The double-elimination tournament started Wednesday night, but #1 seeded Ohio State did not play until tonight, as they received a first round bye. The Buckeye Bombers took on the #4 seeded Illinois squad, who had defeated Michigan State yesterday and they threw their first game hopes on the arm of sophomore Alex Wimmers. Wimmers was the Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Year, and the Cincinnati Moeller product came into the game with a 9-1 record and 2.58 ERA, including a no-hitter against Michigan. He has shown the ability to use three pitches effectively all season long and nothing changed tonight as he continually hit 92-94 mph with his fastball and worked in his breaking ball and changeup for strikes.
Wimmers was not all glamour tonight, even giving up a mamouth shot to Illinois' Eric Johnson, but it seemed to be the right move putting him on the hill as the Buckeyes strung some hits together, rallying from behind to snatch a 7-4 victory from the Fightin Illini. The Buckeyes will play once again tomorrow at 7:05 pm against #3 seed Indiana, who defeated #2 seed Minnesota 12-3 earlier in the afternoon.
Some other notes from the tournament so far:
- The Buckeyes' game vs. Illinois had the largest crowd out of any of the games thus far with over 4,000 fans in attendance.
- Huntington Park marks the first neutral location for the Big Ten Tournament
- Michigan State was eliminated by Purdue earlier in the day; The Boilermakers now take on the Gophers, with the winner playing the Illini.
- An O-H-I-O chant was started around the stadium in the 3rd inning.
- Buckeyes catcher Dan Burkhart was named Big Ten Player of the Year and 3B Justin Miller entered the game as the Big Ten Player of the Week for the second week in a row.
- If you haven't been out to Huntington Park, get there ASAP! It's gorgeous and located right downtown behind Nationwide Arena. Great atmosphere, a City BBQ, Rooster's, bars in the club section behind home plate and in the left field building, lawn seating, and a sprinkler fountain for kids to play in. Tickets for the game are only $10 tomorrow so come support the Buckeyes or catch a Clippers game if you can.