Ohio State Travels to East Lansing for Big Ten Series Against Michigan State
Brad Hallberg

March 30, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team travels to Michigan State for a three-game Big Ten series this weekend in East Lansing, Mich. The games Saturday and Sunday are set for 1:05 p.m. while the finale is slated for 3:05 p.m. Monday.

The Buckeyes went 1-2 in their Big Ten opening series last weekend against No. 24 Purdue before defeating Eastern Michigan, 13-4, Tuesday night. Freshman Pat Porter went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored against the Eagles while Aaron Gretz, Brad Hallberg and Mike Carroll had two hits apiece.

Game 1
: RHP Jaron Long (0-1, 3.22 ERA)
          vs. RHP Tony Bucciferro (3-1, 3.49 ERA)
Game 2
: LHP Brian King (2-2, 6.04 ERA)
          vs. RHP Andrew Waszak (2-1, 1.63 ERA)
Game 3
: RHP Brett McKinney (3-2, 3.65 ERA)
          vs. RHP Mike Theodore (2-1, 1.39 ERA)

Michigan State enters the weekend with a 15-7 overall record and has won its last eight contests. The Spartans, who have not yet played a Big Ten game, are led offensively by the trio of Jordan Keur (.400 batting average, 23 runs scored), Ryan Jones (.371, six doubles two triples, two home runs) and Torsten Boss (.322, six doubles, three home runs). On the mound, the Spartans lead the Big Ten with a 2.70 team ERA. Starters Tony Bucciferro (3.49 ERA), Andrew Waszak (1.63 ERA) and Mike Theodore (1.39 ERA) are a combined 7-3 on the season.

Ohio State holds a 133-84-1 advantage in the all-time series after taking two of three games in Columbus last season.

The Buckeyes enter the weekend with a 13-10 overall record, 1-2 in the Big Ten conference. Ohio State ranks third in runs scored (148), fourth in home runs (13) and on-base percentage (.371), and first in walks (113) and first in stolen bases (44). Over the first weekend of conference play, the Buckeyes ranked third in batting average (.307) and second in stolen bases (6).

Individually, Josh Dezse sits tied for third in the Big Ten with five home runs while Ryan Cypret ranks in multiple categories including walks (22, 2nd) doubles (7, t-6th) and runs scored (22, 9th). Kirby Pellant is tied for the Big Ten lead with 16 stolen bases while Joe Ciamacco sits tied for fifth with eight.

On the mound, Jaron Long sits ninth with 28 strikeouts. John Kuchno is tied for second in the Big Ten with four wins while Andrew Armstrong and David Fathalikhani are tied for sixth with 11 appearances.

Kirby Pellant extended his hitting streak to six games with a hit Tuesday. His streak is the longest current streak on the team. He’s also nabbed hits in nine of his previous 10 games played ... Brad Hallberg went 5-for-11 with four RBI and a run scored in the series against Purdue ... Mike Carroll finished the series with the Boilermakers 4-for-10 with three RBI and a run scored ... Patrick Porter earned his first career three-hit and second multi-hit game against EMU ... Trace Dempsey tied his career high with three strikeouts against EMU.

Brett McKinney has allowed only five earned runs in his last 30.1 innings pitched ... The Buckeyes are 44 of 49 in stolen base attempts after going 35 of 57 all last year ... With one intentional walk last Saturday, Jaron Long has now walked only three batters in 36.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 28 and posted a 3.22 ERA ... The Buckeyes are 10-0 when leading after seven innings and 9-0 when out-hitting the opponent ... Ohio State is 9-1 when scoring six or more runs ... Junior Joe Ciamacco has eight multi-hit games this season after recording one before this season ... Josh Dezse has reached base safely in 22 of 23 contests while Tim Wetzel has reached in 20 of 23 games this season.

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 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.

Dezse was 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 last season. 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 282-239 career record and in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach.

Ohio State is 250-125 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .670 winning percentage. Ohio State is 143-81 vs. the Big Ten Conference at home.

The Buckeyes travel to Oxford, Ohio, for a single game against Miami Wednesday before hosting Minnesota in a three-game set over the weekend.