Issue date: 4/15/09
Junior leftfielder Zach Hurley has been the leadoff hitter for the Ohio State baseball team since the beginning of the year, but he's taken the word "lead" to a whole new level.
Hurley needed surgery on a torn left labrum (shoulder) late last summer, which kept him out of fall practices. Since the season started in late February he has shown no signs that the surgery has hurt his performance.
Hurley is the team leader in runs, hits and stolen bases, which are all typical statistics of a great leadoff hitter. Hurley also leads in categories typical of a cleanup hitter. He leads the team with a .590 slugging percentage, a .436 on-base percentage, and he even leads the team in runs batted in with 39. Hurley also has 15 extra base hits (5 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs), which is tied for second on team with outfielder Michael Stephens.
"I think it's more of a tribute to the entire team an how well we're playing," Hurley said. "It really says a lot about our lineup and how loaded we are throughout the entire lineup.
"You can put anyone in the order anywhere you want and they'll come through."
Hurley became an everyday player in 2008, playing in 49 games and making 35 starts in the outfield. He hit over .302, with five stolen bases and had a .410 slugging percentage.
Hurley has spent the last three summers as an outfielder for the Cincinnati Steam in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
Last summer, Hurley led the GLSCL in batting with a .433 average and was named the league's Player of the Year and its No. 1 pro prospect.
"I thought him playing last summer was a big help for him," coach Bob Todd said. "He slowly keeps working hard and slowly keeps getting better."
Hurley was 5-for-10 with four runs, four runs batted in, four walks and a home run against Michigan State last weekend.
Zach Hurley and the No. 26 Buckeyes finish their five-game home stand today against No. 24 Kent State Golden Flashes at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium.
The Buckeyes are 4-1 at home this season and lead the all-time series against Kent State 34-13. In their last meeting, the Buckeyes defeated the Golden Flashes with a 5-3 win in 2004 at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Dean Wolosiansky will get the start for OSU. Wolosiansky (7-1, 5.59 ERA) earned the win in his last start against Michigan State on Saturday. He pitched six and one-thirds innings and allowed nine hits, three earned runs, no walks and had one strikeout.