Buckeyes goes to Ann Arbor for a three-game series against No. 25 Michigan
That opportunity was missed for Ohio state fans during the football season, but for baseball, The Rivalry is renewed at Ray Fisher Stadium this weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Buckeyes (12-7) will fight the Wolverines No. 25 (13-6) from Friday to Sunday in a big matchup between two of the three best teams in the Big Ten standings. Ohio State head coach Greg Beals summed it up perfectly after Sunday’s win over Indiana.
“The nice thing is that you’ve just swept the top team at the conference and it’s Michigan Week,” said Beals.
The US state of Ohio defeated the top team at the time in four games in the Indiana conference and scored 18 runs in four games against a pitching employee who set the lowest ERA of the Big Ten team.
The junior shortstop Zach Dezenzo provided a big boost on the offensive and went with two home runs and four RBIs on the way to the Big Ten player of the week 8:15.
As a team, the Buckeyes only hit 0.217 over the weekend, lowering the team average to the conference’s worst value of 0.226 and finishing 267th in the Division I rankings.
But they find ways to win.
“We have consistently tried throughout the program to find a way to win,” said Beals. “We play for the state of Ohio and we play for our team.”
A 17-hit performance by Redshirt junior left-hander Seth Lonsway also helps when it comes to a win. The native’s great performance in Celina, Ohio on Saturday resulted in his taking home D1Baseballs national player of the week and Big Ten Pitcher of the Week.
The Ohio state pitching team is currently the glue for the puzzle. It ranks 15th in the country with 11 spikes per nine innings and second in the Big Ten with an ERA of 3.69.
Michigan isn’t enjoying the Buckeyes’ recent success, however.
It’s about to split its miniseries, with both Northwestern and Maryland – two teams hovering around 500 – losing to the Terrapins between 5 and 7 on Sunday.
The Wolverines scored a 9-2 start in the conference thanks to a winning streak in six games from March 7-14. Since then they have been 4-4, allowing 5.5 runs per game.
Although Ohio state pitchers keep opposing thugs averaging 0.216 in 2021, fifth-year Michigan senior catcher Christian Molfetta will be tough to stop.
The Stanford transfer hits everything in sight, driving a 10-game streak sparked by a 4v4 performance against Illinois on March 20th. He’s also shown good record discipline, pulling 13 runs – equating to third best in the Big Ten.
Another bopper in the Wolverines lineup is second infielder Jimmy Obertop, who won two games against Maryland.
Obertop’s eight homers in 2021 left him behind with a long ball behind junior shortstop Benjamin Cowles from Maryland and Rutgers Redshirt on second base team Chris Brito.
The US state of Ohio has fought big home run players so far this year, so Cowles won two home runs in two games with four RBI 4-8 and Brito won two home runs in a three-game series.
Michigan’s misdemeanor is linked to the conference’s second leading casualty. The Buckeyes really struggled to line up against Indiana Sunday Bunts, which allowed a single to miscommunicate their coverage and make a throwing mistake that allowed the Hoosiers to make the bond run.
On the hill, the Wolverines are led by redshirt left-hander Steven Hajjar, who is in the top 10 on the top three pitching stats: ERA, innings pitching and strikeouts.
The Massachusetts native Andover has thrown at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less in four out of five. Hajjar has scored at least 10 goals in his last two starts.
The Buckeyes are looking to get the most out of Hajjar this weekend and Dezenzo said the team is mentally in a good place and having a lot of fun, which is a step in the right direction.
“We’re in a really good place mentally, after having had a positive weekend and going north to another really, really good team,” said Dezenzo on Saturday. “It’s just so big to end this four-game game – from the former conference number one – and it’s just so big that it will be next weekend.”
Ohio State takes the field Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and is broadcast live on BTN +. The finale on Sunday is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN 2.