Ohio State Continues Postseason Push With Three-Game Set at Penn State
John Kuchno

April 26, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team travels to University Park, Pa., this weekend for a three-game set at Penn State. The series opener is slated for 6:05 p.m. Friday before a 2:05 p.m. middle game Saturday and a 1:05 p.m. series finale Sunday.

The Buckeyes defeated Bowling Green, 8-4, Wednesday after dropping two of three games against Illinois in Champaign last weekend. Brad Hallberg went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while Josh Dezse, Mike Carroll and Patrick Porter each had two hits against the Falcons.

Game 1: RHP Jaron Long (3-2, 2.08 ERA)
          vs. LHP Joe Kurrasch (3-2, 2.08 ERA)
Game 2: LHP Brian King (3-3, 4.93 ERA)
          vs. RHP Steven Hill (4-3, 3.75 ERA)
Game 3: RHP John Kuchno (6-3, 5.11 ERA)
          vs. RHP John Walter (1-6, 4.80 ERA)

Penn State, under the direction of Robbie Wine, enters the weekend with a 20-21 overall record, tied for fifth in the Big Ten with a 6-6 ledger. Jordan Steranka leads the Nittany Lions with a .363 batting average with 15 doubles, eight home runs, 30 RBI and 27 runs scored. Friday night starter Joe Kurrasch is 3-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched. Saturday starter Steven Hill is coming off a no-hitter last weekend at Iowa and has gone 4-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 69.2 innings pitched.

Ohio State holds a 55-32 advantage in the all-time series but the Nittany Lions took two of three games last season in University Park.

The Buckeyes enter the weekend with a 23-18 overall record, seventh in the Big Ten Conference with a 7-8 ledger. Ohio State ranks fourth in on-base percentage (.375) and runs scored (240) and fifth in doubles (65) and batting average (.270). The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with 200 walks and rank second with 63 stolen bases.

Individually, Josh Dezse sits tied for ninth in the Big Ten with five home runs and fourth with a .453 on-base percentage while Ryan Cypret leads the Big Ten with 35 walks and is tied for seventh with 35 runs scored. Brad Hallberg is tied for fifth in the conference with 12 doubles. Kirby Pellant is second with 22 stolen bases while Joe Ciamacco sits tied for sixth with 14. Tim Wetzel is right behind Cypret for second in the Big Ten with 30 walks.

On the mound, Jaron Long sits second with a 2.08 ERA and tied for seventh with 49 strikeouts. John Kuchno is tied for second with six wins while Andrew Armstrong leads the Big Ten with 22 appearances and David Fathalikhani is tied for second with 21.

Every Ohio State starter reached base safely Sunday against Illinois ... David Fathalikhani had his scoreless appearance streak snapped at 16 Saturday against Illinois ... Josh Dezse went 4-for-11 with four RBI while Mike Carroll also finished 4-for-11 with three runs scored and two RBI in the Illinois series ... Andrew Armstrong tossed two scoreless innings over a pair of appearances against the Illini ... Jaron Long did not allow an earned run while striking out five over 6.0 innings pitched Friday. The three through six hitters in the Buckeye lineup combined to go 9-for 16 with four RBI and four runs scored against Bowling Green ... Brad Hallberg recorded his team-high 15th multi-hit game against the Falcons. 

The Buckeyes are 63 of 78 in stolen base attempts this season. They were 35 of 57 all of last season ... Jaron Long has allowed just eight walks in 69.1 innings pitched this season. He has struck out 49 and allowed opponents to hit .251 while posting a 2.08 ERA ... Long has gone at least 7.0 innings and allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts ... The sophomore has allowed three earned runs while striking out 20 over 32.0 innings pitched over his last four starts ... The Buckeyes are 19-0 when leading after seven innings and 16-2 when out-hitting the opponent ... Ohio State is 15-2 when scoring six or more runs and 19-7 when scoring first ... Junior Joe Ciamacco has nine multi-hit games this season after recording one before this season ... Josh Dezse has reached base safely in 40 of 41 contests and 23 consecutive games while Brad Hallberg has reached in 35 of 39 starts this season ... Hallberg’s 14 extra-base hits this season eclipse his total of eight in 251 at-bats over his first three seasons ... Greg Greve has allowed three earned runs in 14.0 innings pitched over his last four appearances ... Josh Dezse has seen his batting average rise to .335 in the nine games since it dipped to a season-low .305 ... Kirby Pellant has reached base safely in his last 12 games.

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 292-247 career record and in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach.

Ohio State is 257-129 all-time at Bill Davis Stadium for a fine .670 winning percentage. Ohio State is 147-82 vs. the Big Ten Conference at home.

The Buckeyes host Northwestern in a three-game set beginning May 4 at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.