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tBBC Memorable Weekend Sends OSU Baseball to the NCAAs

Discussion in 'News' started by Charles, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Memorable Weekend Sends OSU Baseball to the NCAAs
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    Memorial Day weekend was an exciting one for the Ohio State baseball team as they headed to Omaha, Nebraska for the Big Ten baseball tournament. A 15-9 conference record earned OSU the fourth seed in the double elimination tournament and an opening round game against rival Michigan, the fifth seed (above image courtesy of

    The weekend got off to a good start as the Buckeyes knocked off the Wolverines 8-3 thanks to a six run fifth inning. Things didn’t stay on a positive note though as OSU next faced off against 8th seed Iowa who had already knocked off top seeded Minnesota. The Buckeyes looked to have the game in hand, up 4-0 in the 9th when the Hawkeyes scored four runs to force extra innings. Iowa would get the winning run in the 10th to hand OSU a 5-4 loss that sent the Buckeyes to the losers bracket where one more loss would end their weekend.

    Saturday saw Ohio State face Michigan in a rematch with the loser going home; the Wolverines had upset Minnesota on Friday. Once again the Buckeye bats were hot as they kept their tournament alive with an 11-4 win. The downside of being in the losers bracket is that you get little time between games and OSU only had a few hours rest before facing 7th seeded Michigan State; the Spartans had won their first two games of the tournament and the Buckeyes would have to beat them twice if they wanted to advance to the tournament title game. For the second time in as many days, OSU was taken to extra innings but this time they prevailed, 3-2. The second OSU-MSU matchup occurred Sunday morning and the night’s rest seemed to do the Buckeyes good as they found more offense in a 7-3 win that sent them to the tournament title game.

    Ohio State’s run to the tournament title game had been made much more difficult due to their upset loss to Iowa and so it was only fitting that the two teams should meet again for the Big Ten title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. This time Iowa would get off to a good start, building a 4-0 lead through the first three innings before a five run fourth inning put OSU up 5-4. The Buckeyes extended their lead to 7-4 in the seventh but the Hawkeyes would tie things up in the eighth. With another extra inning game looking likely, senior Troy Kuhn hit an RBI double with two outs that allowed junior Ronnie Dawson to score what would be the winning run as Ohio State won the Big Ten Championship 8-7.

    This was Ohio State’s ninth Big Ten tournament title but their first in nine years. This may have been the most impressive of those titles as the Buckeyes had to play four straight elimination games to secure the title with both Saturday and Sunday being doubleheaders for OSU. OSU was the first team to win the title after falling into the losers bracket since 2006 when then top seeded Michigan won. The craziness of the weekend was epitomized by the fact that the higher seed only won 5 games and all 5 of those victories were by Ohio State.

    Winning the Big Ten title gave Ohio State an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. This will be the Buckeyes’ 19th appearance in the tournament and their first since 2009. The NCAA baseball tournament is a strange beast that cannot decide on a consistent tournament format. The first weekend of the tournament features 16 regions with four teams each hosted by the top seed in that region; each region will be a double-elimination tournament. The winners of the regional round will then face off in 8 super-regionals which are a best of three series on campus sites. The winners of the super-regionals advance to the College World Series in Omaha where they are split into two four team groups which play another double-elimination tournament. The winner of each group will then face off in a best of three championship series.

    Ohio State earned the number 2 seed in the Louisville region and are joined by top seed Louisville, three seed Wright State, and fourth seed Western Michigan. Louisville finished ranked fourth in the country and will pose a tough matchup. First, the Buckeyes have to take on Wright State in the opening game of the regional which will be played Friday at 2:00pm and can be seen on ESPNU.

    College baseball is normally dominated by southern teams thanks to the season starting in February when weather conditions in the north are not exactly conducive to the baseball. Most northern teams are forced to have pre-season practices indoors, often in football practice facilities, and will then spend the first couple weeks of the season on the road; this season Ohio State played their first 15 games on the road and didn’t play in Columbus until a month into the season. These conditions make it harder for northern teams to recruit players and have led to them struggling in the playoffs. Other than Oregon State winning the CWS in 2008 and 2009, no northern team has made the championship series since Eastern Michigan in 1976 and no northern teams has won the CWS since Ohio State did it in 1966. Since the College World Series started in 1947, teams currently in the Big Ten have made 28 appearances in the CWS and have won 6 titles (3 by Michigan, 2 by Minnesota, and 1 by Ohio State). This year the Big Ten will have three teams trying to make the CWS as Ohio State is joined in the tournament by Minnesota and Nebraska.

    While history doesn’t seem to be on Ohio State’s side in this tournament, the Buckeyes showed this weekend that they can overcome very challenging situations. If OSU can play like they did the last four games, nothing is impossible and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sneak into a super-regional.

    The post Memorable Weekend Sends OSU Baseball to the NCAAs appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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