Around these parts, we try to keep things pretty much to a big dose of Buckeye football and some OSU hoops. Very rarely do we venture outside those two realms, but is important as Ohio State fans to show pride and support for some of the less recognized teams during their times of success.
At 11W we try to give shout outs to the "non-revenue" sports with 'Buckshots' or Shorties (like this) from time to time, but sometimes we have to step it up a bit more when the good times are rolling. I know it's hard to put the words "good things" and Ohio State in the same sentence these days, but this weekend it was actually quite easy. Luke lightly touched on some of the bright spots coming out of Columbus in this morning's Skull Session, but if you take a minute to venture outside the football world with us this afternoon, we'll take you a little bit more in depth, where you'll see things are actually quite good in Buckeyeland for a change.
Baseball Bucks Vault INto TOurney
It's been an up and down year for the Buckeyes under first year coach Greg Beals. Beals is sure to bring some big time players into Columbus, just like he did at Ball State, but was left this season with a group of talent I would call just "solid" at best (sans Josh Dezse and Matt Streng of course). A lack of quality pitching and limited offensive firepower resulted in a reflection of the overall team talent level and lead to inconsistency that found the team at a 24-25 record and 12-11 overall in the Big Ten, hanging onto their B1G tourney hopes with just one game to play against the Gophers of Minnesota at Target Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Bucks didn't get down though, as they rallied on the last day of the season to get to the .500 mark on the year (25-25, 13-11) and catapulted themselves into fourth place in the conference with a 3-0 victory. The win was not only an extremely clutch performance both offensively and defensively, but it allowed the team to head into the league tournament this upcoming week with a little bit of momentum and a new hop in their stop.
Like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the winner of the conference baseball tournament, held in Columbus's Huntington Park, will get an automatic bid into the national NCAA College World Series tournament held in June. Ironically, the Bucks will pick up where they left off, taking on the 5th seeded Golden Gophers in the first round of the double-elimination tournament at 12:05 PM ET. If they win that game, they will then take on 1st seeded Illinois on Thursday. All games can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
If you're interested in supporting the baseball buckeyes as they try to clinch a bid to the College World Series, you can get more information on getting general admission or VIP tickets here. To see the entire Big Ten Baseball Tournament bracket, go here.
"FORE!" Watch Out For Golf Bucks Making Noise In OKlahoma
The Ohio State Buckeyes' men's golf team isn't necessarily the most well known amongst fans, but you better start paying attention. During the past week, the team has been out in California, where they earned a spot in the NCAA West Regional in Racho Santa Fe, just outside of San Diego.
The way the regionals work for golf is that the top five teams at each of the regionals advance to the NCAA Championships which will take place starting May 31 at Oklahoma State University down in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Buckeyes were up against some steep competition out west, including USC, UCLA, San Diego, Texas, SMU, Pacific, and others, and many didn't think they'd be good enough to qualify for the next round of the national championships.
Things didn't start out so good on the links for the Bucks, as they weren't even in the top 10 after the first day on the greens, but just like the baseball team, they bounced back strong when it mattered most. Michael Cress lead all Bucks with a score of 211 (-5) for the regional, while Brad Smith (+1), Bo Hoag (+2), Dan Charen (+3), and Zack Sobel (+6) all contributed to an OSU team score of 865 (+1) for the weekend, which was good enough for 4th place and a trip to Stillwater this next week.
Ohio State will certainly be underdogs down in Stillwater, but will have some help in strategizing for the course. Second year head coach, Donnie Darr, is an Ohio native, but before taking the job in Columbus prior to last season, he was an assistant at Oklahoma State from 2006-2009. Besides coaching some great players like PGA Tour star Ricky Fowler, Darr also should be able to prepare his team for the championship round, as his familiarity with the course is likely as good as anyone's.
We'll try to keep you posted as to what the end result for the Scarlet and Gray golfers are, but I'm sure like all OSU teams they can definitely use your support.
Twicer Is Nicer For OSU Women's Track Team
It was a great feat when the women's track team captured the Big Ten Championship during the indoor season. It's an even greater feat that the team was able to duplicate the accomplishment in taking the outdoor conference championship title, the first in school history.
As history showed wasn't an easy task getting the victory and it took a full team effort to finally get over the hump. The Bucks used six individual titles to clinch the gold, including wins by Christina Manning in the 100m dash and 100m hurdles, Madison McNary in the 200m, Shaniqua McGinnis in the 400m, and Kelcey McKinney in the triple jump. The team also took home the 4x100m relay, in which Manning, McNary, Chesna Sykes, and Leticia Wright competed. Overall, the Bucks finished with 135 points, 13 more than second place Penn State (it's always nice beating them).
A big congratulations goes out from the 11W staff to coach Karen Dennis and her staff, as well as to the team and individual winners from bringing home the schools first outdoor track conference championship.
Tennis Bucks Make Second Trip To Final Four
For a team that seems to always be highly ranked in the national landscape, it's somewhat surprising that the OSU tennis team had only made one trip to the semifinals of the NCAA Tennis Championship prior to this season. What isn't somewhat surprising is seeing the Bucks going on their second trip to the Final Four after beating Baylor this past weekend and improving to 34-2 on the season as the tournament's fourth seeded team.
Blaz Rola, ranked in the top five players in the nation, will lead the team into their match up against Virginia at 3PM ET today after earning the match clinching win against John Peers (4-6, 7-6, 6-3). The other key contributers to what has been a special season thus far are Matt Allare, Peter Kobelt, Balazs Novak, Chase Buchanan, Van Engelen, and Shuhei Uzawa. The win helped OSU and coach Ty Tucker improve to 29-11 all time in the NCAA Tournament.
If you happen to be in the Bay Area today and can get out of work for a while, be sure to go check out the team's match which will be held at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, California. If the Buckeyes were to upset the #1 Cavaliers, they would advance to the finals on Tuesday where they would take on the winner of #2 USC and #6 Georgia. The championship will be televised on ESPNU. You can find the full bracket here.