BaseBlog: Shuck, DeLucia Drafted

Three weeks after the Ohio State baseball season came to an end, a pair of Buckeyes have been chosen in the 2008 MLB draft in pitcher/OF J.B. Shuck and senior hurler Dan DeLucia.

June 6, 9:08 p.m.
Ohio State baseball players J.B. Shuck and Dan DeLucia have been chosen in the MLB First-Year Player Draft held over the last two days.

The first to go was junior J.B. Shuck, who was selected by Houston in the sixth round with the 182nd overall pick late Thursday night.

Shuck was a third-team All-Big Ten selection as both a center fielder and a pitcher, finishing with a 5-3 record and a 4.29 ERA on the mound and a .356 batting average.

The Astros' website indicates that the team sees Shuck as a center fielder. He led OSU with 47 runs scored in 2008 and has tremendous speed that helped him steal 22 bases.

DeLucia lasted until round No. 35 when he was chosen with the 1,063rd pick.

Slated to be the Buckeye ace in 2007, DeLucia instead underwent Tommy John surgery to replace a ligament in his left, throwing elbow after just three starts. After months of furious rehab, DeLucia came back in 2008 to finish 3-3 with a 4.70 ERA.

He was 10-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 2006 and was 6-5 with a 2.92 mark in '05. DeLucia was the first three-time captain in OSU history.

Junior righthander Jake Hale, who had twice been drafted before, was not selected this time around despite making the All-Big Ten second team.

May 22, 3:36 p.m.
It just wasn't meant to be for the 2008 version of the Ohio State baseball team.

Too many mistakes, too many young players and too little power helped doomed the Buckeyes to a 30-26 campaign that ended Thursday with a 10-8, 10-inning loss to Indiana in Ann Arbor, Mich. For the first time since 1999, Ohio State went 0-2 in the Big Ten tournament.

Thursday's matinee at Ray Fisher Stadium went back and forth until Ohio State had a golden chance to win it in the ninth with the bases loaded and just one out. But pinch hitter Ryan Dew grounded sharply to second base and Indiana turned two to push the game into extra innings.

The Hoosiers didn't wait long, as Michael Earley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning by Alex Wimmers and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Eric Arnett pinch ran and Ohio State countered with left-handed closer Eric Best, who coaxed a fly out from Tyler Cox that moved Arnett to third. But the threat was not averted when Ohioan Andrew Means doubled to score Arnett, then came home himself when Chris Hervey singled.

Ohio State went 1-2-3 in the 10th.

The final run sullied a superb relief stint by Wimmers, who went five innings and allowed just two hits in relief of Jake Hale. Hale was undone by his defense, which had two critical errors that left just two of the eight runs Hale allowed in four innings earned.

Indiana led 5-0 in the second before a two-run single by senior Tony Kennedy in the bottom of the frame got Ohio State on the board. The Buckeyes plated four in the third to make it 6-5, with Cory Rupert's ball resulting in an error scoring J.B. Shuck, Dan Burkhart singling in a run and Tyler Engle bringing home a run with bases-loaded walk off of IU ace Matt Bashore. Matt Carr came in to pitch, allowing his first batter, Tony Kennedy to single in the fourth run.

But Carr mostly settled down, and IU took an 8-6 lead in the top of the fourth. The IU pitcher went 7.2 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. None of the runs were earned, as errors in both the fifth and eighth led to an RBI walk by Shuck and a sacrifice fly by Cory Kovanda.

Kennedy had three hits and Burkhart and Kovanda had two apiece for OSU.

For those who have read the BSB BaseBlog this year, thank for for the patronage, and we'll see what the offseason holds for Ohio State before the 126th season of Buckeye baseball kicks off in the winter.

May 21, 3:40 p.m.
The Ohio State baseball team dropped its opening game to Illinois in the Big Ten tournament Wednesday afternoon when the Fighting Illini's Kevin Manson shut down the Buckeyes.

Manson went the distance, allowing two unearned runs in nine innings while giving up four hits and striking out four.

Ohio State's two runs were driven in by Dan Burkhart in the second inning. The freshman catcher doubled to score Zach Hurley and Cory Kovanda. Hurley had singles and Kovanda reached on an error.

Ohio State started Dan DeLucia, a senior who went four innings and allowed two runs, one unearned. Illinois struck first in the first inning when Brandon Wikoff brought in Kyle Hudson with a sacrifice fly. In the third Illinois tied it at 2 when Daniel Webb brought in Wikoff with a single.

Dean Wolosiansky came in for Ohio State and pitched three innings but gave up the winning run in the seventh on a leadoff homer by Joe Bonadonna.

Ohio State plays next in the double elimination event Thursday at 12:05 p.m. in an elimination game between the loser of the Penn State-Indiana game this afternoon.

May 20, 11:53 p.m.
2008 is an even-numbered year, so already Ohio State is at a disadvantage.

During the last five years, the Buckeye nine has alternated Big Ten tournament championships – and the resulting berth in the NCAA championships – with the trophies coming during odd-numbered years 2003, '05 and '07 and the disappointments in even years. The last time Ohio State won the tourney championship in an even-numbered year was 2002.

So at least recent history is against the Buckeyes, who enter the league's showpiece as the fifth overall seed at 30-24 overall and an even 15-15 in the conference. Ohio State begins from Ray Fisher Stadium in Ann Arbor Wednesday afternoon with a 12:05 p.m. start against Illinois, a team from which it took two of three during the regular season.

"We've got to approach this as if it's our second chance," head coach Bob Todd said. "The regular season didn't go the way we wanted it."

The good news for Ohio State is that outperforming its seed has become old hat for the Scarlet and Gray in the league tournament. Ohio State's title last year came when the Buckeyes were the No. 6 seed, and the '05 crown saw OSU enter as the No. 5 seed.

"In the Big Ten tournament, the best team doesn't always win," third baseman Cory Rupert said. "It's whoever is hot. If you're hot at the right time like we were last year, then you can easily win it. We just have to prepare ourselves and hopefully we can play well and pull what we did last year again."

Rupert was certainly right about the best team not always winning. Since 2001, only Minnesota in 2004 and Michigan in 2006 have won the title on their home turf.

For the third year in a row, Michigan will enter as the favorite on its home field, though the Wolverines were not long for last year's event, dropping out in two games thanks to losses to Ohio State and Penn State.

The Buckeyes, after cruising to a first-round win over the Nittany Lions behind Cory Luebke, were able to beat Michigan thanks to the standout outing of Jake Hale, who went the distance during Ohio State's 4-2 triumph. The next night was the doozy, as Ohio State and Minnesota went back and forth through 11 innings before Jacob Howell's infield single drove the winning run in walkoff fashion as Ohio State emerged victorious 10-9.

Saturday's games were rained out, but the Buckeyes grabbed the title Sunday against Minnesota by a 4-2 score when Luebke and Hale combined for a gem while Michael Arp's eighth-inning double drove in the winning runs.

The lesson from that tournament was that everything had to come together at the right time, and it had despite the fact that Ohio State only qualified after winning its final regular-season game at Penn State after dropping the first three of the series.

"I think it's because we have a lot of confidence going in," said first baseman Justin Miller. "The key when you get into the tournament, you have to limit your mistakes. That's one thing that's hurt us all year, too, a lot of stupid errors. When you get a bunch of them, they add up. If we can eliminate those with our lineup and our pitching staff, I think we should be fine."

Pitching is where Ohio State could have an advantage on its counterparts. The Buckeyes boast two second-team All-Big Ten honorees this season on the bump in Hale and redshirt freshman Dean Wolosiansky, who at one point won five straight league starts. J.B. Shuck was a third-team all-league selection and at one point looked like he might be the league's pitcher of the year before faltering near the end of the campaign.

Still, Hale finished Big Ten play 4-3 with a 4.02 ERA, while Shuck was 2-2 and 4.28 and Wolosiansky was 5-2 with a 4.86 mark, numbers that all check in below league averages. The Buckeyes, as of Monday afternoon, were unsure of which pitcher would toe the rubber Wednesday, as Hale and Wolosiansky struggled against the Fighting Illini, Shuck did not face Illinois and the best outing was had by senior Dan DeLucia, who finished league play at 2-3 with a 5.53 ERA.

Another thing that, on paper, would seem to help Ohio State is its smallball offense. The Buckeyes hit 19 homers on the year but just five in the Big Ten season. Traditionally, the winds blow in at Fisher Stadium, and the forecast calls for some winds to be blowing in from right during the week.

"In my experience the wind is always blowing in there," Todd said. "This year it probably is an advantage for us because we have to rely on pitching and the ball staying in the park for us."

And if all goes well, the Big Ten trophy will return to Columbus on the bus for the third time in four years.

"If we can just put it all together we're a good team," Miller said. "We've shown that at times this year. Hopefully we can do it four times this week."

Tournament Schedule:
All games can be heard on WMNI-AM 920 and on All games from Friday onward can be seen on the Big Ten Network, while games 8-11 can be heard on XM Radio 196.

The tournament format is double elimination.

Game 1: (4) Illinois vs. (5) Ohio State, 12:05 p.m.
Game 2: (3) Penn State vs. (6) Illinois, 3:35 p.m.
Game 3: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser (elimination game), 12:05 p.m.
Game 4: Highest Winning Seed From Wednesday vs. (2) Purdue, 3:35 p.m.
Game 5: Lowest Winning Seed From Wednesday vs. (1) Michigan, 7:05 p.m.
Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Lowest Seeded Loser Of Game 4/5 (elimination game), 12:05 p.m.
Game 7: Game 6 Winner vs. Highest Seeded Loser Of Game 4/5 (elimination game), 3:35 p.m.
Game 8: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner, 7:05 p.m.
Game 9: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Loser (elimination game), 3:35 p.m.
Game 10 (Championship Game 1): Game 8 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner, 7:05 p.m.
Game 11 (Championship Game 2, if necessary): Rematch of Game 10, 12:05 p.m.

May 20, 1:24 p.m.
When it comes down to it, the Big Ten tournament is really what it's all about for the conference's baseball squads. While the regular season is nice, giving fans a reason to come out to the ballpark on gorgeous Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, the tournament determines which team receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and provides the first step in the path to Omaha.

And so often, the tournament provides the traditional league powers a chance to either continue a great season or make up for one that was lacking. The last six tournaments have featured finals that have included only Ohio State, Michigan and Minnesota. Five of those six have matched the Golden Gophers and the Buckeyes, a trend that will not continue given Minnesota's failure to advance to the event.

This year's field features one clear favorite, home-standing Michigan, and five teams trying to knock off the king. Either way, the Wolverines appear to have their ticket to the NCAAs punched; the rest will likely need to hoist the league crown to move on to an NCAA regional.

Capsules of each team that is not Ohio State can be found below. Stay tuned to read about the Buckeyes as they prepare to win a third Big Ten tournament in four years.

1. Michigan
Record: 42-12, 26-5 Big Ten, 1st
Record vs. Ohio State: 3-1 (W 4-1; W 6-1; L 3-2; W 15-1)
Michigan clearly is the class of the conference after breaking Ohio State's record for wins in a Big Ten regular season and reaching the No. 17 spot in the national Baseball America rankings. The Wolverines are also 18-2 on their home field, the newly renovated Ray Fisher Stadium, where the weekend's festivities will take place.

There aren't many holes on this squad that fell during last year's league tournament but still upended Vanderbilt and No. 1 draft pick David Price during the regionals. The squad lapped the field with 70 homers and 434 runs on the season, by far the most in each category, while still hitting .317. Michigan pitchers had the league's best ERA at 4.22, the most strikeouts at 387 and the least hits allowed at 420. In Big Ten play, Michigan hit .315, bashed 41 homers and scored 7.6 runs per game while the pitching staff posted an ERA of 3.46.

Individually a number of Wolverines stood out. Nate Recknagel hit .381 while leading the league with 23 homers (10 more than his nearest competitor) and adding 68 RBI. Derek VanBuskirk hit .293 with 10 bombs and 41 RBI. Adam Abraham, a noted Buckeye killer, hit .344 with seven homers and 50 RBI. Do-it-all man Zach Putnam hit .320 with nine homers and 46 RBI while placing second in the league in ERA at 2.64 – and he was 7-0. The only pitcher to top him in ERA? Michigan's second starter, Chris Fetter, who finished 9-1 with a 2.49 mark.

2. Purdue
Record: 30-24, 21-10 Big Ten, 2nd, 5 GB
Record vs. Ohio State: 3-1 (W 7-4; W 8-0; L 8-4; W 7-5)
Doug Schreiber's traditional small-ball squad went big this year with two bombers and some power arms that helped blow Ohio State away as Purdue grabbed its first series win ever in Bill Davis Stadium and the first over OSU since Bob Todd became the head coach. The Boilermakers, long known as the team in the league most likely to bunt with two strikes, instead this year finished second in the league with 38 homers, while a solid pitching staff helped the team win six Big Ten series after a tough 0-9 start. After hitting .227 through the first 13 games, Purdue finished the year hitting .307.

Individually, Purdue rode Ryne White and Dan Black to wins over OSU and used that formula pretty well against the rest of the league as well. White hit .332 and finished with 12 homers and 48 RBI, while Black checked in at .306 with 13 bombs and 59 RBI, giving Purdue the only duo with double digits in homers other than Michigan. Ben Wolgamot and Brandon Haveman helped set the table, hitting .409 and .374 respectively while combining for 31 extra-base hits and 17 steals.

On the mound, Purdue boasts a hammer in Josh Lindblom. The Boilermaker closer compiled a 1-2 record and 3.49 ERA while making 12 saves. His gas, which can reach the mid-90s, helped him strike out 42 batters in 28 games while he walked just nine. Purdue also boasts a solid No. 1 starter in Matt Bischoff, who the Buckeyes might meet Thursday. Bischoff went 5-3 on the year and finished with a 3.79 ERA.

3. Penn State
Record: 26-29, 17-15 Big Ten, 3rd, 9.5 GB
Record vs. Ohio State: 2-2 (L 15-0; W 3-1; W 2-0; L 2-0)
Penn State placed third a year ago as well but looked dead in the water this year when they arrived in Columbus to start the Big Ten season at just 5-12. From there, the Nittany Lions got hot, sweeping Iowa and Indiana while putting together a 14-7 run in late April and early May.

Penn State put together their run thanks to hot bats through Big Ten play, as the Nitts hit .308 in league play and saw five regulars top .300. The Lions also found some sock, as Rob Yodice hit seven homers in the league and Cory Wine added four. Brian Ernst finished with a .356 average while catcher Joe Blackburn hit .341, drove in 41 runs and stole 10 bases.

The pitching staff showed holes at times, finishing with a 5.93 ERA. Outside of starter Mike Wanamaker, who was 5-5 with a 3.69 ERA, and closer Drew O'Neil, who had 11 saves and a 0.71 ERA, the Lions had few dependable arms. Supposed ace Seth Whitehill finished 4-4 with a 9.14 ERA and was battered by OSU for 14 runs. The other starters, Mike Lorentson and Ryan Stobart, posted ERAs over 5.00.

4. Illinois
Record: 30-23, 16-15 Big Ten, 4th, 10 GB
Record vs. Ohio State: 1-2 (W 9-4; L 9-2; L 14-8)
The Fighting Illini, after threatening to challenge Purdue for the first-round bye, sputtered down the stretch, dropping two of three to Ohio State and then three of four to Purdue. Illinois will be aiming for retribution against the Buckeyes during the opening round, especially after the Sunday game and a chance at retribution was rained out.

The Fighting Illini's calling card this year was their work with the bats. Illinois hit .338 this season, with all seven regulars hitting above .320, led by Kyle Hudson. The center fielder and Illinois wide receiver finished second in the conference with a .411 average while stealing 39 bases. Daniel Webb hit .387 with six homers, while Ryan Hastings and Aaron Johnson had five homers, but power is not Illinois' game.

On the mound, Illinois struggled, especially at the end of the year when it gave up nine or more runs in five of its final six conference games. The best starter when it comes to ERA, Kevin Manson, was 7-2 but sported a 6.17 ERA, and the team had a 6.46 team ERA. Closer Ben Reeser was 3-2 with a 4.24 ERA and five saves but blew up against Ohio State, allowing six runs in 0.2 innings.

6. Indiana
Record: 28-28, 15-17, 6th, 11.5 GB
Record vs. Ohio State: DNP
If any team can surprise out of the five non-Michigan contenders, it might be Indiana, which wasn't even on the radar to make the tournament until sweeping Michigan State during the final conference weekend. However, the Hoosiers have a number of outstanding players that might help them nab a game or two and hang around for the weekend.

The Hoosiers swing the sticks well, posting a .337 average on the year. The unquestioned leader is Josh Phegley, who hit .436 to lead the Big Ten and also topped the league with 71 RBI while adding 13 bombs. Jerrud Sabourin had five homers with 48 RBI and a .386 average, while Avon Lake, Ohio, product Andrew Means hit .365 and is the reigning league player of the week.

Things aren't at rosy when it comes to the pitching staff, but there is one true ace in Matt Bashore, who went 7-3 with a 3.16 ERA while leading the league in strikeouts with 83. The rest of the staff quickly falls off the table, though, with only reliever Matt Carr holding an ERA under 5.00 on the rest of the staff. Who the Hoosiers choose to throw the rest of the time will be based on hunches, as six players had five or more starts, although Eric Arnett (4-4, 5.22) twirled a good one against the Spartans.

May 13, 3:57 p.m.
The Ohio State baseball team's offense no longer is featured on the side of milk cartons.

The Buckeye bats have been found and reborn. Channeling some Bill Davis Stadium magic on Senior Day in the last game of the year in Ohio State's 11-year-old home, the Buckeyes rallied from 11 runs down twice to earn a walkoff 14-13 win over Buffalo Tuesday afternoon.

"About halfway through the game we knew we could do it," said sophomore Zach Hurley, whose drive to deep center ricocheted off the glove of Bulls' CF Adam Skonieczki and to earth, allowing J.B. Shuck to score the game-winning run. "We wanted to win it for the seniors. That was the ultimate goal."

The Buckeyes (28-22) were down 13-10 going to the ninth, but Shivam Bhan was unable to get an out while attempting to make his first save of the year. Cory Rupert led off the frame with a double, then Bhan walked senior Chris Macke, Cory Kovanda and Shuck to make it 13-11. Justin Miller followed with a two-run single to tie the game before Hurley's blast deep in the right-center field gap that was ruled an error when it went off of Skonieczki's glove.

"I knew it was deep enough that it could get J.B. over to third, then Ryan (Dew) would bring him in," Hurley said. "But he dropped it and we got the win."

The runs completed a dramatic comeback for the diehard Ohio State baseball fans who stuck around after the about 3,000 Columbus Public Schools students left after starting the game in the stands as part of a field trip highlighting academics for qualified students.

Buffalo (13-36) led 13-2 after its half of the fifth, but Ohio State responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Two more were plated in the seventh to make it 13-7 but Ohio State left the bases loaded after getting to that state with no one out. In the eighth, two runners got on for Miller, who then drove a pitch over the wall down the left-field line for his third homer of the year to make the score 13-10.

Miller, the reigning Big Ten hitter of the week, finished with five RBI to give him 14 over the past four games. Miller is on a 10-game hitting streak during which he has hit in 20 of 41 at bats.

Head coach Bob Todd credited Ohio State's rally to his team's maturation.

"I think you're starting to see this young team understand what it means to compete," Todd said.

Buffalo started hot, plating two runs in the third off of Shuck before senior Rory Meister gave up nine runs in the fourth. Andrew Armstrong gave up two in the fifth before he, Drew Rucinski, Alex Wimmers and Eric Best put together consecutive shutout innings.

Seven Buffalo starters – led by 2B Brian Randazzo and P Chris Ciesla, who each went 3 for 5 with three RBI – had multiple hits. For Ohio State, Shuck was 2 for 4 with a career-high tying four runs and three RBI, while Miller was 3 for 6. Kovanda walked four times and scored four times.

Before the game, senior captain Dan DeLucia as well as Tony Kennedy, Macke and Meister were honored for their career accomplishments.

Ohio State, one game clear of the line for those attempting to finish in the top six of the Big Ten and qualify for the league's tournament, will complete its regular-season slate with four games at Iowa starting Thursday.

May 11, 4:01 p.m.
Inclement weather in the Columbus area, including continuous rain and a tornado warning, prompted the cancellation of Senior Day and Ohio State's final home Big Ten game of the year, a showdown with Illinois Sunday.

The Buckeyes thus won the series 2-1 and stay above the line needed to qualify for the Big Ten tournament. Inclement weather around the rest of the conference footprint already canceled the Michigan State at Purdue game and figures to do the same to Indiana at Northwestern. Penn State defeated Iowa to earn a sweep in State College.

Thus, the Big Ten standings figure to look like this after the weekend:
4. Penn State 15-13
5. Ohio State 13-13 (1 GB of Penn State)
6. Northwestern 13-14 (.5 GB of OSU)
7. Michigan State 12-14 (1 GB of OSU)

Ohio State's final home game of the year will be at noon Tuesday against Buffalo on Columbus Public Schools Day. The Buckeyes then have their final Big Ten series of the year Thusday-Saturday at last-place Iowa.

In the final weekend, Northwestern travels to first-place Michigan, Penn State goes to Minnesota and Michigan State hosts Indiana.

May 10, 7:46 p.m.
Knowing it was approaching do-or-die status when it came to Big Ten tournament, the Ohio State baseball team responded in the clutch.

The Buckeyes swept Illinois during a doubleheader in front of a season-high 4,705 fans to jump into fifth place in the Big Ten at 13-13, a half-game behind Penn State and, a half-game ahead of Northwestern and a full game on top of Michigan State.

Ohio State's bats showed up, as the Buckeyes won the seven-inning game one by a 9-2 score and then captured game two 14-8.

In the nightcap, Ohio State put together five straight hits to open the third inning to take a 3-1 lead (with RBI to J.B. Shuck, Justin Miller and Ryan Meade) before the Illini staff clamped down.

Things stayed that way until a completely unbelievable fifth inning in which Illinois scored seven runs to take a commanding 8-3 lead only to see Ohio State respond with a 10-spot.

Buckeye starter Dean Wolosiansky, having won five straight games, blew up in the fifth inning, not getting an out before allowing four runs (one on a homer by John Schlichter and three on a bases-clearing double by Joe Bonadonna) before loading the bases again. All three eventually scored before reliever Eric Best retired the side.

In the bottom of the frame, Ohio State one-upped the Illini, loading the bases off Mike Stankiewicz with no one out before closer Ben Reeser came on. Reeser was greeted by a two-run double by Cory Rupert, an RBI single by Dan Burkhart, a walk by Tyler Engle, a sacrifice fly by Tony Kennedy, a walk by Zach Hurley, a lineout by Shuck and finally a bases-clearing double down the left-field line by Miller, giving the first sacker nine RBI on the weekend. Not even replacement Billy Barrett was immune, as he was met by a run-scoring single by Brian DeLucia and a two-run triple by Rupert.

In game one, senior Dan DeLucia was solid in his final start in Bill Davis Stadium, rebounding from giving up a run in the first inning to go 5.1 innings with five strikeouts.

"I think it's a little more special," said DeLucia, who improved to 2-3 in his first season back from elbow surgery. "I think it was good for me to go out on a high note, especially with all of the struggles I've had in the past year and a half."

The Buckeyes backed him up in the bottom of the first after starting pitcher Aaron Martin walked the first three batters. Next up, Miller drove a ball off the wall to score Kennedy and Hurley. Shuck came around on an RBI fielder's choice by Ryan Meade.

It stayed 3-1 with both pitchers in a groove until the sixth. Illinois got back-to-back singles to chase DeLucia, and reliever Best's first pitch was drive into the gap by DH Daniel Webb. Brandon Wikoff scored easily but the relay of Shuck's throw from Engle beat Aaron Johnson to the plate – though the Illini catcher thought he had gotten in under his counterpart Burkhart's tag and was ejected for arguing. Head coach Dan Hartleb already had been chased for arguing a play on third on Meade's first inning RBI fielder's choice.

The floodgates opened for Ohio State in the bottom half of the frame off Martin. The first two batters were retired before nine straight batters reached base, plating six runs. In a row, Ohio State went single, single, walk, hit batsman, walk, single, single, single, walk.

Miller finished 2 or 4 with three RBI while Hurley was 1 for 3 with a two-run single in that sixth inning.

Before the doubleheader, the suspended game from the night before ended with Illinois extending its 7-2 lead into a 9-4 win.

Ohio State will honor its seniors Sunday before a 1:05 p.m. start.

May 9, 9:06 p.m.
The best parts of the night for Ohio State came at the beginning and end of the night.

Before the Buckeyes opened a four-game set with Illinois Friday night, head coach Bob Todd (he of the 950 career wins) was honored and threw out the first pitch in front of a crowd of 3,105 fans. Six-and-a-half innings later, the Buckeyes got a needed respite from a relentless Illinois team.

After the Illini went down in the top of the seventh leading 7-2, the skies opened and the teams were pulled from the field at 8:31 p.m. as the seventh inning stretch began. Continued rain made restarting the game impossible, and thus it was suspended until Saturday.

In the innings that happened, things did not go well for the Buckeyes. After OSU took the lead in the second on a sacrifice fly by Cory Rupert, Illinois got three in the third off of Jake Hale, scoring once without the ball leaving the infield and then getting two sacrifice flies.

Illinois added to the lead in the third thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Hastings and a two-run double by John Schlichter. It was 7-1 in the sixth when Illinois' CF and WR Kyle Hudson scored on a wild pitch, but OSU got one back in the sixth when J.B. Shuck got to third when KF Casey McMurray dropped Shuck's lazy fly and then threw wildly back to the infield. Justin Miller sacrificed home Shuck.

The teams will continue the series Saturday at 1:05 p.m., finishing tonight's game before the regularly scheduled doubleheader.

Things away from Bill Davis didn't go well for the Buckeyes. Two of the teams fighting OSU for a spot in the Big Ten tournament - Michigan State and Northwestern - won while Penn State and Iowa were battling in the eighth inning tied at 5.

Should PSU win, Ohio State will be tied with Michigan State for sixth in the conference, with the top six teams making the Big Ten tournament. If Iowa wins, OSU and MSU will be tied for fifth with Penn State in seventh.

May 9, 11:45 a.m.
Talk about night and day.

Last weekend, the Michigan Wolverines, ranked 22nd in the nation at the time, took three of four games from Ohio State in Ann Arbor. During the series, Ohio State batted just .207 with two extra-base hits. Six runs total were scored in the four games, and three of the contests saw OSU end with a single tally.

"We didn't swing the bats like we are capable of," said head coach Bob Todd. "I thought we helped their pitchers out way too much. I thought we became aggressive, and at times that aggressiveness hurt us. We weren't playing under control, and by that, there were too many breaking balls in the dirt that we swung at trying to make something happen rather than letting the game come to us."

Compare and contrast that to Ohio State's last two midweek games. Last Wednesday against Eastern Michigan, the Buckeyes won a 15-12 slugfest. Two days ago, the Buckeyes hosted Marshall and won 8-1 in just five innings, those eight runs topping the team's entire output in Ann Arbor's 32 innings.

So what happened?

"I'm not going to take anything away from Michigan's pitching. I thought their pitching did a good job this weekend," Todd said after the Marshall game. "But our hitters didn't do things discipline-wise that they should have. Tonight we looked like we were relaxed, swung the bat better and made good contact."

Justin Miller also mentioned that the team was more relaxed, especially once they took a 4-0 lead early. That relaxation perhaps led to the homers sent out of the yard in the fifth inning by Miller and Cory Rupert.

When asked if the Buckeyes hit better Wednesday because of the comforts of home, the fact that Marshall's pitching was not Michigan's, or the age-old truism of "that's baseball," Rupert shook his head.

"I'd say it's all three."

Simple enough, right? When pushed, Rupert pointed to not just the velocity possessed by the U-M staff but also the location of pitches, which wasn't as sharp against the Thundering Herd.

"Velocity is pretty big, and where they spot the ball," he said. "Michigan, as a whole pitching staff, they spotted the ball pretty well, kept us off balance."

If the mental edge was regained by Ohio State by virtue of facing Marshall, it will be put to the test against Illinois, which comes to Bill Davis Stadium for the final home Big Ten weekend of the year for the Buckeyes.

The weekend will be an important one in the standings. Illinois sits third in the league at 14-10, while Ohio State sits in fourth at 11-12, a half-game ahead of Northwestern and Penn State. Just one game behind the Buckeyes is 10-13 Michigan State, who is in seventh. The top six teams make the year-ending Big Ten tournament.

**Ohio State will be honoring just about anyone and everyone over the weekend. First, Todd will be honored before tonight's game for his selection into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. The head coach earned his 950th career win when the Buckeyes beat Marshall.

Saturday is a day for a good old number retiring ceremony. The late Marty Karow will be the one whose No. 13 will go up on the Bill Davis Stadium wall (the team's other retired numbers will be mounted Saturday as well on the right-field wall). Karow skippered Ohio State from 1951-76 and took the team to four College World Series appearances, including the 1966 championship. The ceremony, attended by a number of Karow's players, will be between games of the doubleheader.

In addition, numerous markers are being placed on the arches in Bill Davis Stadium to commemorate CWS appearances, Big Ten titles and retired numbers.

"I think anything that you can do to create a positive atmosphere is a benefit," Todd said. "Our players enjoy playing in Bill Davis Stadium."

Finally, Sunday will be the team's senior ceremonies, at which Dan DeLucia, Chris Macke, Tony Kennedy and Rory Meister will be honored. Senior videos have been popping up this week on All four will graduate in June with bachelor's degrees.

Wednesday night, the men's lacrosse team, which participates in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday at No. 8 Cornell, was honored before the first pitch.

**Your pitching matchups, presumably (OSU listed first):
Friday, 6:35 p.m.: RHP Jake Hale (5-2, 4.58) vs. RHP Kevin Manson (6-1, 5.93)
Saturday, 1 p.m.: LHP Dan DeLucia (1-3, 5.30) vs. RHP Aaron Martin (4-5, 6.04) and RHP Dean Wolosiansky (7-2, 2.83) vs. LHP Phil Haig (1-2, 6.14)
Sunday, 1 p.m.: LHP J.B. Shuck (4-3, 4.42) vs. RHP Scott Shaw (4-2, 5.60)

May 7, 8:56 p.m.
Rain outscored Marshall as the Ohio State baseball team won a rain-shortened, five-inning affair with the Thundering Herd 8-1 Wednesday night in Bill Davis Stadium.

Twice the game was stopped by rain, the final time after the fifth inning – and for good – after the Buckeyes drove two home runs through the raindrops.

Ohio State freshman Andrew Armstrong got the win, giving up a lone run in four innings, to move to 4-3. The loser was Ian Kadish, who gave up four runs in three innings to fall to 1-2.

The threat of rain was rampant through the day and finally broke through with a 22-minute delay in the second inning. Finally, with five in the books and the field taking a pounding from constant drops, the managers agreed to call it a day and send the 2,411 fans home early on Buck-A-Burger night.

"When the grounds crew came back out and said, ‘Hey, it's now set in here and it's going to be like this for another two hours,' it doesn't do any good to cover up the field and wait for two more hours," head coach Bob Todd said. "I wish we had played nine innings but Mother Nature took control."

Ohio State opened a 4-0 lead in the second inning, the first run coming on an RBI double by Tyler Engle that scored Brian DeLucia. Later, Tony Kennedy hit a two-run single that made it 4-0.

It was 5-1 going into the fifth when Justin Miller led off with a no-doubt homer to left field, his third career homer.

"As soon as I hit it I knew it," Miller said. "That's saying something for me because I don't hit many."

On the other end of the spectrum was a home by Cory Rupert. A runner got on and Rupert hit his first-ever bomb in Bill Davis Stadium when he barely cleared the wall at the 340 mark down the right-field line. Right fielder Ben Jurevicius – the cousin of Browns receiver Joe – came up with air after a leap.

"I thought he robbed me," Rupert said. "After he jumped and he kind of put his head down and started walking back, I was like, all right, it went over I guess."

Ohio State is back in action with a four-game series against Illinois starting Friday night at BDS.

May 2, 1:09 p.m.
To the powers that be on the Ohio State baseball team, the rivalry between the Buckeyes and Michigan is one that needs no introduction.

Quite literally.

"You really don't have to say anything about it," head coach Bob Todd said. "When you mention Ohio State and Michigan, the rivalry, I don't care what sport you're talking about. People pay attention to it from all around the country. There's nothing that needs to be said. We just need to go up and play very good baseball and play to our potential.

So even with a young team with two times as many underclassmen contributors than upperclassmen, there isn't a whole lot that needs to be said. It's assumed that the young Buckeyes, most of which hail from Ohio, know the diamond version of the greatest rivalry in sports will be as intense as any other type, up to and including the one on the gridiron.

As for whether or not they know OSU's recent checkered history, that decision will be left mostly up to Todd. Ohio State has gone 0-9 against Michigan during the last three regular seasons and have not defeated the Wolverines during the regular season since 2004. (Although Ohio State holds the Big Ten tournament edge at 3-2).

To ensure that streak continues, Michigan has pulled out all the stops. The Wilpon Baseball Complex and Ray Fisher Stadium, which has undergone a tremendous renovation, will be dedicated despite the fact that the Maize and Blue has played in the stadium all season. A number of Wolverine alums will be on hand for the ceremony to take place tonight.

"It's no coincidence, obviously, that they're dedicating their stadium," second baseman Tony Kennedy said. "It should add to it. They should have a big crowd, but we're used to playing in front of big crowds every day here so it'll be nothing new to us."

The last time Michigan hosted such a big game was when Fisher Stadium hosted its first night game during the 2005 season – against Ohio State, of course. On a frigid night – snow flurries prompted the fans to break out in "Winter Wonderland" – Michigan defeated Ohio State on ESPN by an 11-3 score.

This year's U-M squad (31-10) should have more talent than that version. The 22nd-ranked Wolverines come into the series 17-3 in Big Ten play, and with 12 games to go, they need eight wins to tie Ohio State's season Big Ten record of 25 set in 1994 and '99. The Wolverines are one game ahead of Purdue, while OSU's 10-9 Big Ten record is good for fourth.

The Wolverines boast an offense that can fairly be described as potent. First baseman/catcher Nate Recknagel leads Michigan with a .413 batting average, 18 homers (which matches the career total for all OSU players) and 55 RBI. Third baseman Adam Abraham hits .363 and has seven big flies and 44 RBI. Uber-prospect Zach Putnam hits .318 with seven homers and 40 RBI, while first baseman/outfielder Derek VanBuskirk has eight homers.

The weekend's schedule (Ohio State starter listed first):
Friday, 6:35 p.m.: RHP Jake Hale (5-1, 4.62) vs. RHP Zach Putnam (5-0, 3.02)
Saturday (DH), 4:05 p.m.: LHP Dan DeLucia (1-3, 5.77) vs. RHP Chris Fetter (7-1, 2.73) and RHP Dean Wolosiansky (6-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Travis Smith (4-1, 3.82)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m.: LHP J.B. Shuck (4-2, 2.86) vs. LHP Mike Wilson (2-4, 8.80)

Ohio State might also be without center fielder/pitcher J.B. Shuck, who missed Wednesday night's game and last Sunday's start with a leg injury. Todd said Tuesday they hoped he would be ready in five to seven days.

Friday night's game, including the dedication ceremony, will be shown on the Big Ten Network.

"Obviously it's always a heated battle between us two schools," Dan DeLucia said. "The fans are always pretty determined up there to make it a hassle for us to try to win. It's going to be extra special for us hopefully to come away with a few wins."

April 30, 10:26 p.m.
Wednesday nights have become the home of wild, wacky baseball in Bill Davis Stadium.

Two weeks after Ohio State dropped a 13-12 decision to Louisville on a Wednesday night, the Buckeyes and Mid-American Conference West Division-leading Eastern Michigan might have one-upped that showing tonight.

Ohio State (23-18) took a 10-0 lead after two innings, Eastern Michigan (16-27) made it 12-9 in the fourth then tied it 12-12 in the seventh, and Chris Griffin – the son of Duncan and nephew of Archie – had the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh to lead OSU to a 15-12 win on a chilly night in BDS.

The hit was Griffin's first of his career and came during one of the sophomore's first stints of extended playing time in his career. Griffin, 0 for 3 on the year before today, came in with the Buckeyes holding a big lead as a defensive replacement with usual centerfield starter J.B. Shuck out with a hamstring injury.

"When I first went in, that was the last thing on my mind," said Griffin after taking a textbook shaving cream pie to the face from Dan DeLucia. "I wouldn't have ever guessed, but I'm actually kind of glad it came down to that. I was able to change the ball game and I think that was great."

As for the family ties, "I think I might have the hour right now, but there's still a big shadow," he added with a laugh.

Slightly less happy was Ohio State head coach Bob Todd, who watched his team's pitching implode after grabbing what seemed like an insurmountable lead after two innings.

"You'd think that 10 or 11 runs would be enough to win a ballgame, but the thing that probably frustrated me more than anything else is we're giving up way too many free passes," Todd said of his staff that allowed six walks. "We're letting people in the ballgames and giving them way too many opportunities.

Josh Edgin and Rory Meister combined for the struggles, even after Edgin struck out six batters through two innings. Edgin gave up four runs in the third – though he wasn't exactly shelled – before Meister came in to work the fourth. Five runs and one no-doubt three-run bomb by Zack Leonard later, we had a game on our hands.

Finally, EMU tied it in the seventh on a two-run homer to left off of Eric Best that rode the wind off the bat of Steve Bradshaw and went over the fence.

But OSU was not to be outdone, with Griffin's single to left plating Michael Arp and giving OSU the winning runs. Best got the win to go to 2-1 and Alex Wimmers pitched two scoreless innings to earn save No. 3.

Justin Miller was 4 for 4 with three RBI for Ohio State, while Zach Hurley was 2 for 2 with an RBI, Brian DeLucia was 2 for 3, Dan Burkhart was 2 for 5 with two RBI and Tyler Engle was 2 for 4. Ryan Meade was 2 for 5 with a two-run homer to right, the first of his career.

And for the record, your line score:
EMU 004 510 200 – 12 13 1
OSU 192 000 21X – 15 19 1

April 30, 1:28 p.m.
Like so many other series this year, Ohio State's four-gamer at Northwestern this past weekend was full of positives and negatives.

The positives? Two blowout wins were grabbed. In the first, Jake Hale put together a dominating performance and five Buckeyes had multiple hits. In the other, OSU hit three homers in the second inning, including a Brian DeLucia grand slam inside-the-parker, on the way to earning Dean Wolosiansky's fourth straight win.

The negatives? Luck, to start. The Buckeyes couldn't hold a 3-0 lead late in a seven-inning affair in game two of the series, eventually losing 6-4 thanks to two wind-aided NU homers off of Dan DeLucia. Tony Kennedy's 4-for-4 showing was wasted when the other nine spots in the order combined for six hits. Luck wasn't so much a factor in the fourth game of the series. Things got ugly, as Ohio State lost 14-8 by virtue of committing six errors and walking eight batters.

"Fundamentally, I thought we were a better team than what we showed on Sunday," head coach Bob Todd said. "We just didn't play to our potential at all, and that was very disappointing. There's really no excuse for six errors. That's not typical of an Ohio State baseball team, and we certainly are going to do some things to try to rectify that."

Yesterday's practice was the first chance to get some rectifying done. Another one will come tonight as Ohio State hosts Eastern Michigan, the leaders of the MAC West at 11-4 in the league (though just 15-26 overall).

"We're anxious to get back in against Eastern Michigan," Kennedy said. "We need to start a string of games where we start playing well and have a good thing going because we took a step back on Sunday with our defense and overall mentality of the game. I think Wednesday will be a good starting off point for us."

Looming even larger than the men from Ypsilanti are the Maize and Blue nine from Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes, fourth place in the Big Ten at 10-9, face the first-place Wolverines (17-3) in a four-game set this weekend in Michigan's new stadium, which will be dedicated over the weekend.

But first, EMU. OSU is 2-2 against MAC foes in Bill Davis Stadium this year, splitting last Wednesday with Akron after an earlier win against Toledo and a loss to Central Michigan.

Fans making the trek to Columbus on what should be a brisk night (temperatures should hit 60 in the capital city and decline as the day goes on) will notice a new touch in right field as Ohio State's retired numbers now are posted on the wall. It's all part of a process to spiffy up the stadium for the final home weekend of the campaign May 9-11 against Illinois that will include a number of ceremonies to honor the team's seniors, head coach Todd and former manager Marty Karow, whose No. 13 will be retired May 10.

Junior J.B. Shuck might not be able to go thanks to a hamstring injury picked up in Evanston.

April 25, 1:57 p.m.
The Ohio State baseball team has lost six of its last eight, suffering in that time its first series loss to Purdue in head coach Bob Todd's 21 years and also the first loss to Akron while the Zips are under the tenure of former Buckeye assistant Pat Bangtson.

The Buckeyes might be young but they understand hot streaks and cold streaks are a part of every season, so second baseman Cory Kovanda said he doesn't expect OSU to be looking in the rear view mirror as it starts a four-game series this afternoon at 4 p.m. vs. Northwestern.

"This game, if you look in the past, you're done," Kovanda said.

Besides, what is in front of Ohio State is scary enough. The Wildcats, this week's foe, are 8-8 in the conference and tied for fifth with Penn State, a half game behind 8-7 Ohio State. The top six teams make the Big Ten tournament field, and OSU must win that event to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Wins against the Wildcats will be crucial, as Ohio State goes to Michigan for a four-gamer next weekend. The Wolverines are 15-1 in the league and are unbeaten against OSU in regular-season play since 2004.

And don't look now, but the seventh-place team in the league, Minnesota, is a traditional power. At just 6-10, the Golden Gophers are sure to want to knock out their fiercest rivals should they get hot.

The Wildcats are on a bit of a tear, having won 9 of 12, a stretch that included taking three of four from Iowa a weekend ago. Mike Kalina leads the team with a .422 average while Jake Goebbert is the real deal with a .386 average, seven homers and 38 RBI. Where NU has struggled is on the mound, where the squad has a 6.17 ERA for the year and a 5.88 mark in league play.

Saturday's doubleheader, which starts at 1 p.m. from Rocky Miller Park, is scheduled to be on the Big Ten Network.

April 23, 10:05 p.m.
Meet Pat Bangtson, the magnanimous.

One might have thought that Bangtson, the former Buckeye pitching coach and current Akron skipper, would have taken some sort of extra joy out of posting his first career win as a manager against Bob Todd and the Buckeyes, the coach and team he served for more than a decade at OSU before venturing north three seasons ago.

But Bangtson was all class after his team split a doubleheader with the Buckeyes Wednesday, dropping the first-game in walkoff fashion 8-7 before a 7-3 win in the nightcap.

"For me, that's got nothing to do with it," Bangtson said. "I have a lot of great memories. Obviously Bob gave me an opportunity to get started. I wouldn't be where I am without him."

The opening seven-inning game was a bit of a hitter's duel, something the former Buckeye pitching coach probably didn't hope to see. Akron (19-15) opened things up with a six-spot in the first inning off of Josh Edgin, whose struggles continued. The big blow was a grand slam to straightaway center field by Ryan Frazee.

But Ohio State (20-16) battled back and Edgin settled down. Justin Miller, Michael Arp, Tony Kennedy and Cory Kovanda all had RBI and, with Rory Meister allowing one run in three innings, OSU trailed 7-6 going into the seventh.

It didn't take long to get the win off of Tom Farmer. Kennedy tied the game with a single and Kovanda sent a sacrifice fly to the outfield to bring home the winning run to the delight of a midweek crowd of 2,711 enjoying the weather and the dollar burgers.

"It felt good," Kovanda said of his RBI. "Not how we kind of planned out how the game would be but I just try to do my job. I saw the pitch, it was up and I tried to drive it."

The second game was a battle of runners left on base, as Ohio State left 10 and Akron had 13 stay on the basepaths. The Buckeyes never led, as Akron grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, made it 3-0 in the third, survived two Buckeye runs in the bottom half of the frame, made it 5-2 in the fifth and limited OSU to one more in the seventh before closing the door with two in the ninth.

Ohio State's runs came via two RBI by Miller and another by Brian DeLucia.

Afterward, Todd was not happy with a pitching staff that allowed 14 runs in 16 innings. Edgin gave up six runs in four innings, Drew Rucinski was tagged for three runs in four frames and Andrew Armstrong allowed two, one earned, in two innings.

"The thing that I've been frustrated with a little bit is we've had to score sometimes seven, eight or nine runs in a game to win them, and our pitching staff has got to step up a little bit. We can't continue to ask that out of our hitters because it's not going to happen."

April 18, 10:06 p.m.
Friday night's outcome at Bill Davis Stadium was a matter of Black and White.

Yes, the home-standing Buckeyes were wearing the traditional home whites and road Purdue was wearing their black tops, but that's not quite the story. Boilermakers Ryne White and Dan Black combined for five RBI as Purdue beat Ohio State 7-4 in the opener of a huge Big Ten series.

OSU now falls to 7-5, 2.5 games behind 10-3 Purdue. A crowd of 3,093 on a perfect night at the ballpark never saw the Buckeyes hold the lead, and OSU's attempt to break the home baseball attendance record went for naught.

White was the true superstar. The first baseman and No. 3 hitter was 4 for 4 with two homers, three runs and three RBI. His solo homer in the first inning gave Purdue the lead for good, while he added an RBI single in the fifth and a solo shot in the ninth.

"The one thing that we didn't do is we didn't control Ryne White, which is something we talked about," head coach Bob Todd said. "It was something we wanted to emphasize."

White is now 18-30 in his career against Ohio State.

Black picked up the slack when White was intentionally walked with a runner on in the second, driving a two-run double that made the score 6-2.

Ohio State starter Jake Hale was mostly cruising through three innings before splitting the fingernail on the middle finger on his right, throwing hand. That robbed Hale of his changeup, and Hale gave up two in the fifth and three in the seventh. He allowed 11 hits in 6.1 innings and fell to 4-1.

Ohio State couldn't make heads or tails of Purdue pitching. Starter Matt Bischoff (2-3) was perfect through 13 batters before allowing the first career homer of Zach Hurley, who also wowed the crowd with a running catch in the second before slamming into the wall.

OSU's biggest chance came in the sixth, as the Buckeyes cut Purdue's lead to 3-2 and had a runner on third, but Cory Kovanda and J.B. Shuck struck out back to back.

Closer Josh Lindblom, who tops out around 95, threw a perfect final two innings and struck out the last four batters.

"We knew Lindblom was one of the best relief pitchers in the country and we did not want to be behind in the late innings," Todd said. "He made it very difficult for us."

April 18, 5:50 p.m.
There's not really any way to improve on the weather conditions tonight at Bill Davis Stadium.

Highs that neared 80 will cool off as the sun sets, leaving comfortable temperatures that will serve as an excellent backdrop for tonight's Big Ten showdown. And for fans of the power game, the wind is blowing out to left field.

As stated earlier, this four-game series will play a big role in determining the eventual order of the Big Ten. Purdue sits a game and a half in front of Ohio State in the Big Ten with only Michigan ahead of the two schools. Purdue, which lost its first nine games before ripping off a 17-6 run, does not play the Wolverines this year, adding extra emphasis to OSU's efforts during this three-day affair.

Here are tonight's lineups.

OSU (18-12, 7-4 Big Ten)
1. 8 Tony Kennedy DH
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 28 J.B Shuck CF
4. 28 Justin Miller 1B
5. 16 Zach Hurley LF
6. 23 Ryan Dew RF
7. 10 Cory Rupert 3B
8. 15 Dan Burkhart 2
9. 1 Tyler Engle SS
RHP Jake Hale (4-0, 4.46)

Purdue (17-15, 9-3 Big Ten)
1. Brandon Haveman RF
2. Ben Wolgamot 2B
3. Ryne White 1B
4. Jordan Comadena LF
5. Dan Black 3B
6. Eric Nielsen C
7. Jon Moore CF
8. Jonathan Lilly DH
9. Nick Overmyer SS
RHP Matt Bischoff (1-2, 3.99)

April 16, 10:41 p.m.

Some baseball games have just about everything, and one of those was played Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium. Pickoffs, walks, hits batsmen, errors, even home runs were on display, and most of all, there were plenty of runs as Louisville (21-14) beat Ohio State 13-12 in an up-and-down affair.

The final line score, just for posterity's sake:

UofL – 202 412 200 – 13 19 3
OSU – 500 022 030 – 12 18 2

Pitchers? We don't need no stinkin' pitchers.

The mood was set on the second pitch of the game when Louisville shortstop John Dao sent an Andrew Armstrong pitch over the wall in left field.

The Buckeyes responded with five runs on six hits and an error in the bottom half the frame. The only out that Louisville starter James Belanger recorded came when Ryan Dew laced a sure RBI single to right only to see Zach Hurley, who was on first, kicked the ball to retire himself.

Louisville cut the deficit to 5-4 in the third before tattooing OSU's Drew Rucinski in the fourth. With two out, Justin McClanahan bombed a home run to right that dented the scoreboard past the 370 mark. The next batter, the ballyhooed slugger Chris Dominguez (who clearly boasts a major league caliber body) destroyed a ball to left that the OSU fielders didn't even bother to chase after. The next batter, first baseman Andrew Clark, cleared the right field wall to make it three homers in a row and an 8-4 UofL lead.

From there, the teams went back and forth before OSU (18-12) ended one run short. Of course, the Buckeyes had the tying run on second with one out in the ninth, but B.J. Rosenberg struck out Tony Kennedy and Cory Kovanda to end the game.

"This game had the flavor with both teams like an NCAA tournament game," head coach Bob Todd said. "Both teams felt like they should be at that level and I thought the competition was at that level."

Hitting stars? All of them, really, but OSU first sacker Justin "Gus" Miller gets a nod. Miller was 5 for 5 with three runs, 5 RBI and a home run, the first of the year for the consistent hitter short on power.

"You were as surprised as I was," Miller said with a laugh after being told people were unsure who it was wearing Miller's jersey when the ball was propelled from the yard.

Kennedy was 3 for 6 with two runs while J.B. Shuck, Brian DeLucia and Dan Burkhart had two hits apiece with DeLucia adding in three RBI. On the Louisville side, Dao, McClanahan and Clark had four hits apiece.

Pitching stars? Well, star might be a rough word to use tonight, but a couple of relievers threw well. On the OSU side, those were Alex Wimmers and Eric Best, who combined for three scoreless innings of scoreless three-hit ball. Louisville's Thomas Royse and Rosenberg did the same, though Royse allowed three unearned runs in the eighth thanks to two errors by Dao. The pitchers of record were UofL's Gabriel Shaw (2-3) and Rucinski (1-2) with Rosenberg getting his third save.

April 16, 6:02 p.m.
It is an absolutely perfect night for baseball at Bill Davis Stadium as the Buckeyes and Louisville get ready to face off at 6:35 p.m.

More on third baseman Chris Dominguez, the Cardinal who leads the squad with a .388 average, 11 homers and 38 RBI. The sophomore was the MVP of last year's Columbia Regional and stands 6-4, 240. Last year, he hit .262 with 15 homers and 61 RBI after missing his first season with a broken forearm. He was the No. 11 overall prospect in the nation according to Baseball America out of Miami, Fla. and Gulliver Prep. This guy is the real deal.

Here are tonight's lineups.

OSU (18-11)
1. 8 Tony Kennedy LF
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 28 J.B Shuck CF
4. 28 Justin Miller 1B
5. 16 Zach Hurley DH
6. 23 Ryan Dew RF
7. 29 Brian DeLucia 3B
8. 15 Dan Burkhart 2
9. 1 Tyler Engle SS
LHP Andrew Armstrong (3-2, 2.92)

Louisville (20-14)
1. John Dao SS
2. Phil Wunderlich DH
3. Justin McClanahan2B
4. Chris Dominguez 3B
5. Andrew Clark 1B
6. Jeff Arnold RF
7. Tyler Mickits LF
8. Kyle Cheesbrough C
9. Drew Haynes CF
RHP James Belanger (4-1, 7.52)

April 16, 1:21 p.m.
The first words of the email announcing the interview times this week for the Ohio State baseball team sent out by sports information director Jerry Emig said it all: "THIS IS A HUGE BASEBALL WEEK"

Emig hit the nail on the head. First, Ohio State (18-11, 7-4) hosts 2007 College World Series performer Louisville Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium before a showdown with second-place Purdue this weekend, a series in which on Friday night Ohio State will try to break the Bill Davis Stadium attendance record of 5,360.

But before we get to that, the Cardinals are in the cards. While most Wednesday home midweek games the past few years have been against Ohio squads and Mid-American Conference foes, the Buckeyes have attempted to bring some better teams into Bill Davis. Last year, North Florida was on the docket and Western Carolina came up for a midweek series that served as makeup dates for both squads; this year, adding a CWS team from a year ago should be a real boon.

"The last four or five years we've tried to, if you will, upgrade our competition, and as you know, we brought in North Florida in here a couple of years ago," head coach Bob Todd said. "We've been talking to other people who are outside of the Mid-American Conference about coming in here.

"Louisville called us. They had an open date, we had this Wednesday open and I thought it would be a good match for us. They're good competition. They're the type of people that I've wanted to play midweek, and I think it's going to be great for the fans to see a team that did go to the College World Series last year."

Louisville, who has not faced Ohio State in 15 years, was a bit of a Cinderella last season. The Cardinals were a No. 3 seed, just like OSU, in the regionals before dusting off top seed Missouri and No. 2 Miami. U of L then hosted a Super Regional and knocked off Oklahoma State in three games before bowing out with a 1-2 record in Omaha with a win over Mississippi State and losses to Rice and North Carolina.

The Cardinals are coming off of a 5-4 walkoff in a night ago against Indiana in Louisville thanks to a run-scoring single by Tyler Christensen. At 20-14 and 6-6 in the Big East, the Cardinals are led by Chris Dominguez, who is hitting .388 with 11 homers and 38 RBI. Justin McClanahan has chipped in a .379 average with six homers and 31 RBI, while Andrew Clark hits .318 with 28 RBI. Louisville is not a patient team; Cardinal hitters have 226 strikeouts compared to 112 walks. On the hill, U of L hurlers have an ERA of 4.65.

"I think there will be a little extra focus on a team like this considering earlier in the season we let two games get away from us against Texas A&M and Arkansas which would have been two quality wins for our team," Dew said.

The Buckeyes took an early lead against the now No. 19-ranked Aggies before a 8-5 loss Feb. 29, and two days later another early lead against Arkansas evaporated into a 8-6 loss.

**Ohio State is coming off of a 2-1 weekend at Michigan State that was heavily influenced by weather, including a stormy Saturday that resulted in the postponement of games and a gray Sunday that saw temperatures top out in the 30s.

Todd said that his young team fared well given the weather shenanigans and the fact that OSU was playing in the quirky minor league ballpark Oldsmobile Park, the home of the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts.

"We won two out of three," Todd said. "We were really one pitch away from probably sweeping, so for the most part you have to be happy with that, especially on the road."

The opener went Ohio State's way thanks to Jake Hale and Dew. Hale, the Buckeye starter, went 10 innings, allowing nine hits, no walks and three runs (two earned) while striking out seven. That effort was good enough to get OSU into the 11th inning.

"When I got back to the dugout, I kind of had to sit back and just collect myself," Dew said. "It was a pretty cool feeling. It was huge that I could do it in that situation in extra innings."

Eric Best, the new Buckeye closer, worked an easy 11th for the save. Earlier runs came thanks to a Justin Miller RBI double, a Zach Hurley sacrifice fly and a passed ball by the MSU catcher that allowed Dan Burkhart to score.

After a day in the hotel Saturday, the Buckeyes opened the now-Sunday doubleheader with a 5-4 win. All five runs came in the fourth inning thanks to six singles. Dean Wolosiansky got the win, allowing two runs in 4.2 innings, while Best got the save.

However, the luck ran out during an eight-inning 1-0 loss in the second game Sunday. OSU was held to two hits – singles by Tony Kennedy and Dew – by Chris Cullen, while the Buckeyes wasted an excellent, 7.1-inning, four-hit, seven-strikeout outing by J.B. Shuck. The Spartans got the winning run on a walkoff walk by Chris Roberts off reliever Alex Wimmers.

**On the injury front, the Buckeyes should be full-go tonight. Freshman DH Ryan Meade missed a series two weeks ago against Minnesota because of tonsillitis but has returned, while Cory Rupert's hamstring injury was not enough to keep him from suiting up against the Spartans.

**On the weather front, Wednesday night should be fantastic. Highs in Columbus Wednesday are expected to reach 71 degrees, which should mean that a light jacket at most will be needed as the lights descend on BDS.

April 9, 9:13 p.m.
Apparently the earlier post in the BaseBlog was a bit of foreshadowing.

The confidence gained from taking three out of four games against Minnesota over the weekend was overwhelmed by a Central Michigan team that would fit nicely into the Big Ten, apparently.

A week after drilling Michigan 7-3, the Chippewas improved to 12-16 with a 4-2 win over Ohio State (16-10). A nearly perfect afternoon of temperatures just touching 70 didn't do anything to warm up the Ohio State bats thanks to Jesse Hernandez. Normally a reliever, Hernandez threw eight innings, giving up five hits, two runs, one earned run and a walk while fanning six Buckeyes.

Afterward, OSU head coach Bob Todd was not amused by OSU's inability to hit Hernandez during the Buckeyes' final game of an 11-game homestand.

"We have to get mentally tougher in the batters box," he said. "That kid is a decent college pitcher but those are the kind of people that we're going to face every weekend, and our hitters have to be ready to play against that type of pitcher every time we come to the ballpark."

OSU's runs were both driven in by Justin Miller, one on a ground out in the third inning and the other on a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Two hitters did the damage for the Chippewas, a team whose RPI is above 200 according to Boyd Nation ( but who dropped the presumptive Big Ten favorite Michigan in Mt. Pleasant last week.

One was a man who might as well be Hercules, first baseman Sean Hoorelbeke. He hit his 10th homer of the year – four more than the entire OSU team – to straightaway center in the fourth, a two-run shot off Josh Edgin that gave CMU a 2-1 lead. Suffice it to say no one on the Buckeye team will be hitting the black batters eye in center field like Hoorelbeke did.

With the score tied at 2 in the seventh, CMU pushed across the go-ahead run thanks off Drew Rucinski (3-3) to an RBI double by third baseman Noah Lankford, an Ohio product out of Cincinnati St. Xavier. After Hoorelbeke doubled the lead with an RBI single in the eighth off Alex Wimmers, Lankford ended the game by making a sterling diving stop with two outs in the ninth of a shot by OSU SS Tyler Engle. Lankford popped up, fired to first and commenced celebration with his Chippewa teammates.

Barring a fairly lengthy winning streak, it looks like the Buckeyes now must win the Big Ten move on to NCAA play.

April 9, 1:11 p.m.
Wednesday night games in Bill Davis Stadium often have been a chance for younger players to get their feet wet while Ohio State pads its records with nonconference victories. However, that might change a bit during the next two weeks.

Next week, Ohio State gets 2007 College World Series participant Louisville. Tonight, the Buckeyes face off against Central Michigan, a team that beat Michigan a week ago. That's quite the accomplishment considering Ohio State hasn't defeated the Maize and Blue during the regular season in 2004.

OK, a bit harsh that, but true, and any team that can knock off the presumptive Big Ten favorites who are already atop the conference at 7-1 have some sort of talent.

How did Central Michigan do so? Well it starts with Chris Kupillas, who threw six scoreless innings of relief against U-M, giving up just four hits and two walks. With the bats, CMU turned eight hits into seven runs, putting up five runs in the second on the way to a 7-3 win. CF Rod Helsen had two hits, while 2B Brendan Emmett and LF Billy Anderson had two RBI apiece.

It'll be interesting to see if Kupillas reaches the Bill Davis Stadium hill during Ohio State's 11th and final home game in a row. Head coach Bob Todd is preaching the importance of facing yet another team that wants to get a win in OSU's house.

"I emphasize to our team, every game is important," Todd said. "When you start getting into conference play, the emphasis by the players goes to conference games and league play, but we still have to be able to do the things that are necessary to win ballgames midweek."

First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.

April 5, 7:51 p.m.
After his team battered Minnesota to the tune of an 11-6 win Friday night, OSU head coach Bob Todd talked about his team needing to be mature enough to come back the next day and know it wouldn't be that easy against the traditional Big Ten powers.

He eventually got his wish. Though his young team - only one senior, left fielder Tony Kennedy, is an everyday player, and only two juniors play every day - couldn't muster the energy in game one of a doubleheader on the way to a 6-0 loss to Minnesota, the Buckeyes quickly gathered themselves and played an excellent all-around game on the way to a 4-1 win in the nightcap.

"With this team being so young, they are slowly maturing, they're slowly starting to understand what it is mentally to compete day in and day out, and I think game two is a classic example of that," Todd said. "They're starting to understand the mental discipline, the mental fatigue that starts to set in, especially when you're playing a four-game series."

The separate fates of the Ohio State starting pitchers helped determine each game. In the opener, freshman Andrew Armstrong went five innings and allowed three runs and 10 baserunners in five innings on just two days' rest. His teammates managed seven hits but didn't pick him up, leaving six on base.

Game two, a 4-1 win for the good guys, was a coming out party for redshrit freshman Dean Wolosiansky. The big righty went the distance, allowing six hits and two walks in the seven innings while pitching ahead most of the game.

"The fastball was really working today," he said. "I spotted it really well. Slider was there too."

The Buckeye batters did their part, too. Justin Miller and Cory Rupert had RBI singles in the first inning before Ben Toussant added a pinch-hit RBI single and Dan Burkhart had an RBI groundout in the sixth.

Toussant's at bat was his first in his career against Minnesota, promoting catcher Jeff DeSmidt to ask jokingly of the Buckeye if he would offer a scouting report before stepping into the box. Toussant did not, and later admitted he found the request quite humorous.

The series capper comes Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

April 4, 10:31 p.m.
The Buckeyes have to hope déjà vu will not be playing out at Bill Davis Stadium Saturday.

Last week, OSU exploded for 15 runs in a series-opening win over Penn State before scoring just three runs the next day while being swept in a doubleheader against the Nittany Lions. Tonight, it was 11 runs for OSU (14-8, 3-2) on the way to a 11-6 win over Minnesota (12-12, 2-3). Now, facing a traditional Big Ten power, the Buckeyes have to make sure the bats stay just as hot as they were in the opener or Saturday's 14 scheduled innings will comprise a long day.

"We talked about the fact that one of the things that this club has to do is mature, and the way mature ballclubs handle a season is be ready to come and play every day," head coach Bob Todd said.

On a brisk, damp night in front of 1,240 fans, Minnesota pitchers walked eight batters and the fielders made eight errors. Every OSU starter save Tony Kennedy had a hit; J.B. Shuck and Zach Hurley had two and Cory Rupert had three. Kennedy, Justin Miller and Ryan Dew had two RBI apiece.

On the hill, Jake Hale fought through a sinus infection to go 6.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs while walking and striking out four. He was the beneficiary of a tremendous defensive play with Minnesota threatening in the seventh when Shuck threw out Nate Hanson trying to score on a single to center. The real star of the play was Burkhart, who blocked the plate, forming a brick wall through which Hanson could not slide.

A slight pitching change has been for tomorrow. Projected starter Dan DeLucia will not go as he continues to battle the shoulder tendinitis that handicapped him last weekend. Andrew Armstrong, who threw five innings Wednesday, will take game one of the two seven-inning doubleheaders. Both Armstrong and game two starter Dean Wolosiansky are freshmen.

There's no room for error, though, as OSU sits two games behind Michigan for the league lead.

"Tomorrow is going to be another big day for us," Hurley said. "It's going to be a big test day to see if we can come out. We had a big night last Friday and we came out a little sluggish Saturday and Penn State took two from us. We can't let that happen again."

April 4, 1:44 p.m.
Apologies go out to all the diehards out there who missed the BaseBlog when Ohio State faced Toledo Wednesday night at Bill Davis Stadium, as yours truly was attempting to battle through a recent cold that left the thought of spending a night inside a freezing press box so undesirable that the night had to be spent at home. However, the Buckeyes bats were not sick at all, pounding out 14 hits on the way to a 13-0 win over the visiting Rockets.

The Buckeyes scored in every inning in which they came to bat except for the sixth. Tony Kennedy belted the first Buckeye homer of the year in the home diamond, a leadoff shot in the first inning, while Ryan Meade and Matt Streng had doubles and Ryan Dew and Brian DeLucia earned triples.

On the hill, freshman Andrew Armstrong turned in his second straight solid Wednesday start, throwing five innings of shutout ball while striking out four and allowing just three hits. Rory Meister, Drew Rucinski and Alex Wimmers combined to complete the shutout, OSU's third in five games.

**So next up on the docket is a home series with Minnesota, the Buckeyes' baseball archrival and the program in the Big Ten with whom OSU has traditionally battled for championships during the past few decades. Normally, this would be the type of end-of-season series that would determine a Big Ten title, but instead it will be played in April weather during week two of the conference slate.

"We try never to put too much emphasis on early-season opponents simply because we want to see halfway through the year where the dust has settled, so to speak, and then what do we have to do at the end here to make a run at another championship," head coach Bob Todd said. "This year is kind of unique the way the schedule has fallen."

In fact, this is the earliest the teams have played since meeting in March 1992. The teams have played 34 times since 2002, which is the most any teams in the nation have played over that six year span. All of those meetings came after May 11.

The Gophers come in batting .293 as a team, led by outfielder Matt Nohelty, who is hitting .406 with 18 RBI. Catcher Jeff DeSmidt has a .377/.462/.642 line and leads the team with three homers, while third sacker Nate Hanson is back and has 12 doubles.

Expected pitching matchups (OSU pitcher listed second):
Game 1, Friday 6:35 p.m.: RHP Tom Buske (3-2, 2.62) vs. RHP Jake Hale (2-0, 4.50)
Game 2, Saturday 1:05 p.m.: LHP Kyle Carr (1-3, 6.45) vs. LHP Dan DeLucia (1-1, 3.75)
Game 3, Saturday: RHP Dustin Brabender (2-2, 6.12) vs. RHP Dean Wolosiansky (2-2, 3.42)
Game 4, Sunday: RHP Seth Rosin (1-0, 1.99) vs. LHP J.B. Shuck (4-1, 3.00)

The Saturday games can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

**Who's that over at third base in the coaching box? For the first time since anyone can remember, not Bob Todd.

The OSU manager is taking it easy in the dugout after double knee replacement surgery during the offseason, leaving longtime assistant Greg Cypret to man the spot. Though Todd still gives signals from the dugout, it's up to Cypret to make the calls on sending runners home.

"I guess the only thing I can say is it feels better than me being out there right now," Todd said. "This is unfamiliar territory."

The 21st-year assistant from St. Louis, however, isn't quite as demonstrative in his sending of runners as Todd is, something the head man said he can't see changing.

"Cyp is Cyp," Todd said with a laugh.

Also new is the first-base coach, as volunteer assistant coach Eric Parker, who held the spot the last two years, is now in the dugout as the pitching coach. First-year volunteer assistant Pete Jenkins is at first now.

**The Buckeye pitching, which struggled at times down in Florida, has stepped it up since it returned to Columbus.

Ohio State has allowed just seven earned runs in its first six games in Bill Davis Stadium, keeping both midweek foes (Toledo and Pittsburgh) without an earned run while shutting out Penn State both Friday and Sunday behind Hale and Shuck, respectively.

**Ryan Meade enters the weekend with a 17-game hitting streak, and the freshman DH from Lewis Center said he loves hitting, so the position works quite well for him.

"You want to do the best you can for the team and do what you can to help the team out," he said. "That's just what I try to do."

March 30, 3:59 p.m.
In the lead-up to this game, I wrote that Sunday Big Ten games are traditionally the home of 16-10 slugfests. I guess the jinx worked, then.

J.B. Shuck threw eight shutout innings and struck out a career-high 13 Penn State Nittany Lions as Ohio State earned a 2-0 win over PSU Sunday in Bill Davis Stadium. With the win in front of 845 fans, OSU (12-8) salvaged a split of a four-game, Big Ten-opening series with the Nittany Lions.

Shuck (4-1) struck out five Nittany Lions on his second trip through the order and whiffed three batters in the fifth. PSU did eke out four hits against him and he walked five while throwing 125 pitches. He struck out two Nittany Lions in a row to end a jam in the sixth and his last pitch of the day led to a double play when Zach Hurley made a running catch in center field and then threw out PSU's Brian Ernst, who left first base on contact and never considered going back.

"Really just my fastball and change up today," he said. "I was getting ahead with the fastball and then able to get them off balance with the changeup."

Eric Best got the save, his second of the year, by working a 1-2-3 ninth.

Ohio State, after a quiet first four innings, got the winning run in the fifth off PSU starter Ryan Stobart (0-2), who went the distance. Dan Burkhart walked to start the frame and eventually came home with two outs when Tony Kennedy legged out an infield single to shortstop. An insurance marker came in the sixth on an out-of-character extra-base hit. With two gone, Cory Rupert reached on a throwing error and the next batter, Zach Hurley, belted a Stobart offering over the head of Ernst for a triple.

The win helped sting the pain of back-to-back losses yesterday in a doubleheader.

"I would say everyone came to the ballpark today with a purpose," Hurley said. "You could feel it when we got to the ballpark. Today everyone seemed like they were focused and dialed in."

March 30, 12:53 p.m.
Frank Fraas' insistence of opening the window for his WMNI-AM broadcasts has pushed the print media into the Anne Hayes suite for this one. Penn State and OSU will finish their four-game series this afternoon as the threat of rain hovers over Bill Davis Stadium. Either way, the thermometer reads 43 degrees, so it is not ideal baseball weather in any way.

Here are today's starting lineups:
OSU (11-8, 1-2)
1. 8 Tony Kennedy LF
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 28 Justin Miller 1B
4. 21 Ryan Meade DH
5. 10 Cory Rupert 3B
6. 16 Zach Hurley CF
7. 15 Dan Burkhart 2
8. 1 Tyler Engle SS
9. 23 Ryan Dew RF
LHP J.B. Shuck (3-1, 4.09)

Penn State (7-13, 2-1)
1. Wes Borden 3B
2. Brian Ernst CF
3. Robert Yodice DH
4. Joe Blackburn C
5. Cory Wine 1B
6. Rick Marlin RF
7. Ryan Boonie LF
8. Landon Nakata 2B
9. Lou Picconi SS
RHP Ryan Stobart (0-1, 6.63)

Sunday Big Ten baseball is the traditional home of 16-10 games, so we'll see how much that holds to form during the opening weekend of the conference season.

March 29, 7:17 p.m.
Friday night against Penn State, Ohio State showed what its small ball offense could do when it was in sync. Saturday, it showed what will happen when the offense goes kaput.

The Buckeyes put together 13 hits over two games – all but one a single – as Penn State captured a 3-1 and 5-2 victories Saturday at Bill Davis Stadium. A crowd of 1,324 didn't have much to cheer for as OSU never led.

OSU had just two runs on nine hits in the second game, though Ryan Meade kept alive what is now a 15-game hitting streak, while Cory Kovanda's hit 11 games. The only runs came in the sixth when Zach Hurley and Dan Burkhart put together back-to-back RBI hits. The Buckeyes left the bases loaded in the seventh against Nittany Lion closer Drew O'Neil, who earned save No. 2 of the day and No. 5 of the season. Mike Lorentson went 5.1 innings to move to 3-2.

"I saw it as our guys not having good at bats," head coach Bob Todd said. "I thought there were way too many times we swung at bad pitches way too early in the count. We weren't patient enough to make their pitcher throw strikes."

And, perhaps, the first chink in the armor of what type of team OSU has constructed was noted.

"This team is going to have to put three or four hits together, and with the law of averages in baseball, that's going to catch up with you," Todd said.

The Nittany Lions kept coming, grabbing two runs in the second inning, three in the sixth and another in the seventh. Buckeye starter Dean Wolosiansky lost his second collegiate decision against two wins, going 5.1 innings and allowing four runs, three earned. Freshman Alex Wimmers allowed a run in 1.2 frames.

Penn State saved its best pitchers for the Saturday doubleheader and OSU used up a lot of offense Friday night in a 15-0 win. The Buckeye seniors tried to help a young squad mentally prepare for the day after such a blowout, but the message is now delivered the hard way.

"We had everything go our way that game and we almost used up all of our luck in the first three innings," senior Tony Kennedy said of the first game. "What goes around comes around in the game of baseball. We showed up to play Friday for a couple of innings but after that we kind of cooled off. Knowing that t hey save their best pitchers I was a little worried about today knowing that something like this could happen."

**Afterward, we were able to chat with Dan DeLucia about his first start in Bill Davis Stadium in nearly two years. Unfortunately, it was not always a happy return for the Columbus native.

"I was pretty excited to come back," he said. "This is the first time I got to throw here in a while. I didn't have my best stuff today."

The cold weather and a recent bout with tendinitis in his rotator cuff – which he said was normal for someone coming back from Tommy John surgery – combined to keep DeLucia off of his game, and he was on a strict pitch count that kept him to four innings.

"I was just short-arming the ball," he said. "That's why you saw a lot of balls up and away and I wasn't hitting spots pretty well."

March 29, 3:15 p.m.
The common wisdom up here in the press box is that OSU should have saved some of the 15 runs from last night.

OSU dropped the opener of today's doubleheader by a 3-1 count. OSU banged out only four hits, one each by Cory Kovanda, J.B. Shuck, Ryan Meade and Cory Rupert. Tony Kennedy's season-opening 17-game winning streak ended as he was 0 for 2 with two walks. The only OSU run was scored by Kennedy when he came on Shuck's fifth-inning single.

PSU, on the other hand, had 15 hits. Ohio State starter Dan DeLucia gave up one run on five hits in four innings, but Drew Rucinski gave up two runs and eight hits in his three innings of relief, snapping a 6.2 inning scoreless streak over three appearances. PSU RBI came from Robert Yodice, Joe Blackburn and Landon Nakata.

Here are today's starting lineups for Game 2:
OSU (11-7, 1-1)
1. 8 Tony Kennedy LF
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 4 J.B. Shuck CF
4. 28 Justin Miller 1B
5. 21 Ryan Meade DH
6. 10 Cory Rupert 3B
7. 2 Michael Arp RF
8. 15 Dan Burkhart 2
9. 1 Tyler Engle SS
RHP Dean Wolosiansky (2-1, 3.00)

Penn State (6-13, 1-1)
1. Wes Borden 3B
2. Brian Ernst CF
3. Robert Yodice DH
4. Joe Blackburn C
5. Cory Wine 1B
6. Rick Marlin RF
7. Ryan Boonie LF
8. Landon Nakata 2B
9. Lou Picconi SS
LHP Mike Lorentson (2-2, 5.84)

March 29, 12:45 p.m.
You'd have to think Dan DeLucia has waited for this day for quite some time.

The Ohio State lefthander was a senior captain who was supposed to be the Buckeyes' ace last season, but he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm three starts into last season. He took a medical redshirt and worked for a year to come back and suit up for one more year with OSU.

Today, the Columbus native starts again in Bill Davis Stadium, his first time on the BDS mound for a game in nearly two years.

The first pitch of game one of the doubleheader, the one DeLucia will start, will be at 1:05 p.m. It will be shown on the Big Ten Network and broadcast on WMNI 920.

The baseball gods have smiled down with beautiful sun, if not warmth, with temperatures expected to top off around 50.

Today the squads will play two seven-inning games.

Here are today's starting lineups for Game 1:
OSU (11-6, 1-0)
1. 8 Tony Kennedy LF
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 4 J.B. Shuck CF
4. 28 Justin Miller 1B
5. 21 Ryan Meade DH
6. 15 Dan Burkhart C
7. 10 Cory Rupert 2B
8. 23 Ryan Dew RF
9. 1 Tyler Engle SS
LHP Dan DeLucia (1-0, 4.05)

Penn State (5-13, 0-1)
1. Wes Borden 3B
2. Brian Ernst CF
3. Robert Yodice DH
4. Joe Blackburn C
5. Cory Wine 1B
6. Rick Marlin RF
7. Ryan Boonie LF
8. Landon Nakata 2B
9. Lou Picconi SS
RHP Mike Wanamaker (1-2, 3.00)

March 28, 10:10 p.m.
It was the type of game that just left you shaking your head.

The Ohio State baseball team put together a 15-0 win over Penn State (5-13) to open Big Ten play and improve to 11-6 on the year Friday night in a tidy 2:37 in front of 722 frozen home fans.

Of the 18 hits Ohio State had, 16 were singles. The Buckeyes scored eight runs in the first, three in the second and three more in the third off Penn State starter Seth Whitehill, whose ERA ballooned from 7.36 to 12.00.

The first inning has to be written out to believe:

1. Tony Kennedy struck out
2. Cory Kovanda singled
3. J.B. Shuck singled
4. Justin Miller singled
5. Ryan Meade singled to score Kovanda and Shuck
6. Dan Burkhart flew out to center
7. Cory Rupert doubled to score Miller
8. Ryan Dew singled to score Meade and Rupert
9. Tyler Engle singled
10. Kennedy singled to score Dew
11. Kovanda singled to score Engle
12. Shuck singled to score Kennedy
13. Miller struck out. Mercifully.

The final tally: eight runs, nine singles, one double, two left on base, one upset pitcher. Some balls were hit hard, most just fell in. One popup to right landed between three Nittany Lion fielders right by the foul line.

In the second, OSU scored three more times on four hits – three singles and a double. When Burkhart singled in the inning, every OSU starter had a hit just 15 batters and four outs into the game. In the third, three more runs on three more singles and two hit batsmen.

Some have wondered if OSU's small ball offense can consistently put up runs, but OSU is putting the hits in bunches right now.

"Obviously, the first three innings, everything went our way," head coach Bob Todd said. "We hit some bleeders, but you know what, I thought we had some very good at bats. I thought our hitters did what we asked them to do, laid off some bad pitches early and made him bring the ball up a little bit."

"You're not going to get three or four home runs from our lineup," Kovanda admitted. "It's good to see that 18 hits, 15 runs ratio. That's awesome with hitting no home runs. That just means we're executing and doing our job. When we get guys on base we can drive them in."

Inexplicably, David Lutz relieved Whitehill and pitched five shutout innings. His ERA fell from 36.00 to 10.29.

Kennedy extended his hitting streak to 17 games to start the year. Meade's went to 12. Kovanda has eight straight multihit games after going 2 for 4.

On the hill, Jake Hale battled through the cold – and the waiting – to throw six shutout innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out three. Josh Edgin got a save, going the final three innings, striking out three while allowing three hits and two walks.

The margin of victory was OSU's largest since a 29-2 win over Penn State in 2005. Lions pitchers must hate scarlet and gray.

March 28, 5:43 p.m.
It'st 39 degrees in Columbus but the sun has come out as we prepare for tonight's 6:35 p.m. start (Big Ten Network, WMNI 920) as the Ohio State baseball team (10-6) opens up its Big Ten slate against Penn State.

This weather is actually quite nice considering the overnight thunderstorms that came through the area and left the ground with a thorough soaking.

Here's today's starting lineups:
1. 8 Tony Kennedy LF
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 4 J.B. Shuck CF
4. 28 Justin Miller 1B
5. 21 Ryan Meade DH
6. 15 Dan Burkhart C
7. 10 Cory Rupert 2B
8. 23 Ryan Dew RF
9. 1 Tyler Engle SS
RHP Jake Hale (1-0, 6.43)

Penn State (5-12, 0-0)
1. Wes Borden 3B
2. Landon Nakata 2B
3. Robert Yodice DH
4. Joe Blackburn C
5. Cory Wine 1B
6. Brian Ernst CF
7. Rick Marlin RF
8. Ryan Boonie LF
9. Lou Picconi SS
RHP Seth Whitehill (2-1, 7.36)

March 28, 11:57 a.m.
Now that the Buckeyes have a home game in the books, it might be time to explain this here BaseBlog.

Unlike the home opener, this won't be the place to find minute-by-minute updates of OSU baseball games (after all, there are video and radio sources out there, as well as a pretty good GameTracker program from OSU).

Instead, this will be more of a home for news and notes surrounding the team, as well as the previews and recaps. Rather than post individual stories on the site about each game – which might get rather annoying considering the team will be playing five games per week – shorter previews and recaps featuring the most relevant information will be found here.

In addition, any interesting news or essential information will be posted here when necessary. For instance, after each week's Tuesday interviews, any news of particular interest will find its way here.

Occasional news stories and game recaps might deserve precedence and their own story, but for the most part, this will be the home of OSU baseball on

Now that we have that out of the way, here's some need-to-know information going into OSU's Big Ten opening series against Penn State this weekend (Friday, 6:35 p.m.; Saturday (DH), 1:05 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.) at Bill Davis Stadium.

**A continuing source of concern for Ohio State is a lack of power. Not that this is a surprise, as OSU didn't hit a lot of homers last season and then lost top longball threat Jason Zoeller, but the Buckeyes so far this year have 202 hits, 162 of which are singles. That leaves 33 doubles, two triples and just five bombs.

Against Pittsburgh during a midweek 9-1 win, reigning Big Ten player of the week Cory Kovanda had an RBI double in the first inning and senior Tony Kennedy added another in the second, but OSU was left with all singles from there among its 11 hits. However, both extra-base hits by Kennedy and Kovanda were stung pretty well, and head coach Bob Todd lauded Kovanda's hit especially for being key to the game.

Kennedy, a media favorite as being one of the more personable players on the team, admitted that OSU's power outage against Pitt was par for the course.

"Yeah, a lot of scrappy base hits, staying disciplined – that's the kind of team we are," he said. "We'll put the ball in play and we'll hit it hard."

Todd has wanted to see his team hit the ball over the head of some more outfielders, and that lack of power seemed to hurt OSU last year as it struggled during the Big Ten season. However, there is something to be said about a team that fields a lineup of players who can handle the bat pretty well. So far, the Buckeyes are hitting .342, not bad at all if it continues. When asked if the team's offensive approach is sustainable, Kennedy answered, "For now."

But then the shortstop turned third baseman turned outfielder said that a few balls flying over the Bill Davis Stadium fence might be on the horizon.

"I think we have that ability and you'll see it the next couple of weeks," Kennedy said. "We'll start hitting some home runs."

As for where the longballs will come from, stay tuned.

**Kennedy himself is riding a 16-game hitting streak to open the year while freshman Ryan Meade has a 12-gamer of his own.

"I'm just trying to have better at bats and put the ball in play," Kennedy said. "I just take pride in getting on base at least once or twice a game. That's just something that I've always set as a goal."

**After the Pittsburgh win midweek, OSU head coach Bob Todd said the Buckeyes would likely throw junior Jake Hale (1-0, 6.43) in Game 1, senior Dan DeLucia (1-0, 4.05) in Game 2, redshirt freshman Dean Wolosiansky (2-1, 3.00) in Game 3 and junior J.B. Shuck (3-1, 4.09) in the series capper.

**Penn State figures to counter with Seth Whitehill (2-1, 7.36), Mike Wanamaker (1-2, 3.00), lone southpaw Mike Lorentson (2-2, 5.84) and Ryan Stobart (0-1, 6.63).

Overall, Penn State (5-12) has not so far been the team that looked like an emerging power last year and that took two of three games from OSU during the regular season on the way to a third-place finish in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are last in the Big Ten in both ERA (6.70) and hitting (.262). Leading the batting charge are outfielder Brian Ernst (.358/.405/.403, 0 HR, 7 RBI) and first baseman Cory Wine (.279/.343/.459, 2 HR, 8 RBI).

**Games 1, 2 and 3 can be seen live on the Big Ten Network, while live video of Game 4 will be on WMNI-AM (920) in Columbus will broadcast games 1, 2 and 4.

**Friday morning dawned with a slick ground thanks to overnight thunderstorms, but the forecast calls for cold temperatures with no precipitation this evening. Saturday is supposed to be mostly sunny and around 50, but Sunday calls for showers and a high in the mid-50s.

March 26, 5:14 p.m.
Maybe Andrew Armstrong will take it as motivation.

After Armstrong threw five innings of two-hit ball during OSU's 9-1 home-opening win over Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium, OSU head coach Bob Todd named off a starting rotation for this weekend's Big Ten opening series that did not include the freshman from Virginia. Todd noted that meant the Buckeyes have four pitchers they like better than the lefty.

That might be hard to imagine after Armstrong shut down the Panthers. He allowed an unearned run in the first inning, then worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning before retiring the last 10 batters he faced to move to 2-1 on the year.

"There's a lot of potential there," Todd said. "Obviously to us in the dugout he was really nervous the first inning and really struggled, but it was good to see from about innings three on that he pitched like we think he's got the potential to pitch."

Armstrong, who was pitching from behind to some batters early on, admitted as such about the nerves.

"It was pretty cool," he said of starting the home opener. "It was a cool experience but, yeah, you have nerves and stuff. It was kind of tough but I just had to settle down. I didn't want to get blown out or something."

By the time he finished his day with five strikeouts against two hits and two walks allowed, it was clear he wasn't going to be blown out. Armstrong, who was 28-0 as a starter in high school at Bridgewater (Va.) Turner Ashby, said his two-seam fastball, changeup and curveball were working.

"When I got into the groove pretty much I could throw a lot of the pitches I had for strikes," he said.

Behind him, classmate Drew Rucinski from Tulsa, Okla., tossed two hitless innings, while sophomore Eric Best tossed a scoreless frame and freshman Alex Wimmers allowed a hit and a walk but got through the ninth without a run.

Ohio State's bats finished with 11 hits, nine of which were singles. However, Tony Kennedy and Cory Kovanda had early doubles that helped stake OSU to a 4-1 lead after two innings.

Kennedy finished 1 for 1 with three walks and three runs, while Kovanda was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. Freshman Ryan Meade was 2 for 5 with three runs batted in and a run scored, and Cory Rupert was 2 for 4 with an RBI groundout.

The Buckeyes are now 10-6 and open Big Ten play Friday night at BDS with Penn State.

March 26, 4:07 p.m.
The Buckeyes have blown it open through six innings, putting up a four-spot in the sixth to push their lead to 9-1. Three of the four runs came from a bases-loaded single by cleanup hitter Ryan Meade, a freshman who now has a 12-game hitting streak. Two runs scored on the single, then CF Jordan Herr threw the ball into the OSU dugout to allow the third run to score.

Since some struggles early, the OSU pitching has turned it on. Freshman Andrew Armstrong gave up an unearned run in the first and then got himself in a bases-loaded jam in the second that he worked out of. From there, he retired 10 straight batters, finishing with five innings pitched, two hits allowed, two walks and five strikeouts.

In his stead, fellow freshman Drew Rucinski came in and he's thrown two innings of shutout work, allowing just a walk and fanning another.

We're in the bottom of the seventh at Bill Davis Stadium with OSU holding a 9-1 lead over Pittsburgh.

March 26, 2:48 p.m.
Ohio State pushes the lead to 4-1 after the second thanks to, in a row, a single by freshman SS Tyler Engle, a stolen base by Engle, an RBI single by freshman C Dan Burkhart to right and an RBI double to deep center by Tony Kennedy. The hit extended Kennedy's hitting streak to 16 games. Pittsburgh has the bullpen going early with RHP David Kaye throwing.

And on that note, the BaseBlog will be going outside to the warm weather, but check in as the day goes on for updates on the OSU nine.

March 26, 2:22 p.m.
It didn't take long for Ohio State to reply. Tony Kennedy led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and came home when No. 2 hitter Cory Kovanda took an offspeed pitch deep to right and over RF John Shultz's head for an RBI double.

Kovanda continues his hot hitting that had him the Big Ten player of the week after he hit .688 down in Florida for OSU.

Cleanup hitter Ryan Meade, a freshman, then does his job with an RBI single to right to score Kovanda and make the score 2-1 with one out.

The Buckeye threat ends there and Armstrong retakes the hill with a 2-1 lead.

March 26, 2:11 p.m.
At exactly 2:01 p.m. the Buckeyes take the field for the first time in Columbus this season wearing the home whites, which seem to look particularly bright today.

Freshman lefty Andrew Armstrong is on the mound and his first pitch is low for a ball. The toss came at 2:05 p.m., right on schedule. With a 1-1 count, Pittsburgh leadoff hitter Jordan Herr grounds to shortstop Tyler Engle, and Engle's throw pulls first baseman Ryan Meade off the bag. E-6 and the Panthers have the first runner on.

After a wild pitch and a flyout to right moved the runner to third, No. 3 hitter Danny Lopez drives in Herr to make the score 1-0 in favor of the road-gray, pinstriped Panthers.

Two straight ground outs end the inning and the Buckeyes, thanks to an unearned run, trail 1-0.

A little odd to see No. 19 on the mound throwing lefthanded and it not being Cory Luebke, the former Buckeye stalwart who put in three good years with OSU before being a supplemental first-round pick of San Diego in this past draft.

March 26, 1:47 p.m.
It's 56 degrees in Columbus with just a few wispy clouds in the sky - in other words, perfect baseball weather for March 26, and it's a good thing considering the Ohio State baseball team (9-6) opens up its home slate today at 2 p.m. against Pittsburgh.

First pitch is nearing as Bob Todd's Buckeyes try to start a homestand off right against the visiting Panthers (6-11) of the Big East.

Here's today's starting lineups:
1. 8 Tony Kennedy LF
2. 17 Cory Kovanda 2B
3. 4 J.B. Shuck CF
4. 21 Ryan Meade 1B
5. 10 Cory Rupert 3B
6. 30 Chris Macke DH
7. 2 Michael Arp RF
8. 1 Tyler Engle SS
9. 15 Dan Burkhart C
LHP Andrew Armstrong (1-1, 5.40)

1. Jordan Herr CF
2. Sean Conley LF
3. Danny Lopez SS
4. Dan Williams 1B
5. Morgan Kielty DH
6. Nick Mullins C
7. Joe Leonard 3B
8. Chris Tonte 2B
9. Jonh Shultz RF
LHP Cole Taylor (0-0, 5.68)

So far, Shuck leads the OSU regulars with a .455 batting average with Kovanda, the reigning Big Ten player of the week, right behind at .451. Kennedy leads the team with two home runs (OSU has just five as a team) while Rupert has 18 RBI. OSU is averaging 7.3 runs per game, just behind Michigan for the top mark in the league.

Check in later for more updates on this picture perfect day from Bill Davis Stadium.

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