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Ohio State baseball’s Big Ten opener, softball’s home opener highlight this weekend’s slate of games

Plus, the Buckeye men’s lacrosse team will face Penn State in a must-win match on Saturday.

“The red-hot Buckeyes welcome Nebraska (13-12, 1-2 Big Ten) to Columbus Friday night for the first three games of Ohio State’s Big Ten conference schedule, hoping to carry over some of the momentum built up from the team’s out-of-conference success.”

-Andy Anders, The Lantern

Ohio State’s baseball team has come out swinging. (Pun intended.) They’ve started their season 17-7, but are on a hot streak having won nine of the past 10 games, and their most recent win over Toledo was a dominating 19-4 effort. The 15-run victory wasn’t exactly an outlier either, with the team averaging 10 runs per game over the past six outings.

“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball,” head coach Greg Beals said, according to Anders’ article for The Lantern. “It was critical to keep that momentum going into conference play this weekend.”

The Buckeye batters will certainly be challenged, going up against a top-ranked Nebraska pitching staff, which includes Luis Alvarado (3.24 ERA) and Matt Waldron (3.27 ERA). Ohio State does have five hitters currently batting above .310, and seven hitters with double-digit RBIs, so it might be a challenge, but the Buckeyes are up for it.

This weekend’s three-game series against Nebraska will be an important momentum builder as Ohio State heads deeper into their conference schedule.

“After having its midweek outing postponed due to weather, No. 24 Ohio State is back in action for a three-game Big Ten weekend series against Wisconsin at Buckeye Field.”

-Ohio State Athletics

There’s no place like home — especially for the Ohio State softball team, who has spent the first seven weeks of the 2018 season on the road. In fact, the Buckeyes are already halfway through their season, and claim a 19-7 record (despite being 0-3 in Big Ten play) as they get ready for the first pitch of the season at home in Columbus against the Wisconsin Badgers.

(The Buckeyes’ home opener was initially scheduled to be played earlier in the week against Kentucky, but due to inclement weather, the game was postponed and no makeup date has been announced as of now.)

Ohio State last faced Wisconsin in the semifinal round of last year’s Big Ten tournament, with the Buckeyes escaping with a 3-2 win to advance to the championship. Since then, the Badgers have started the 2018 season with a 15-11 record, and are 1-0 in conference play heading into this weekend’s three-game slate.

The Buckeyes are coming off of a three-game series with Indiana that resulted in three Ohio State losses. However, despite their current losing streak, the team is hoping to get back to their winning ways. They are still considered a top-25 team (No. 24) and are once again counting on their offense to bolster things early on against Wisconsin.

Through 26 games this season, the Buckeyes have hit 30 home runs (!), with Lilli Piper claiming 13 of those herself. Piper has already reached one milestone this season, having recorded her 100th collegiate hit against Cal State Fullerton in early March. Additionally, the Buckeye ranks in the top-10 in the NCAA among a number of categories, including home runs (No. 4), runs per game (No. 5), slugging percentage (No. 6), and total bases (No. 10).

Following this weekend’s slate of games, the Buckeyes’ next Big Ten series will come against Rutgers on the road, beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, April 6.

“As the only Big Ten team with fewer than six wins, Ohio State (5-4) begins conference play at home Saturday when it meets Penn State (6-3) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.”

-Joe Thompson, The Lantern

The Buckeye men’s lacrosse team is coming off of it’s third loss in a row, and will face a Penn State team riding a two-game win-streak heading into this weekend’s matchup. Ohio State hasn’t bounced back as well as expected after a 2017 season that featured a National Championship appearance, and the team is now just hoping to earn a spot in the Big Ten tournament.

“At this point, in terms of wins in conferences, it’s huge,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said, according to Thompson’s article for The Lantern. “I think every one of these games feels like a playoff game in the sense that you know you’re competing and positioning yourself for postseason play and making that conference tournament.”

Despite their most recent one-point loss to No. 7 Notre Dame, the Buckeyes still showed improvement over their earlier losses and were able to stay goal-for-goal with the Fighting Irish. That extra boost of confidence will surely come in handy as the team prepares to face conference opponents. After the Nittany Lions on Saturday, Ohio State still has to face No. 6 Johns Hopkins, No. 15 Michigan, No. 2 Maryland, and No. 9 Rutgers to finish out the season.

Of the 16 Big Ten teams, only four will get bids to the tournament, and with so few wins under their belt, the Buckeyes are facing an uphill battle for another deep post-season run.

“The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes continue to go through the B1G schedule, this weekend having an away doubleheader at No. 33 Minnesota and No. 50 Wisconsin.”

-Ohio State Athletics

The Buckeye men’s tennis team is on the road this weekend, and are smack-dab in the middle of Big Ten conference play. The team will face the Minnesota Gophers on Friday evening, and then on Sunday early afternoon, will square off against the Wisconsin Badgers.

With Ohio State’s most recent wins over Michigan State and Michigan, the Buckeyes are 16-2 so far on the year, including a 10-0 record at home. Their two losses of the season came on the road against No. 20 Georgia and No. 4 UCLA. Their success against top-10 teams has helped keep the team towards the top of the national rankings, sitting just a few points being the No. 1 spot, currently held by Wake Forest.

Both the Buckeyes and Gophers will be competing to stay undefeated in Big Ten play, with the winner claiming a 4-0 record among the conference.

Ohio State Athletics