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Ohio State baseball weekend primer

Buckeyes set to begin season with games against Mercer, Notre Dame and St. John's in Sarasota, Florida.

Senior first baseman Brad Hallberg leads the Buckeye attack
Senior first baseman Brad Hallberg leads the Buckeye attack
Chris Webb

Buckeyes begin season in Sarasota

The Ohio State Buckeyes begin the 2013 season this weekend in Sarasota, Fla. As the Bucks take on Mercer, Notre Dame and St. John's, an upperclassmen-heavy team that features 19 returning letterwinners look to build off their 33-27 2012 campaign.

After batting .270 as a team, with 21 home runs and 86 stolen bases, Ohio State welcomes back seven positional starters. On the mound, a pitching staff that carried a 4.25 ERA returns four pitchers with at least 50.0 innings pitched a year ago and three key relievers.

Dezse receives preseason praise

Though out of action for at least the first two months of the season, due to a back injury, Dezse was named to USA Baseball's Preseason Golden Spikes Watch List. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, the Golden Spikes award goes to the top amateur player in the country.

Dezse has established himself as one of the nation's most talented two-way players. A career .318 hitter with 11 home runs, Dezse has been entrenched in the heart of Greg Beals lineup from the outset of his freshman season when he was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year. On the mound, Dezse has 4.18 ERA with 13 saves, possessing a fastball that has been recorded as fast as 100 MPH, a big arm that saw him enter the season among the top 100 college prospects for the 2013 draft.

Buckeyes on BTN

Picked to finish fourth by the Big Ten coaches, after finishing in a tie for sixth a year ago, Ohio State will look to climb up the conference ladder in Greg Beals' third year at the helm.

Four Ohio State contests will be broadcast to a national audience via the Big Ten Network, those four games are:

Sunday, April 7 at Minnesota

Sunday, April 21 vs. Illinois

Tuesday, May 7 vs. Georgia Tech

Friday, May 10 vs. Oregon

This week's opponents

Commencing the season with a 6 p.m. Friday start against Mercer, here is a look at the weekend probable as the Buckeyes battle the Black Bears, Irish and Johhnies from Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Mercer: Jr. RHP Jaron Long (6-2, 2.66 ERA in ‘12) vs. RHP Brandon Barker (5-5, 3.47)

Notre Dame: Sr. LHP Brian King (5-5, 4.45) vs. RHP Adam Norton (5-5, 4.32)

St. John's: Sr. RHP Brad Goldberg (-) vs. RHP Ryan McCormick (-)

Live stats can be found here, also follow @ChrisMWebb on Twitter for the latest.