Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.
We begin this week with more on the success of the Buckeye men's lacrosse team, a subject that our own Kyle Rowland profiled yesterday. After clinching their first ECAC title last week, spirits were high when the team hosted Towson in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Ohio Stadium.
The visitors took a quick lead, giving the Buckeyes an early indication that this game wouldn't be easy in any degree. After five minutes of scoreless play, Ohio State was finally on the board through Logan Schuss. Towson scored again four minutes later, but they seemed to lose concentration towards the end of the quarter when Ohio State scored three in just over 100 seconds.
Four more goals in the second quarter gave the Buckeyes an 8-4 halftime advantage. Any chance Towson had of keeping the game competitive seemingly left at the intermission, their weak total of two second-half goals meant Ohio State won the game by a comfortable score of 16-6.
Logan Schuss and Jesse King anchored the Buckeye offense as usual, with six and five total points respectively. The win was OSU's first in the NCAA tournament for five years. Elsewhere Cornell beat Maryland 16-6 meaning the Big Red are the Buckeyes opponents this Saturday. The quarter-final is Saturday at 12:30 all the way in College Park, Maryland, and will be on ESPN2.
The Unstoppable Force
Last week also began the NCAA tournament for the much-heralded Ohio State men's tennis team. After winning the Big Ten tournament, the Buckeyes began their journey against Cleveland State last Friday. Much like the opponents they faced in the conference tournament, Cleveland State also proved no match for the Buckeyes. Another doubles point was secured before Blaz Rola, Devin McCarthy and Constantin Christ combined to give Ohio State a 4-0 victory.
Matches against Washington and Texas A&M followed, and it was more domination from Ohio State. Smith, McCarthy and Peter Kobelt were the singles winners against the Huskies in a 4-0 win. Diaz joined Smith and Kobelt as winners against the Aggies who were defeated by the same score.
The Buckeyes now find themselves in the national quarter-finals against USC. This will be the first round where the Buckeyes face a higher-ranked team: the Trojans are the four seed while the Scarlet & Gray are the five. The match is Saturday at 5 p.m. in Urbana, Illinois. The winner will play Monday in the national semi-final.
Big Ten Decider
Rain pushed the opener of Ohio State baseball's important home series against Oregon to Saturday, but the delay didn't seem to affect either team's defensive performance. Buckeye starter Brad Goldberg and Oregon's Tommy Thorpe only gave up one run a piece, pushing the game to extras. Things were still tied in the 11th when Ducks DH Mitchell Tolman's single drove in two runs. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, Ryan Cypret had a great chance to tie or even win the game for Ohio State, but closer Jimmy Sherfy struck him out on four pitches to give Oregon the 3-1 win.
Three runs in the first three innings were all Oregon needed in the nightcap, shutting out the Buckeyes 4-0. On Sunday, a wild pitch allowed the visitors to score the game's only run, securing a 1-0 win and the series sweep.
Louisville made the trip north on Tuesday for one game at Bill Davis Stadium, and the Buckeyes' struggles continued. Early runs—three in the first and one in the second—once gain put Ohio State in a whole. The Buckeyes got on the board for the first time in 23 innings with three runs in the sixth, but that was after the Cardinals had already added to two more, leading to a 6-3 win for the visitors.
There was no time to weep for the Scarlet & Gray, because their final series of the season is this weekend at home to Indiana. One the line: a potential Big Ten title. OSU is one game behind the Hoosiers, and needs two out of three wins to clinch a share of the conference title, and a sweep to win it outright. In the opener last night, things started exactly as the Buckeyes wanted. Patrick Porter's RBI triple in the seventh broke a 1-1 tie, and the home team took game one by a score of 2-1.
Now, the Buckeyes are only one win away from a share of their first Big Ten title since 2009. The two teams are at it again this evening at 6:35, with the finale tomorrow at 4:05. Both game are at Bill Davis Stadium and will be screened on BTN.
Track and Field titles
This past weekend Ohio State hosted the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, with both the men's and women's track & field teams achieving notable success.
The men finished in sixth place, with two individual winners on the final day. First there was senior Michael Hartfield, who added victory in the triple jump to his long jump crown the day before. Freshman Billy Stanley was the other big winner, capturing the conference javelin crown. Elsewhere sophomore Timothy Faust placed second in the 200m and third 100m.
The women's team finished in an even better position of third. Friday saw senior Alexis Thomas take the hammer throw competition with considerable ease. On the final day a team of Ashlee Abraham, Aisha Cavin, Christienne Linton and Adenike Pedro won the 4x100m relay by .82 seconds. Ohio State's other champion was Alexis Franklin, whose 400m hurdle victory helped her to capture the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award this week.
With the conference championships over, both squads travel to Greensboro, North Carolina next weekend for the NCAA East Regional.