Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.
The Ohio State men's tennis team, fuled by a decade of supremacy, hosted Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten tournament in Columbus today and coasted to a 4-0 victory over the Boilers. The top-seeded Buckeyes will face the winner of No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Northwestern in the tournament semis Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Varsity Tennis Courts.
The tournament is being played on OSU's home courts, so you can probably imagine how it will play out, but we don't want to get ahead of ourselves.
In their last regular season matchup, the Ohio State men's tennis team traveled to Ann Arbor to face their closest challengers in the conference standings, Michigan.
Much like many of their other opponents this year, the Wolverines simply couldn't match the skill and power of this Buckeye lineup. Ohio State swept the doubles again, thanks in part to Blaz Rola and Kevin Metka winning, 8-3, to finish an undefeated campaign in the third doubles slot.
It only took three singles matches to grab the victory: wins for Chris Diaz, Rola and Connor Smith ensured that the other three matches didn't finish as the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines, 4-0, to clinch the regular-season Big Ten championship.
This past weekend the Ohio State baseball team faced Big Ten opponent Illinois in Columbus, but their game on Friday didn't set the tone like they would have wanted. Nine Illini runs in the middle three innings gave the visitors an unassailable foothold, though a measly two hits from the Buckeyes also did them no favors as they dropped the opener, 9-2
The Illini looked like they would have another strong offensive output on Saturday after they opened the game with three in the first, but the Buckeyes responded with four of their own over the first three innings. Another two in the fifth gave the home team a 6-5 lead after Illinois scored two more times. A fielder's choice plated the tying run in the seventh, and the two teams combined for three hits in the final two innings to send the game into extras.
In the tenth, Trace Dempsey sent all three Illinois batters back to dugout, and the Buckeyes had the winning run on base when Greg Solomon was struck by the first pitch of the inning. Now on second after a sacrifice bunt, Solomon quickly found himself sprinting home as Brad Hallberg doubled to give the Buckeyes the walk-off win, 7-6.
For the fourth Sunday in a row the Buckeyes were in a rubber match, and like the week before they came out on top by a comfortable margin. Six runs in the second inning were highlighted by Ryan Cypret's three-run home run to left. Starter Brian King gave up three runs in 6 ⅔ to get his sixth win of the season, and the Buckeyes wrapped up the series victory with a 7-3 win.
A 25-13 overall record and a 9-6 mark in conference mean Ohio State is fifth in the Big Ten, and this weekend they have three more home games against Penn State, who occupy last place in the conference. Ohio State then has a midweek doubleheader against Northern Kentucky on Wednesday. All game will be played at Bill Davis Stadium.
In honor of Jesse
The Buckeye men's and women's track and field teams hosted the Jesse Owens Track Classic this past weekend, and both teams had some standout performers.
For the men, Billy Stanley won the javelin on the opening day, keeping his undefeated season on track. Sophomore Timothy Faust stood out on Saturday, winning both the 100 and 200m. Also finishing first were the 4x400m relay team of Korbin Smith, Champ Page, Antonio Blanks and Javon Walker, with senior Michael Hartfield also winning the long jump.
There was one win for the women on Friday with Nicole Hilton capturing the 3000m steeplechase. Like the men's team, the women's 4X400m relay proved to be better than the competition as they were victorious, as was Alexis Franklin in the 400m hurdles, Alexandria Johnson in the 100m hurdles, and Katie Borchers in the 800m.
The women's team is competing in the Drake relays in Des Moines, Iowa, through tomorrow. Meanwhile the men go to Fayetteville, Arkansas, tomorrow for the Arkansas Team Invitational before leaving for Stanford, California, to contest the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday.
State College, Pennsylvania, was the scene for the NCAA Individual Events Finals for men's gymnastics this weekend, and it was the scene of a few Buckeye triumphs.
Sophomores Danny Steiner and Jeff Treleaven both received All-American honors in their respective competitions. Steiner placed seventh in the floor exercise, with his fellow teammate Treleaven coming in tied for fifth in the vault.
But the big news of the day came from redshirt junior Michael Newburger, who claimed only the second pommel horse national championship in program history. Newburger was also an All-American last year when he placed third in the event, but this time around he found what was required to get OSU's only individual championship of the year.