Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.
Another week, another conference championship. After seeing the men's tennis team revel in their fantastic Big Ten tournament win, the Ohio State men's lacrosse team decided to get in on the act themselves, winning the ECAC Championship after beating rivals Denver.
Having already upset the No. 2 seed Loyola in the semi, attentions turned to the championship and a Pioneers team who—like Loyola—had gotten the better of the Buckeyes during the regular season. That game finished 10-9, and Saturday's final was just as tight with a halftime score of 6-6. Each team took the lead in the third quarter but again honors were even once the final period began.
Parity remained in tact until a little over four minutes were left on the clock, when professional scorer Logan Schuss scored his fortieth goal of the season to give the Buckeyes an edge that felt like a championship-winning one. Fast forward a minute and that was no longer the case. Denver's Eric Law found a way past goalie Greg Dutton to tie things up yet again. When all seemed to point to an extra session, sophomore Turner Evans combined with Jesse King to fire a shot into the net and score the winning goal with only :24 remaining.
The 11-10 victory gave the program their first ECAC title, and now they host an NCAA tournament game for the first time, against Towson on Sunday at Ohio Stadium. The game is at 3 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.
Ducks on the Diamond
Coach Greg Beals and his Buckeye baseball team rode a seven-game win streak as they made their last away trip of the season last weekend to face Northwestern. Although the Wildcats are currently in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings, their play in the first game was anything but mediocre, and they soundly dispatched the Buckeyes by a score of 8-0. Two hits were all the Buckeyes could muster, while a six-run second inning gave the hosts more than enough cushion.
Sunday's game was one of the Buckeyes' closest contests of the season. Both teams scored once in the first, and after Northwestern scored two against starter Brian King in the sixth a Jacob Bosiokovic single tied things up again in the seventh. Reliever Brett McKinney sent the Wildcats down in order in the eighth, and a half inning later a double by Aaron Gretz scored two to give Ohio State the lead. From there it was all about closer Trace Dempsey, who allowed one runner on base before securing the save and his team's 5-3 win.
Rubber matches have been almost a specialty for this Buckeye club, and the trend continued on Monday. Northwestern's two runs in the second off Jaron Long looked for a while to be a sufficient advantage. But that was before Ohio State's lineup got into their groove. Six runs in the last four innings, including four the in eighth, broke things openfor the Scarlet & Gray, helping them to a 6-2 victory and another series win.
The Buckeyes returned home for a huge two games against Georgia Tech during the week. The Yellow Jackets were sure give the Buckeyes some stiff competition, and they did just that in their terrific 9-2 victory on Tuesday.
Wednesday's game saw the Buckeyes send lefty Ryan Riga—normally a reliever—to the bump for his first career start, and the decision made huge dividends. While Riga allowed only one run in seven innings, his offense supported him with three crucial runs. In the sixth, a Ryan Cypret triple scored Brad Hallberg; an inning later Tim Wetzel singled home two more runs that would secure Ohio State's important 3-2 win.
The rest of the Buckeyes regular season games will be played in the friendly confines of their home stadium, with No. 6 Oregon coming to town this weekend for three more huge examinations for Beals and co. After the weekend the team welcome Louisville for a single game on Tuesday. That game, along with tonight's matchup with the Ducks, will be shown live on BTN.
borchers at her best
This past weekend the women's track and field team competed at the Ohio Open in Athens, with a huge amount of success. The Buckeyes had nine winners, including Alexandria Johnson in the 100m hurdles, Michelle Thomas in the 3000m, while Adenike Pedro had a personal-best time in the 200m.
There was also victory in the 3000m steeplechase by Tori Brink, the 400m by Bri Netzel, along with wins in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays by Buckeye competitors. But perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the day went to sophomore Katie Borchers. The Russia, Ohio, native broke her own school record in the 800m with a 2:06.84, bettering her old mark by .11 seconds.
This weekend sees both the men's and women's track and field team compete in the Big Ten outdoor championships. Ohio State is hosting the event at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, and the No. 23 men's team are looking to continue their great season, while the women are trying to clinch their third straight outdoor conference title.
The Buckeye softball team finished off their regular season last week with a three-game series at Illinois. Ohio State held a 4-0 lead going into the bottom half of the fourth on Friday, but six unanswered runs over the next three frames meant the hosts took the first game 6-4.
A doubleheader Sunday began with a strange Buckeye win, as they were outhit five to one but still managed to win the game 3-0 thanks to two Illinois throwing errors. Sunday afternoon featured two pitchers on the top of their game. Ohio State's Melanie Nichols and the Illini's Pepper Gay both shut out the opposition for six innings, but a RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave the home team a 1-0 victory as both squads regular seasons came to a close.
Yesterday afternoon the Buckeyes traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, to start their Big Ten tournament campaign with a first round game against Iowa. The Hawkeyes took an early 2-0 lead, and added two more later to hold a 4-1 advantage going into the fifth. From there, the Buckeyes got the offense they needed, scoring six runs to turn the game on its head. A grand slam by Shelby Pickett was the inning's biggest at-bat, and another run in the sixth ended the scoring in a 8-4 Buckeye win.
The team faces No. 1 seed Michigan this afternoon in the Big Ten quarterfinal at 3 p.m.