Feb. 12, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State baseball team has been selected third in the Big Ten preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced Wednesday. In addition, Trace Dempsey, Josh Dezse and Pat Porter have been named players to watch in the conference.
Indiana enters the season as the conference favorite followed by Nebraska, Ohio State and Michigan State. Illinois and Michigan were picked in a tie for fifth.
Dempsey, an NCBWA and Louisville Slugger preseason All-American, garnered multiple All-America laurels a season ago and after he went 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA and 17 saves in 31 appearances. A 2013 first team All-Big Ten selection from Huntington, W.Va., Dempsey struck out 28 and allowed opponents to hit .180 in 35.1 innings pitched. His 17 saves were the most in the Big Ten and finished one shy of tying Jake Hale's Big Ten and Ohio State record of 18 set in 2009. Dempsey went 30.1 innings without allowing an earned run between Feb. 17 and May 17.
Dezse, a right-handed pitcher/first baseman from Powell, Ohio, sat out the 2013 season with a stress reaction in his back but still has been named a third team preseason All-American by Louisville Slugger as a redshirt junior this season. As a sophomore in 2012, Dezse finished second on the team with a .306 batting average and five home runs to go along with nine doubles, 33 RBI and 31 runs scored. The Powell, Ohio, native also made 24 appearances on the mound, going 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA and tied for third in the Big Ten with seven saves as he allowed opponents to hit a paltry .188.
Porter, a junior outfielder from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, finished second on the team with a .296 average with 13 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 42 runs scored and 33 RBI in 55 games last season. He led or tied for the team led in doubles, triples, home runs, runs scored, RBI, slugging percentage and on-base percentage as a sophomore.
The Buckeyes open the 2014 campaign against Connecticut at 5 p.m. Friday in Port Charlotte, Fla.