just one run and factored into the decision in some way in each game. During that stretch (which spans over six innings), Cox has been credited with two wins and three saves.
Cox’s recent success might be credited to his pinpoint control. Cox had a streak of 15.1 innings without a walk snapped in the seventh inning of game two against Illinois. He has walked just three batters this year in 24.1 innings of work, fewest among regular Buckeye hurlers.
IF YOU WERE JASON TROTT, WHERE WOULD YOU BE?
Probably on base. Trott has now reached base in 33 of OSU’s 34 games this season. Trott failed to reach base only in the March 6 contest against the Miami Hurricanes. He leads all OSU regulars with a .464 on base percentage.
SPEAKING OF TROTT
Trott is in the midst of OSU’s longest current hitting streak – 11 games. He is hitting .452 during the streak (19-42). Trott’s career long hitting streak is 16 games, achieved in 1998.
TODD APPROACHING TWO MILESTONES
Ohio State head coach Bob Todd, one of the most respected collegiate coaches in the nation, is approaching a pair of coaching milestones. Todd needs just 10 wins to record the 600th of his career and just 13 to become the winningest baseball coach ever at Ohio State (surpassing Marty Karow’s 478 career victories.)
Ohio State set a season high with nine doubles in the game three win over Illinois last Sunday. Jason Trott and Trent McIlvain each doubled twice in that game. McIlvain is tied for second in the Big Ten with six doubles in league games.
CRUSHING THE OPPOSITION
After scoring a whopping 42 runs in four games against Illinois, the Buckeyes have now outscored their opponents this season by a total of over 100 runs (309-207). The record for runs scored in a season is 534 by the 1991 team. At their current pace, the Buckeyes would score approximately 520 total runs this year, depending on how far the team advanced in the postseason. Ohio State leads the Big Ten in average runs scored per conference game at 9.3.
Ohio State came from behind to win three of the games against Illinois last weekend. The only game in which the Buckeyes scored first was the fourth and final game of the series, which OSU won 9-6.
TIME TO START ANOTHER ONE
Trent McIlvain had his career high 15-game hitting streak snapped in the final game of the Illinois series when he went 0-3 and was hit by a pitch. McIlvain hit .471 during the streak (25-53). He continues to lead the Big Ten in hitting with a .500 average.
DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT
Illinois did not steal a base in the four games versus Ohio State last weekend. In one attempt, OSU catcher Tom Durant gunned down Illini leadoff hitter Dan O’Neill.
THAT’S WHY YOU’RE BATTING CLEAN-UP
Chad Ehrnsberger drove in eight runs against Illinois last weekend, giving him 42 RBIs in 33 games this season. That figure surpassed his career high of 40 RBIs set last season. Ehrnsberger ranks third in the Big Ten with 19 RBIs in league games.
DON’T FORGET DURANT
Tom Durant had the best average of any OSU hitter against Illinois last weekend. Durant was 6-11 (.546) against the Illini and started all four games behind the plate. Even more impressive was Durant’s .667 on-base percentage in the four games. He reached base safely in 12 of 18 plate appearances.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
Ohio State is a perfect 7-0 in Bill Davis Stadium this year.
.300 EQUALS VICTORY
Ohio State has hit at least .300 as a team in the past 15 games. In those 15 games, the Buckeyes are 14-1. Prior to that Ohio State hit below .300 as a team for ten straight games.
TODD SECURING A PLACE IN HISTORY
One more 40-win season and Todd will become the all-time winningest baseball coach in Ohio State history. He has won 466 games as the Buckeye skipper, second behind Marty Karow who managed 478 in 25 seasons. The Buckeyes have averaged 40-wins per season since Todd’s arrival in 1988.
CAN TROTT THREEPEAT
Trott became the first player since Indiana’s Mike Smith (1991-.476, 1992-.472) to win back-to-back batting titles. Trott posted a .426 average for the 1998 regular season and claimed the crown in 1997 with a .418 mark. Wisconsin’s Rick Reichardt is the only other player to win consecutive titles when he posted season bests in 1963 (.429) and 1964 (.472). No player has ever claimed three conference batting titles.
Fry and Lockwood were named to Collegiate Baseball’s preseason All-America third team. Fry was a first team preseason selection in 1998. Freshman pitcher Smith was named a first team top freshman by Baseball America.
Season box seats went on sale March 1 and individual game tickets were made available March 22. Contact the OSU Athletic Ticket Office for more details (1 800-GO-BUCKS). The ticket office is now located in The Jerome Schottenstein Center.
ONE OF THE TOP TEAMS OF THE 90s
With it’s 372-168-1 record over the past nine seasons, Ohio State is ranked the 12th winningest team of the 1990s with a .689 winning percentage. The Buckeyes are the only Big Ten Conference school among the top 25. Wichita State leads the pack with a 484-130-0 (.788) mark since the 1990 season.
PREDICTED BIG TEN FINISH
According to the Baseball America college preview, Ohio State is predicted to finish third in the Big Ten behind Minnesota and Illinois. All three squads are expected to receive NCAA tournament bids and Fry, Lockwood and Trott are preseason all-Big Ten selections. The Big Ten is ranked the sixth-best conference in the nation this year.
Predicted final Big Ten standings according to Baseball America.
1. Minnesota 19-9 42-21 2. Illinois 19-5 42-21 3. Ohio State 18-9 45-15 4. Michigan 9-15 21-27 5. Penn State 15-11 28-24 6. Purdue 9-18 23-29 7. Indiana 14-14 29-27 8. Northwestern 10-18 27-26 9. Michigan State 8-16 25-27 10. Iowa 9-15 19-27
The Ohio State baseball program has had a new treat each season for the past two years. In 1997, it was the opening of the stadium itself. Last year it was the lights for night contests, a batter’s eye in centerfield and the matrix scoreboard for animation. This year, expanded seating is the name of the game as the Buckeye venue maintains its spot as one of the premier college ball-parks. With the addition of bleacher seating down both foul lines, the stadium capacity has increased to 4,450, making it a probable choice for NCAA Regional competition. Permanent batting cages are also being constructed on the third base side.
THE RECORD WATCH
Career Batting Average 1. Jason Trott .403 2. Dan Seimetz (1995-98) .370 3. Alex Eckelman (1994-97) .367 4. Robby Cobb (1980-83) .363 5. Brian Mannino (1992-95) .362
Career Wins 1. Pete Perini (1947-50) 30 Justin Fry 30 3. Scott Klingenbeck (1990-92) 28 Tom Schwarber (1987-91) 28
Career Innings Pitched 1. Justin Fry 367.0
Career Strikeouts 1. Justin Fry 326