Talkin’ Baseball: Buckeyes Seek Positive End to Long Roadstand
By Andrew Lind
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Like most baseball teams north of the Mason-Dixon line, Ohio State had to spend the first month of the season in the southern sun.
Through the first month of season, Ohio State ranks third in the Big Ten with a 6-4 record. Considering the constant travel back and forth from Ohio to Florida – and now South Carolina this weekend – coming out of the long roadstand at or above .500 would be a good place to start the season.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 1-2 weekend down in Florida, as they head into their final road stretch before the home-opener on March 15. Ohio State dropped games to UConn, 5-2, and Stetson, 3-2 in 12 innings, before salvaging a victory against Central Michigan on Sunday.
The results are less than spectacular, especially considering the lack of prominent teams on the early season schedule, but every game was winnable. The Buckeyes were plagued by seven errors in the two losses.
On the bright side, the pitching staff was solid for head coach Greg Beals. Senior Brian King led the way in the win over the Chippewas, striking out seven over seven strong innings. Jaron Long and Brad Goldberg also had strong outings last weekend, combining for a 2.15 ERA in their two starts.
After 10 games, the Buckeyes are among the best in the Big Ten in several offensive categories including doubles (23, t-1st), triples (4, 2nd), stolen bases (27, 2nd), runs scored (64, 3rd), slugging percentage (.403, 3rd) and batting average (.289, 4th).
Ohio State’s pitching staff also leads the league in strikeouts (91). They rank second in ERA (2.99) and opponent batting average (.232).
Heading South Again
This weekend, the team will travel to South Carolina for five more games. The Buckeyes will take on Harvard, Ball State and Coastal Carolina down in Myrtle Beach before traveling to Charleston Southern.
Harvard is 1-3 on the young season. This past weekend, the Crimson split a pair of games with Bucknell before losing a pair of competitive games to Virginia. Leading the way for Harvard is Carlton Bailey, who went 7 for 16 with an RBI against the Bison and Cavaliers.
In 10 meetings, Ohio State has never lost to the Crimson.
Projected Starter: RHP Jaron Long (1-1, 1.93 ERA)
Another northern team making the trip south for a few games is Ball State, a school Beals knows well from his days as their head coach. The Cardinals are 5-6 on the year, with a pair of their wins coming as recent as Monday against Morehead State. First baseman Cody Campbell is on fire to start the season, batting .364 with four doubles, nine runs scored, and eight runs batted in.
All time, the Buckeyes are 12-5 against the Cardinals. They were 2-2 when Beals was the head coach at Ball State from 2003-10. He led them to a 243-202 record in his eight seasons as coach with three seasons of 36-or-more victories. After setting the school record for a first-year coach with 36 wins in 2003, Beals led the Cardinals to consecutive 38-win seasons, including the NCAA Regional appearance in 2006
Projected Starter: LHP Brian King (2-1, 2.84 ERA)
To wrap up play in Myrtle Beach, the Buckeyes will play a pair against Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are 4-8 on the season after dropping two of three games this past weekend. Two of the losses came to nationally ranked Furman.
In the last game before the team returns home for their home opener on March 15th, Ohio State must travel to Charleston to take on a new opponent, Charleston Southern. The Buckeyes have met the Buccaneers, who are playing .500 ball (6-6) this season. Outfielder Bobby Ison leads the Buccaneers with a .372 batting average, 12 runs scored, and six runs batted in.
Projected Starters: RHP Brad Goldberg (2-0, .047 ERA) and RHP Jake Post (0-0, 14.54 ERA)
Ohio State opens its home slate with three games against Bryant University (Rhode Island) March 15-17 at the new Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.