Ohio State Opens Big Ten Conference Play With Three-Game Home Series Against No. 24 Purdue
Brian King

March 23, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team hosts No. 24 Purdue in a three-game set to open Big Ten play this weekend at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium. The opener is slated for 5:05 p.m. Friday, followed by a 3:05 p.m. matchup Saturday and the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

The Buckeyes split a pair of games Tuesday and Wednesday at No. 22 Louisville and Dayton. Greg Greve earned his first win of the season Wednesday against Dayton, allowing two earned runs over 7.0 innings while tying his career high with seven strikeouts.

Game 1
: RHP Jaron Long (0-0, 2.15 ERA)
        vs. RHP Joe Haase (2-0, 4.97 ERA)
Game 2
: LHP Brian King (2-1, 5.30 ERA)
        vs. RHP Lance Breedlove (2-2, 4.18 ERA)
Game 3
: RHP Brett McKinney (3-2, 4.06 ERA)
        vs. LHP Calvin Gunter (2-0, 4.24 ERA)

Purdue enters the weekend with a 14-3 overall record after splitting four games at Wichita State last weekend. The Boilermakers rank second nationally with a .350 team batting average and ninth with 8.4 runs scored per game. Eric Charles leads Purdue with a .419 batting average with five doubles, a triple, 18 runs scored and 14 RBI. Third baseman Cameron Perkins is hitting at a .392 clip with four doubles, three home runs, 20 runs scored and a team-high 23 RBI.

Ohio State holds a 136-58-1 lead in the all-time series with Purdue. The Buckeyes swept the last series between the schools in 2009.

The Buckeyes enter the weekend with an 11-8 overall record, the fifth-best ledger in the conference. Ohio State ranks third in runs scored (124), fourth in home runs (13) and on-base percentage (.373), first in walks (104) and first in stolen bases (34). On the mound, the Buckeyes have struck out the second-most batters of any team in the Big Ten (134).

Individually, Josh Dezse sits in the Top 10 in on-base percentage (.484, 2nd), home runs (5, 3rd) and slugging percentage (.557, 7th). Ryan Cypret also ranks in multiple categories including walks (20, t-1st), on-base percentage (.457, 9th), doubles (7, t-5th) and runs scored (19, t-5th). Kirby Pellant leads the Big Ten with 13 stolen bases while Joe Ciamacco sits fifth with seven. Tim Wetzel is third in the conference with 17 walks and tied for sixth with six stolen bases.

On the mound, Jaron Long sits eighth with a 2.15 ERA and fourth with 25 strikeouts. Brett McKinney is fifth with 23 strikeouts and is tied for third with John Kuchno with three wins.

The Buckeyes’ starting pitchers combined to allow three earned runs over 21 innings pitched ... The team posted an ERA of 1.97 against the Governors ... The Buckeyes were 8-for-10 in stolen base attempts ... Brad Hallberg went 5-for-13 with a double and three RBI ... Josh Dezse went 4-for-12 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored ... Tim Wetzel walked five times over the weekend ... John Kuchno was brilliant out of the bullpen Friday, tossing five scoreless innings while striking out six to move to 3-0 on the season ... The Buckeyes had a streak of three consecutive extra-inning contests snapped Sunday with a 7-3 win.

Over the last two weekends, Ohio State’s starting pitchers have allowed just eight earned runs in 47.1 innings pitched (1.52 ERA) ... Brett McKinney has now allowed only four earned runs over his last 24.1 innings pitched ... The Buckeyes are 34 of 38 in stolen base attempts after going 35 of 57 all last year ... With one walk last  Friday, Jaron Long has now walked only two batters in 29.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 25 and posted a 2.15 ERA ... The Buckeyes are 8-0 when leading after seven innings and also have the same mark when out-hitting the opponent ... Junior Joe Ciamacco has seven multi-hit games this season after recording one before this season ... Josh Dezse had his reached base streak snapped at 17 games against Louisville ... The Buckeyes drew a season-high 11 walks Wednesday against Dayton.

Josh Dezse tied an Ohio State single-game record with three home runs Feb. 24. The feat was last accomplished by Chad Ehrnsberger on May 3, 1998 against Indiana. Dezse gave the Buckeyes the early lead in the top of the second, added a mammoth shot to left in the sixth and tied the record with one to right field in the seventh.

Josh Dezse, a 1B/RHP on the Ohio State baseball team, was named Big Ten Player of the Week, the conference office announced Feb. 20.

Dezse went 7-for-14 on the weekend with a home run, five RBI and four runs scored as the Buckeyes went 2-1 in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge. The Powell, Ohio, native had multi-hit games in all three contests Feb. 17-19, highlighted by a three-hit performance Friday against USF and a 2-for-4 effort with a home run and four RBI Feb. 19 against Connecticut.

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. Dezse also was named to the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur baseball player in the country.

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 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.

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 280-237 career record and is in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach.

Ohio State is 248-123 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 host Eastern Michigan at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday before traveling to East Lansing for a three-game series next weekend at Michigan State.