Ohio State starts a three game series at home against the Nittany Lions of Penn State tonight. The Buckeyes (19-14, 2-7) have had a rough time within the Big Ten this season with only 2 wins. Penn State (16-14, 4-1) comes in to the series with a solid record of 4-1 against the Big Ten. The Buckeyes need to take at least two of three from the Nittany Lions to climb back into contention in the Big Ten.
Game 1: Friday April 11, 2014 at 6:35pm
Game 1 of this three game series pits OSU’s Tanner Tully (3-1, 1.91 ERA) against Penn State’s Tim Dunn (1-0, 0.47). Tanner Tully has been solid this season, both out of the bullpen and starting on the mound. Tully’s last outing was a start against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a game where he went 7 1/3 innings and struck out six but received a no decision in the Buckeye’s 4-3 loss. Tully will face a lineup lacking any real power hitters, but Penn State does have a lot of guys that can hit for average and bat in runs. Tully will need to make sure he keeps his strikeouts up and doesn’t let too many runners on base. The Buckeye offense will have a tough time against Tim Dunn, normally a reliever but making a rare start tonight. Dunn hasn’t had a lot of innings of work only having seen 19 coming into the game tonight, but he has been dominant in those innings. Dunn has only allowed 9 hits and 1 earned run in his 9 total appearances and batters are only hitting .138 against him. If the Buckeyes hope to start strong in this series they will have to crack Tim Dunn. Behind guys like Ronnie Dawson and Troy Kuhn, the Buckeyes are more then capable of getting it going offensively but they have to strike early.
Game 2: Saturday April 12, 2014 at 4:05pm
Game 2 of the series pits the Buckeye’s Greg Greve (3-2, 4.53) against the Nittany Lion’s T.J. Jann (1-4, 3.67). Greve has had a very inconsistent year and he needs to start playing better if the Buckeyes hope to climb out of the Big Ten cellar. Greve has given up the most homers out of any Buckeye pitcher but against a Penn State team that doesn’t hurt you with power, he should be able to have some success. T.J. Jann has been far from stellar for the Nittany Lions, and that should be good for the Buckeye batters who may need to put runs on the board to stay in the game, if Greve is struggling. Jann has only recorded 1 win in his 8 starts, a number indicative of the pitcher’s struggles this year. The Buckeyes must take advantage of a favorable pitching matchup.
Game 3: Sunday April 13, 2014 at 1:05pm
Game 3 of the set pits Penn State’s Nick Hedge (2-3, 5.95) against a currently unannounced starter for Ohio State. Regardless of who the Buckeyes put on the mound for the start, this is a favorable pitching match up for the scarlet and grey. Hedge has had a tough time this season with keeping runners off the bases, and keeping runs off the scoreboard. This will be the perfect chance for the Buckeyes to snag a win against a shaky pitcher. As long as Ohio State is getting production from their key bats like Dawson and Kuhn, then this should be the most likely win of the series. The Buckeyes will likely start Jake Post (2-2, 2.83) which would give them an even better shot to end the series with a W. I expect the Buckeyes to win the series 2-1 and help boost their spot in the Big Ten standings.
For the Buckeye’s upcoming schedule click here.