Thursday, March 01, 2007

OSU BB: Tough Weekend

After the win over James Madison that I previously discussed, the Bucks were swept by Kansas St. on Saturday 5-4 & 5-2, then fell on Sunday to Seton Hall 6-5.

The bullpen let the lead slip away in each of the games. Up 4-3 going into the eighth in the first game, true freshman Josh Edgin allowed two runs to score. In the second game, a 2-2 tie was broken when Trey Fausnaugh allowed a double and two singles and Eric Best allowed a double for a three run KSU inning. On Sunday, the Buckeyes led 5-1 behind JB Shuck going into the eight, but Shuck was touched up for three runs in that inning before Theron Minium came on to get the final out. In the nith, Minium yielded a double and was relieved by Rory Meister, who got two flyouts but then yielded a single and a double to end the game.

The good news, if there is any, is that key reliever Jake Hale was left home in Columbus with an illness. He will be able to pitch some of the set up innings more effectively (at least in theory) then the freshman Best, Minium, and Edgin.

As I have said before in my season preview, there really is no point in getting worked up about the results of non-conference games, as there is no hope of an at-large NCAA bid anyway. The key is to win a regular season conference title, whether that is a springboard to an NCAA bid or not. In my opinion, success in collegiate sports has become overly defined by national tournaments and rankings rather then conference success. In the old days of OSU football, for instance, the primary goal was the Rose Bowl; going there undefeated with a crack at the national title was secondary. This is unfortunate, and it results in much more negative feelings around the program and hostility to the people that make it up, particularly coaches.

The bright spot of the weekend in my mind was the outstanding play of Tony Kennedy. Kennedy was moved up to second in the lineup on Sunday, and for good reason; he went 6-12 over the weekend. Granted they were all singles, but he also drew 5 walks, and had 2 walks in each of the last two games.

This weekend, the Buckeyes have a game each day in Clearwater. The opponents, Georgetown, Duquense, and Lehigh are a composite 2-7-1, so hopefully OSU can get a sweep and get back to .500. DeLucia, Luebke, and Shuck will get the starts, which will allow Josh Barerra to strengthen the bullpen.

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