Really there isn't much to say about the weekend, it pretty much went as expected.
I think we should feel comfortable expecting to take every series, with an occasional sweep against Iowa or Purdue, ultimately ending with a Big Ten mark not too far from the 18-6 2009 campaign.
A solid pitching performance was followed by two games of serviceable pitching. For two games the offense was there. An error-free game was followed by a three-error game. Ho-hum.
I don't advocate being content, but given the horrible schedule the Buckeyes faced in Florida, there will be no at-large berth this season and no "need" to ring up x amount of wins. It's Big Ten Tournament or bust, which we luckily host at Bill Davis Stadium.
So for the next seven weekends, I'm fine taking two of three, with some improvement here or there, securing one of the top two spots come conference tournament play and letting the dominoes fall.
But back to the weekend.
Ohio State 4 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 2 11-17-0
Northwestern 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1-7-0
WP: Wimmers (6-0) LP: Brooke (3-2) S: None
HR: Hurley (4), Stephens (6), DeLucia (3)
The Buckeyes jumped out early in this one, as you can see with the four-spot in the first. Hurley the slugging leadoff hitter, started the game with a solo shot and Ryan Dew legged out a two-run triple, for the big hits on the inning.
From there it was cruise-control. Wimmers stayed perfect on the year, joining Cory Luebke as Buckeye pitchers to start the year 6-0 or better. Wimmers struck out five, walked two, and scattered six hits over seven innings allowing one run. Theron Minium relieved Wimmers and pitched the final two innings, walking one allowing one hit to close the game.
Offensively Cory Rupert had a 4-for-5 day, driving in a run, scoring one. Dew had two singles in addition to his triple in five at-bats, driving in three, scoring three times. Michael Stephens had 2-for-5 day with a home run, and Dan Burkhart finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Solid game at the plate, good pitching on the mound, error free baseball, nothing to really take issue with coaching wise. Good day at the park.
Ohio State 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2-8-3
Northwestern 0 0 1 0 0 4 1 2 X 8-14-0
WP: Jokisch (2-3) LP: Rucinski: (3-1) S: None
Ball day at the park.
Three errors led to four unearned runs as the Buckeyes lost their first game to a sub-200 RPI team, not that RPI matters this season. At the plate the Buckeyes stranded nine runners. Stephens and Dew with 2-for-4 efforts were the only Buckeyes to record a multi-hit game.
Drew Rucinski made the weekend start, pretty much putting a stamp on his insertion into the #2 role. He didn't pitch bad, but didn't pitch great either. In 5.1 innings Rucinski scattered seven hits, gave up four runs, three earned, walked four, k'd three. A so-so effort, but I'm sure Rucinski will be fine.
Relieving Rucinski was Eric Best. The senior southpaw pitched the final 2.2 innings, throwing 50 pitches in the process. Best allowed four runs as well, though just one was earned, while giving up seven hits and a walk, with one strikeout.
It would be nice if the offense was a tad more consistent, and the ungodly errors were cut down, but I wasn't particularly upset with the loss. Furthermore only two pitchers were used, as neither were really bad, have to like that.
Ohio State 0 3 0 0 3 2 2 0 1 11-13-2
Northwestern 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 0 1 6-14-4
WP: Wolosiansky (2-3) LP: Muraski (0-4) S: None
HR: Dew (2)
Decent hitting. Decent pitching. Decent fielding. Decent win.
The rubber match fit somewhere in between games one and two for the Buckeyes. The pitching was a bit better than Saturday, the hitting was a notch better but the Buckeyes still stranded 12 runners, and they cut the errors down slightly.
Either way it's a win and the Bucks kept pace with Michigan and Michigan State atop the Big Ten.
Burkhart and Stephens continued their solid weekend, the two concluded the trip to Chicago with three multi-hit games as the 3 and 4-hole hitters went 2-for-6 on the day. Burkhart drove in three runs with Stephens scoring once.
Hurley added a 2-for-5 effort, with Tyler Engle and Ryan Cypret both going 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Rupert added another 2-for-4 showing.
Wolosiansky received his second start in five days, going five innings for the win. Over the outing Wolosiansky gave up four runs, three earned off five hits.The junior righty walked two and struck out five.
Brett McKinney made his first appearance out of the bullpen in his Big Ten debut. Over 2.2 innings McKinney was tagged for a run off six hits while striking out four. Minium closed his second game of the series allowing a run off three hits in the final 1.1 innings of work.
The Buckeyes returned to Columbus 16-8 overall 2-1 in Big Ten play. Bill Davis plays host to Xavier (7-20) for the midweek matchup at 6:35 on Wednesday.