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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The boys are back. The Ohio State baseball team will embark on its 134th season this weekend as it travels to Kissimmee, Fla., for four games beginning Friday at the Sunshine State Classic Series.
The Buckeyes will face Kansas State at Noon Friday, Delaware at 2 p.m. Saturday, Pittsburgh at 5 p.m. Saturday and then a second contest vs. the Wildcats to close out the weekend at 11 a.m. Sunday. All four games will be played at Osceola County Stadium.
ON THE BUMP
KANSAS STATE: RHP Adam Niemeyer (4-2, 4.31 ERA in ’16) vs. RHP Bryce Ward (1-1, 2.56 ERA in ’15)
DELAWARE: RHP Yianni Pavlopoulos (3-4, 3.03 ERA in ’16) vs. RHP Nick Spadifino (5-3, 7.01 ERA in ’16)
PITTSBURGH: RHP Ryan Feltner vs. (3-4, 4.06 ERA in ’16) vs. RHP Josh Falk (3-7, 4.77 ERA in ’16)
KANSAS STATE: RHP Jake Post (2-3, 2.12 ERA in ’15) vs. LHP Parker Rigler (4-9, 4.89 ERA in ’16)
Tickets are available at Osceola Heritage Park. Daily admission allows for all games that day.
Child - 5 and Under: $5
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats links can be found by going to the schedule page of Ohio State Baseball on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter via @OhioState_BASE. There will be no live stream available at the Sunshine State Classic Series. Games against the Wildcats will have KSU audio streams available.
- The 2017 Buckeyes return 17 letterwinners this season, including a five-member senior class, from the squad that won 44 games, tied for fifth all-time in program history and the most since 2003, and advanced to a NCAA Regional after claiming the program’s ninth Big Ten tournament title. The team also welcomed 17 newcomers last fall.
- Last season, the Buckeyes broke single-season records in stolen bases (101), batters hit by pitch (70) and strikeouts by a staff (495). The team also notched the most home runs in the past seven years (57) and earned 133 doubles, tied for third most in program history. The 2016 team’s fielding percentage was second-best all time at .975.
- Ohio State will play its first 16 games away from the friendly confines of Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. The Scarlet and Gray will visit the state of Florida three times on the schedule. The team also was in Florida last weekend for two scrimmage days in Port Charlotte, Fla.
- The Buckeyes are 8-2-1 during opening weekend in the last three seasons. Last year, the Scarlet and Gray went 3-0-1 at the Historic Dodgertown Classic in Vero Beach, Fla.
- Senior infielder Jalen Washington and redshirt junior pitcher Adam Niemeyer were each named captains.
- Redshirt junior pitcher Yianni Pavlopoulos will make his first career start vs. Delaware on Saturday in game one, while fifth-year senior pitcher Jake Post will make his first appearance since suffering a season-ending injury in 2015 and undergoing Tommy John surgery.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
2016 Record: 26-31
Postseason: 0-2 in Big-12
Top Returning Hitter: Jake Scudder, .333, 7 HR, 45 RBI
Top Returning Pitcher: Parker Rigler, 4-9, 4.89 ERA, 77.1 IP, 73 K
2016 Record: 32-22
Top Returning Hitter: Nick Tierno, .340, 51 runs scored, 35 RBI, one home run
Top Returning Pitcher: Brandon Walter, 3.63 ERA, 7-3, 89.1 IP, 85 K
2016 Record: 25-26
Top Returning Hitter: Frank Maldonado, .330, 61 hits, 25 RBI
Top Returning Pitcher: Josh Falk, 3-7, 4.77 ERA, 66 IP, 35 K
KINKER NAMED TO PRESEASON STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
After a breakout sophomore campaign, junior pitcher Seth Kinker has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, announced Feb 14. The Huntington, W. Va., native is one of 55 student-athletes on the list. Last season, the native of Huntington, W. Va., went 6-1 out of the bullpen with a 1.65 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 54.2 innings pitched. He led the Big Ten with 38 appearances at the plate, which ranked second in OSU single-season history in 2016. Kinker also earned two saves for the Scarlet and Gray. A mid-season watch list will be released on April 28 followed by the award announcement on June 18.
TRIO OF BUCKEYES NAMED TO B1G PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST
Senior Jalen Washington, redshirt junior Yianni Pavlopoulos and junior Seth Kinker have been named to the B1G Players to Watch list, announced by the conference office Feb. 15. Washington, a 2016 Big Ten All-Tournament selection and fall MVP, returns to shortstop this season after starting in 59 games from behind the dish during his junior campaign. Pavlopoulos, a right-hander from Homer Glen, Ill., led the Big Ten in saves with 14 last spring, including five saves in conference play, and will make his first career start vs. Delaware at 2 p.m. ET Saturday. Kinker, a junior pitcher, adds to his preseason accolades with this accomplishment.
WASHINGTON & NEIMEYER NAMED 2017 CAPTAINS
Senior infielder Jalen Washington and redshirt junior pitcher Adam Niemeyer were named captains of the 2017 squad, head coach Greg Beals announced this January. Washington, a two-time Ohio State captain, led the team to 44 overall wins last spring, including a Big Ten Tournament title and NCAA Regional appearance. Niemeyer, a native of Minster, Ohio, helped to guide the OSU pitching staff last season to a Big Ten-best 2.63 ERA and 3.07 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which ranked sixth in the country.
Ohio State welcomed 15 newcomers to 35-man roster, including seven junior college transfers: Junior Noah McGowan (McLenann; Houston, Texas), Nate Romans (Meridian College; Canton, Ohio), Tyler Cowles (Sinclair; Grove City, Ohio), Thomas Waning (Lincoln Trail, Maple City, Mich.), Reece Calvert (McLennan; Plano, Texas), Dustin Jourdan (McLennan; Austin Texas) and Bo Coolen (Cypress College, Honolulu Hawaii). The Buckeyes welcomed seven freshmen with five of them pitchers: Noah West (Westerville, Ohio), Michael McDonough (Columbiana, Ohio), Collin Lollar (Columbus, Ind.), Gavin Lyon (Westerville, Ohio), Dominic Canzone (Sagamore Hills, Ohio), Andrew Magno (Dublin, Ohio), Jake Vance (Canton, Ohio) and Conner Pohl (Arcanum, Ohio).
Seventh-year head coach Greg Beals is the 11th head coach in Ohio State history and the fourth in the last 60 years. In his 15th year as a collegiate head coach, he is 446-347-1 and 203-145-1 at the helm of the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes will travel to Surprise, Ariz. and compete in the Big Ten / Pac 12 Challenge Feb 23-26. Ohio State will face Utah and Oregon State twice.