Ohio State Opens 2012 at Big Ten/Big East Challenge Against USF, Seton Hall and Connecticut
Greg Greve

Feb. 14, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team opens its 129th season of play when it travels to St. Petersburg, Fla., this weekend for the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.

The Buckeyes take on USF at 10 a.m. Friday at the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg before taking on Seton Hall at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bright House Field in Clearwater. Ohio State concludes the weekend against Connecticut at 1 p.m. Sunday at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater.

For more Big Ten/Big East Challenge news, including ticket and parking information, visit www.bigtenbigeastbaseballchallenge.com.

The Bulls were picked fourth in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll after finishing last season 25-29 under head coach Lelo Prado. Left-hander Andrew Barbosa returns to the rotation after missing last season with an injury. The senior led the Big East with a 2.40 ERA and an 8-2 record in 2010. 

After going 34-25 with an NCAA appearance in 2011, the Pirates were picked fifth in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Right-hander Jon Prosinski led the conference with a 1.91 ERA to go with a 7-4 record last year.

The Huskies posted a 45-20-1 record in 2011 en route to an NCAA Super Regional appearance. Under the direction of ninth-year head coach Jim Penders, Connecticut returns 17 letterwinners off last year’s squad.

Ohio State sophomore 1B/RHP Josh Dezse has been named an NCBWA third team preseason All-American and a third team preseason All-American by CollegeSportsMadness.com. In addition Dezse garnered honorable mention preseason All-America honors from College Baseball Insider.

The Powell, Ohio, native led the Buckeyes with a .332 batting average and 42 runs batted in. He tied for the team lead with four home runs while going 4-2 with a team-high six saves and 32 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched. Dezse led the Buckeyes with 12 multiple RBI games and tied for third on the team with 17 multi-hit games.

Dezse became the 10th Buckeye to garner Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors after earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week laurels four times during the season and Player of the Week honors twice. In addition, he was named a Freshman All-American by the NCBWA and Louisville Slugger.

The Buckeyes play their first 14 games on the road, seven in Florida (three at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in St. Petersburg and four at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte), three in Georgia and four in South Carolina. Ohio State opens the season Feb. 17-19 before traveling to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech Feb. 24-26. The Buckeyes then take on Michigan (a non-conference game), Western Michigan (twice) and Villanova March 2-4 at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., before travelling to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Coastal Carolina Tournament March 9-11.

The Ohio State baseball program honored Nick Swisher with a field dedication ceremony Nov. 3 at the newly-renovated Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. Current Buckeyes, fans and media were on hand to recognize Swisher for his generosity in giving the program $500,000 to help install a new turf field.

Selected by the Oakland Athletics with the 16th overall pick of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft, Swisher also spent time with the White Sox before heading to his current home with the New York Yankees where he was a part of the 2009 World Champion team and named an American League All-Star the following season. In his professional career, the Columbus native has seen action in 1,061 games and has amassed 185 home runs.

The current Buckeyes open the 2012 home campaign March 16 against Austin Peay in the first game at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.

Head coach Greg Beals is just the 11th head coach in Ohio State history and only the fourth in the last 60 years. He has a 269-229 career record and is in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach.

Ohio State is 246-122 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .670 winning percentage. Ohio State is 142-79 vs. the Big Ten Conference at home.

The Buckeyes travel to Atlanta for a three-game set against preseason Top 25 Georgia Tech Feb. 24-26.