COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State travels to Champaign, Ill., for a three-game set this weekend with Illinois. The series will have major implications in the chase for the 2009 Big Ten Conference championship. Here’s what the weekend looks like for the top of the Big Ten standings:
• The Illini are in first place at 14-4, one-half game ahead of 13-4 Minnesota.
• The 13-4 Buckeyes are a game behind Illinois and one-half game behind Minnesota.
• Minnesota plays at 7-11 Michigan, which is in seventh place and needs wins and help to get into the Big Ten tournament.
• Fourth-place Indiana (11-6) hosts Northwestern and fifth-place Michigan State (11-7) hosts sixth-place Purdue (7-10).
This Weekend in Ohio State Baseball
No. 27 Ohio State (34-13; 13-5/3rd Big Ten Conference)
Game 48 at No. 25 Illinois (31-14; 14-4/1st Big Ten Conference)
Friday, May 8, 7 p.m.
Illinois Field (1,500)
Game 49 at Illinois
Saturday, May 9, 4 p.m.
Game 50 at Illinois
Sunday, May 10, 2 p.m.
All times EDT
103.9 WTDA Talk FM
INTERNET AUDIO & LIVE STATS
SECOND RANKED-RANKED SERIES
Illinois is ranked 25th by Collegiate Baseball; Ohio State 27th. This is the second time this season that Ohio State is playing a ranked Big Ten team after playing 25th-ranked Minnesota the second week of the Big Ten season.
The probable starting pitchers for the two teams this weekend looks like this:
G1 Fri. - RHP Alex Wimmers (8-1; 2.79) vs.
LHP Phil Haig (6-2; 4.48)
G2 Sat. - RHP Dean Wolosiansky (10-1; 5.19) vs.
RHP Ben Reeser (3-0; 2.85)
G3 Sat. - LHP Eric Best (6-3; 5.01) vs.
RHP Bryan Roberts (5-2; 5.64)
BROADCAST/WEB SITE AUDIO
The entire Ohio State/Illinois series will be broadcast over the air by WTDA 103.9 Talk FM and it will also be streamed online to OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Live stats are there, too.
THE CLIMB TO THE TOP
Ohio State has won five of six Big Ten series to get to 13-5: 3-0 sweeps over Michigan State and at Purdue; 2-1 wins at Penn State and vs. Northwestern and Michigan; and a 2-1 loss at Minnesota. Coach Dan Hartleb’s fourth Illinois team has won five series, too, with three 3-0 sweeps (vs. MSU, at Penn State and at NU), 2-1 wins at Michigan and vs. Minnesota, and a 2-1 loss at home to Indiana.
Here’s a quick look at each team’s overall and Big Ten Conference stats and stat leaders:
• Ohio State is batting .329 in all games and .314 vs. the Big Ten. Ryan Dew (.396 with 6 HRs), Dan Burkhart (.380 and 8 HRs) and Michael Stephens (.364) lead the way with Burkhart also leading in RBI (51) and Stephens leading in HRs (10) and ranking second in RBI (47). Justin Miller (7 HRs; 41 RBI), Zach Hurley (6 and 45, respectively) and Matt Streng (8 and 31) also slug well.
• Illinois is hitting .321 overall and .340 vs. the Big Ten with Brandon Wikoff (.385), Dominic Altobelli (.374; 6 HRs and 48 RBI), Willie Argo (.348; 11 HRs and 39 RBI) and Aaron Johnson (.345; 8 HRs and 46 RBI) most dangerous.
• Team ERAs: Ohio State’s are 5.64 overall and 4.58 vs. the Big Ten; Illinois’ are 4.70 and 4.83.
• OSU fielding: .965; UI fielding: .969.
THE OSU vs. UI SERIES
Ohio State vs. Illinois has always been a competitive series. All-time, Ohio State leads the series, 95-87-2. Ohio State won the series last year, 2-1, with the fourth game cancelled due to inclement weather. The teams met in the 2008 Big Ten tournament, with the Illini claiming a 3-2 win. Here’s more series lore:
• Ohio State has won four consecutive series at Bill Davis Stadium.
• The 2007 series at Illinois Field was contested in inclement weather. It was shortened after each team had won once.
• Illinois swept in 2005 at Illinois Field, 4-0.
• Illinois leads in all-time series wins in series played in Champaign with three series wins, two losses and four ties.
• The last time the teams met, Kevin Manson pitched a complete game and Joe Bonadonna’s seventh-inning home run – his first of the year – was the difference in Illinois’ 3-2 win at the 2008 Big Ten tournament. Manson gave up two unearned runs in the second inning and then retired 22 of the final 24 batters.
OSU Athletics Weekend Release