When announced on June 17, 2010 as the 11th head coach of Ohio State's oldest varsity sport, Greg Beals was placed in charge of a program that had missed the Big Ten Tournament for the first time 1996, – when it was a four-team field, not the present six-team event – its second absence since 1987.
Ohio State's 2009 Big Ten championship was the Buckeyes sole title in a nine-year window, and the hope was Beals would lead a turnaround that saw Ohio State return to past glory, when from 1993-2001 Ohio State captured five Big Ten championships and appear in six NCAA Regionals.
But the cupboard Beals inherited was largely empty. Ohio State's 26-27 2011 campaign was the first losing season for the program since 1987. Not a Buckeye received first-team All-Big Ten honors, nor was one selected in the MLB Draft. Fans of the program knew it would take a couple of years before Beals could infuse the program with his players, get the program off the ground, and soaring at a level expected of an Ohio State athletic program.
2013 was the season circled, and with the release of their 2013 slate, Beals has the same thoughts in mind.
Announced last Thursday, Sept. 7, Ohio State's 2013 schedule is built for the Buckeyes to reach 20th NCAA Regional, to be back on a path towards Omaha. With 15 games against seven foes that participated in an 2012 Regional, Ohio State will be tested from start to finish during the upcoming season.
"We made a schedule that has a competition level that will warrant an NCAA at-large bid provided we win our share of baseball games," head coach Greg Beals said. "Regardless of what happens in the Big Ten, if we’re able to win 38 games with this schedule, I think we’ll be in a very good situation to be an at-large team."
Highlighting the schedule, which features a 27-game home docket beginning on March 15 with a three-game set against Bryant, is a stiff nine-game stretch to end the season that rivals any two week period any Ohio State baseball team has faced.
A week after Spring Semester exams, Ohio State will face it's toughest opponent to date, hosting Georgia Tech for a pair of mid-week games May 7-8. Just two days after the Yellow Jackets venture to Columbus, Ohio State welcomes Oregon. Oregon was a game shy of advancing to the College World Series last season, falling in walk-off fashion in game three to Ohio State's in-state rival Kent State in the Eugene Super Regional. The grind doesn't stop when the Ducks fly back, as the Cardinals of Louisville swoop into Columbus for May 14 date. The regular season comes to an end with the Buckeyes taking on Indiana, an expected top-two Big Ten preseason pick, for a weekend series that may determine the Big Ten Championship May 16-18.
Other non-conference opponents highlighting Ohio State's schedule include: St. John's, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Stetson, Coastal Carolina, West Virginia ,and Marshall. 2013 will be the first time Beals takes on his former program in Ball State. Ohio State will make trips within Ohio to Cincinnati, Miami, and Ohio during the the four-month season.
In Big Ten play, Ohio State welcomes Michigan State, Illinois, Penn State, and the Hoosiers. Ohio State will tackle conference foes on the road at Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern. For the second consecutive season, as the Big Ten finishes its current scheduling rotation, Ohio State will not take on Michigan nor Iowa.
Before the team will take the field in its Feb. 15 opener versus Mercer, there will be a bit of figuring out to do regarding the Buckeye depth chart.
While nothing will be set in stone from the current fall practice season, there will be a lot to be examined by Beals and his staff.
Jr. RHP Josh Dezse continues to toss 100-pitch bullpen sessions in an effort to convert him from closer to weekend starter. It can be expected that classmate Jaron Long will remain in the rotation. Long, Ohio State's 2012 Friday starter, received first-team all-conference laurels.
Where Ohio State goes after those two is yet to be known.
The Buckeyes have a small army of returning pitchers that have started a Big Ten contest. Seniors Brian King and Brett McKinney opened the 2012 season as the team's respective Saturday and Sunday starters. Junior RHP Greg Greve was the 2011 Sunday starter.
Ohio State will have the services of three transfer for the first time in senior RHP Brad Goldberg, soph. Tito Nava, and soph. RHP Tyler Giannonatti.
In addition to those arms, Ohio State welcomes back sophomore RHP Trace Dempsey and senior RHP David Fathalikhani, a combined 61.0 innings were tallied from the bullpen staples last year. Freshman right-handed pitcher Jacob Post is expected to deliver quality innings from the bump.
In the field and offensively, compared to their pitching brethren, Ohio State's positional players are rather boring.
Ohio State returns a starter at every position except third that due to Dezse's usage as a starting pitcher removes him from first base. Brad Hallberg, the team's third baseman a year ago, will move over from the hot corner to man first.
With a team of nine seniors and a roster composed of all but four players that have come in under Beals' watch, expectations are big for the 2013 Buckeyes. Though daunting, the schedule serves as one to get the program back to its rightful place among northern baseball's elite.
Check out the 2013 Buckeyes baseball schedule in its entirety below:
|Date||Opponent / Event||Location||Time|
|02/15/13||vs. Mercer||Sarasota, Fla.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|02/16/13||vs. Notre Dame||Sarasota, Fla.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|02/17/13||vs. St. John's||Sarasota, Fla.||11:00 a.m. ET|
|02/22/13||vs. South Dakota St.||Port Charlotte, Fla.||2:00 p.m. ET|
|02/23/13||vs. South Dakota St.||Port Charlotte, Fla.||11:00 a.m. ET|
|vs. St. Bonaventure||Port Charlotte, Fla.||2:30 p.m. ET|
|02/24/13||vs. Mount Saint Mary||Port Charlotte, Fla.||1:00 p.m. ET|
|03/01/13||vs. Connecticut||Deland, Fla.||1:00 p.m. ET|
|03/02/13||at Stetson||Deland, Fla.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|03/03/13||vs. Central Michigan||Deland, Fla.||12:00 p.m. ET|
|03/08/13||vs. Harvard||Myrtle Beach, S.C.||TBA|
|03/09/13||at Coastal Carolina||Myrtle Beach, S.C.||TBA|
|03/10/13||vs. Ball State||Myrtle Beach, S.C.||TBA|
|03/11/13||at Coastal Carolina||Myrtle Beach, S.C.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|03/12/13||at Charleston Southern||North Charleston, S.C.||2:00 p.m. ET|
|03/15/13||vs. Bryant University||Columbus, Ohio||5:05 p.m. ET|
|03/16/13||vs. Bryant University||Columbus, Ohio||3:05 p.m. ET|
|03/17/13||vs. Bryant University||Columbus, Ohio||1:05 p.m. ET|
|03/22/13||at Purdue *||West Lafayette, Ind.||3:00 p.m. ET|
|03/23/13||at Purdue *||West Lafayette, Ind.||1:00 p.m. ET|
|03/24/13||at Purdue *||West Lafayette, Ind.||1:00 p.m. ET|
|03/26/13||vs. Toledo||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|03/27/13||at Ohio||Athens, Ohio||6:00 p.m. ET|
|03/29/13||vs. Michigan State *||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|03/30/13||vs. Michigan State *||Columbus, Ohio||3:05 p.m. ET|
|03/31/13||vs. Michigan State *||Columbus, Ohio||1:05 p.m. ET|
|04/03/13||at Miami (Oh)||Oxford, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/05/13||at Minnesota *||Minneapolis, Minn.||TBA|
|04/06/13||at Minnesota *||Minneapolis, Minn.||3:05 p.m. ET|
|04/07/13||at Minnesota *||Minneapolis, Minn.||2:05 p.m. ET|
|04/09/13||vs. West Virginia||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/10/13||vs. Marshall||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/12/13||at Nebraska *||Lincoln, Neb.||7:35 p.m. ET|
|04/13/13||at Nebraska *||Lincoln, Neb.||3:05 p.m. ET|
|04/14/13||at Nebraska *||Lincoln, Neb.||2:05 p.m. ET|
|04/16/13||vs. Akron||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/17/13||at Cincinnati||Cincinnati, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/19/13||vs. Illinois *||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/20/13||vs. Illinois *||Columbus, Ohio||3:05 p.m. ET|
|04/21/13||vs. Illinois *||Columbus, Ohio||1:05 p.m. ET|
|04/26/13||vs. Penn State *||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|04/27/13||vs. Penn State *||Columbus, Ohio||3:05 p.m. ET|
|04/28/13||vs. Penn State *||Columbus, Ohio||1:05 p.m. ET|
|05/01/13||vs. Northern Kentucky||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|05/03/13||at Northwestern *||Evanston, Ill.||4:00 p.m. ET|
|05/04/13||at Northwestern *||Evanston, Ill.||3:00 p.m. ET|
|05/05/13||at Northwestern *||Evanston, Ill.||2:00 p.m. ET|
|05/07/13||vs. Georgia Tech||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|05/08/13||vs. Georgia Tech||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|05/10/13||vs. Oregon||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|05/11/13||vs. Oregon||Columbus, Ohio||3:05 p.m. ET|
|05/12/13||vs. Oregon||Columbus, Ohio||1:05 p.m. ET|
|05/14/13||vs. Louisville||Columbus, Ohio||12:05 p.m. ET|
|05/16/13||vs. Indiana *||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|05/17/13||vs. Indiana *||Columbus, Ohio||6:35 p.m. ET|
|05/18/13||vs. Indiana *||Columbus, Ohio||3:05 p.m. ET|
|Big Ten Tournament|
|05/22/13||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, Minn.||TBA|
|05/23/13||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, Minn.||TBA|
|05/24/13||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, Minn.||TBA|
|05/25/13||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, Minn.||TBA|
|05/26/13||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, Minn.||TBA|