Friday, April 3, 2009

The Lantern: Baseball takes on Gophers

Alex Kopilow April 3rd, 2009

The No. 18 Buckeyes (21-5, 2-1 in the Big Ten) will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-8, 1-1 in the Big Ten) in a three game series this weekend in Minneapolis. The Gophers fell to Northern Iowa on Wednesday 9-7 and are looking to prove themselves in a series they had little success in last year.

The Buckeyes were 3-1 against Minnesota in 2008 and outscored them 29-14.

The teams will play Friday at 7:35 p.m., Saturday at 3:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at the Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Twins.

"We need to be able to adjust," Todd said. "It's really easy to lose sight of a ball."

The Buckeyes have not lost two consecutive games this season, and the sophomore right-hander Alex Wimmers will get the start to try to keep it that way. The two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week managed just 2.1 innings in his last outing against Penn State (4 hits, 6 earned runs, 5 walks, and 2 strikeouts).

The Buckeyes started the season with 24 consecutive road games, in which they went 20-4, and the team is back on the road after two home games.

"It's a fact of life," Todd said. "There's no question we'd like to play at Bill Davis Stadium, and there's no question we would like to play in front of a great fan base. Twenty-seven of 29 of our first games are on the road and sooner or later we'll be able to play at home and the weather will be warmer, and our fans will be more enthusiastic."

OSU leads the Big Ten in runs (9.56 per game) and hitting (.342 average and 12.8 hits per game).

"We had some younger players [last year], about six or seven freshman in the lineup and they have matured," Todd said. "That maturity is starting to show what I consider more quality at-bats which are huge for us."

The team has 101 extra base hits this season (51 doubles, 17 triples and 33 home runs), which is the best since the 2006 team achieved 78 extra base hits.

Sophomore right-hander Dean Wolosiansky will pitch on Saturday. In seven appearances, he is 5-1 with a 6.49 ERA. He is coming off his first relief appearance of the year against Xavier on Tuesday. He pitched three innings, giving up one earned run on three hits.

Junior left-hander Eric Best is projected to pitch in the final game of the series on Sunday, but he has the flu so he will be a game-time decision. In seven appearances, Best is 7-0 with a 5.08 ERA.

The Lantern's midweek recap, weekend preview

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