He didn't start the year in the Ohio State rotation, in fact he was the fifth Buckeye to receive a start. But as Ohio State heads into the postseason there was no questioning left-hander Tanner Tully as the ace of the Ohio State staff. Ending the year as Ohio State's Friday starter, the freshman from Elkhart, Ind. shined on his way to being the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and receiving a spot on the all-conference second-team, the Big Ten announced Tuesday.
Joining the left-hander in receiving all-conference accolades are outfielder Ronnie Dawson, first baseman Josh Dezse, third baseman Troy Kuhn, starting pitcher Greg Greve. Dawson and Tully were unanimous selections to the all-Freshman team.
Earning Ohio State's conference-leading 11th Freshman of the Year honor, first since first baseman/right-hander pitcher Josh Dezse in 2011, Tully appeared in 15 games, the last 10 appearances starts. Tossing a team-high 86.1 innings for the Buckeyes, Tully lead the club with a 2.08 ERA, fourth in the conference. Tully emerged as one of college baseball's most proficient command artists,issuing just six walks in the regular season, one every 14.38 innings, finishing third in the nation in walks-per-nine-innings at .625. Tully pitched at least six innings in every Big Ten outing, going seven innings in all but his final start.
Like Tully, Dawson debuted with a strong rookie season. Initially a reserve outfielder, Dawson went 3-for-4 with a home run in his first collegiate game, a 7-3 loss to Indiana State in the season's third game. Since the loss to Sycamores on Feb. 15, Dawson has been a force in the top of the Ohio State lineup, appearing in all by one game since. Dawson finished the regular season leading Ohio State with .342 average. A product of Pataskala, Ohio's Licking Heights High School, the Central Ohio native led Ohio State in slugging at .464, on-base percentage at .400, and stolen bases, nine in 14 attempts, with 10 doubles a triple and four home runs. Dawson's average was the fourth-best in the conference with his on-base percentage tied for 11th and slugging percentage finishing tenth.
Sophomore Kuhn shined in 2014, giving Ohio State one of the best offensive 1-2 punch of middle infielders along with Nick Sergakis. Receiving third-team honors, Kuhn, now Ohio State's third baseman after 41 games at second base, batted .290 with a team leading 14 doubles and six home runs on his way to slugging .449 next to a .382 on-base percentage.
Youth didn't walk away with Ohio State's individual honors. A senior captain, Greve finishing his career in Columbus in grand form. Carrying a 3.36 ERA into the Big Ten Tournament, Greve was the lone Buckeye to receive a start on the bump every weekend. In 14 starts, the right-handed pitched 85.2 innings. The third-team selection walked only 18 batters, striking out 40. Greve matched Tully for the seventh-best ERA in Big Ten play at 2.47.
Dezse is named an all-conference first baseman for the second time in his career. In receiving the 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year away, Dezse was selected the Big Ten's second-team first baseman. Returning to the Ohio State lineup after missing the 2013 season due to a stress reaction in his back needing surgery and a medical redshirt, Dezse flourished in Big Ten play. In the 24-game conference slate, the junior batted .308 posting a .426 on-base clip. With seven doubles and five home runs, Dezse slugged .590.
The five all-conference selections hope to lead Ohio State through an eight-team Big Ten Tournament and receive the program's first berth to the NCAA Tournament since 2009. The Buckeyes open the tournament with a 2 p.m. contest against Nebraska.