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Ohio State baseball releases a difficult 2017 schedule

Ohio State baseball released its 2017 schedule on Friday. What lies ahead for the Buckeye nine?

Ohio State baseball

The Ohio State baseball program released its schedule for the upcoming 2017 season on Friday afternoon. The Buckeyes, who won the Big Ten tournament title and secured a berth to the NCAA tournament last season, will play a slate that includes several traditional national powers and a tough host of Big Ten conference opponents.

"We have put together a schedule designed to drive our RPI ranking," head coach Greg Beals said in a release. "This is critical in positioning ourselves to once again represent The Ohio State University in the national tournament."

Ohio State will travel to Viera, Florida for Opening Day on February 17th, where it will match up with Kansas State, Delaware, and Pittsburgh. The following week, the team will be in Surprise, Arizona for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, to play two games apiece against Oregon State and Utah.

The Buckeyes will play their first 16 games on the road, as is customary, traveling to warm weather locations while the winter continues to rage in Columbus. Trips to Buies Creek, North Carolina to play Campbell, Fort Myers, Florida to play Florida Gulf Coast, and Port Charlotte, Florida to take part in the annual Snowbird Classic are also on the schedule.

Oregon State is a national powerhouse nearly every year, and a headliner of the non-conference schedule, along with trips to play UNC-Greensboro and a Texas Tech team that advanced to the College World Series this past season.

Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium will host the home opener on March 17th, as Ohio State kicks off a three-game series with in-state Xavier. That contest will kickoff a stretch of 10 of 11 games being played on home soil for the Buckeyes.

The Big Ten portion of the schedule will feature home matchups against reigning conference regular season champion Minnesota, along with Purdue, Nebraska, and Indiana, while the squad will hit the road to play Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Iowa.

The conference tournament is scheduled to take place May 24th through the 28th, though the location has not yet been determined.

Fans of the baseball Bucks can now start their start their countdown, with Opening Day 118 days away. This is an Ohio State program that experienced great success in 2016, but is transitioning after several key player departures. It will be interesting to see how Beals and the Buckeyes respond.

The full schedule is available here.