Around the Oval on Wednesday, March 5th

By John Brandon on March 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

It was another exciting week Around the Oval, as the winter sports teams near post-season competition and the spring sports are entering the thick of things.

The men's hockey team faced their northern rivals and the women's hockey team began their conference tournament. Meanwhile, the wrestling and track teams prepares for the National Championships, both gymnastics teams remain nationally ranked and the lacrosse teams continue to drum up excitement.

This week, we're going to look at the baseball team's 5-game winning streak and their upcoming roadtrip to Oregon. We're also going to discuss the men's tennis team's continued success and lastly, we'll recap the B1G swimming championships and check in on the men's and women's teams as they prepare for NCAA Championship runs.

baseball Buckeyes continue winning ways

The Buckeye baseball team continued their hot stretch this past weekend - knocking off Pittsburgh and Western Kentucky before dropping a close game to East Carolina.

Against Pittsburgh, Ohio State was led by senior pitcher Greg Greve, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and recorded nine strikeouts while giving up no runs as the Buckeyes won 6-2.

"It's good to get the win to open the weekend with a win, especially over a quality ACC opponent like Pittsburgh," said Buckeye head coach Greg Beals.

The second game required a late inning rally for Ohio State to escape with a 5-4 win over Western Kentucky. The Buckeyes scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning with Jacob Bosiokovic knocking in the tying and go-ahead runs. All-American closer Trace Dempsey pitched a perfect ninth inning to preserve the win, notching his fourth save of the year.

The win over Western Kentucky was the Buckeyes fifth in a row, but the winning streak came to a halt on Sunday when Ohio State's comeback attempt came up just short. Zach Farmer took the loss against East Carolina, despite pitching a great game. Ohio State just couldn't get it done offensively.

Still, coach Beals was pleased with the weekend overall: "at the end of the day, we won the weekend and we're playing good baseball heading into next week."

Ohio State will have their hands full this weekend, as they travel to Oregon for a three game series against the No. 11 Ducks then play a single game against No. 5 Oregon State. On the road against two of the top teams in the country is a tough task, so winning even one game this weekend would be a minor victory, and anything more than that would be a huge accomplishment.

Tennis team remains perfect

The excitement surrounding the tennis team has really picked up. Ohio State returned to Columbus for their first home matches as the top-ranked team in the country, and their wasn't an empty seat in the house.

On Friday, the Buckeyes did not disappoint, handling No. 12 North Carolina 4-1. Ohio State took an early 1-0 lead when they narrowly edged Carolina in doubles. It came down to the No. 1 doubles match, in which Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka defeated Nelson Vick and Oystein Steiro in a nail-biter.

The singles matches were somewhat uneventful - as the Buckeyes easily won the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches rather quickly. Hunter Callahan, Ralf Steinbach and Metka all won their matches, while Chris Diaz dropped Ohio State's only singles match of the night. 1 and 2 singles matches did not finish due to Ohio State already having won the necessary four points. The win moves Ohio State to 8-0 vs. Top-25 opponents this season.

"We had a great crowd tonight and I thought the people that were able to come out saw a high-quality tennis match. It's a great win, but we have to get ready for an undefeated Penn State team on Sunday." - Head Coach Ty Tucker

On Sunday, Ohio State needed to come from behind to defeat undefeated and No. 34 Penn State. After losing the doubles point, the Buckeyes won 5 out of the 6 singles matches to secure the victory. The No. 2 nationally ranked doubles team of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State lost their first match of the year to Russell Bader and Leonard Stakhovsky (8-6) of Penn State.

In singles action, No. 9 Kobelt (6-2, 6-2), No. 88 Herkko Pollanen (6-1, 6-1), Steinbach (4-6, 6-4, 6-2), Metka (6-4, 6-3) and No. 72 Callahan (6-3, 6-4) all won. Chris Diaz dropped his second straight singles match to Alex Fennell (4-6, 6-2, 6-4) for the Buckeyes lone defeat. Ohio State extends its home winning streak to 183 with the victory, just one short of tying the NCAA record set by Stanford's women's team.

Up next for Ohio State is a showdown at No. 4 Oklahoma on Friday at 7. You can follow @OhioState_MTEN or myself on Twitter for live updates of this huge match. I highly encourage you to come to the Buckeyes next home match on March 21st at 6 pm. Ohio State hosts Michigan as they go for history, trying to match the NCAA record for consecutive home wins. Check in next week for updates on the exact location of the match.

Swimming teams prepare for championships

The men's swimming team wrapped up the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor this past weekend, finishing third behind Michigan and Indiana. First place finishers for the Buckeyes were Tim Phillips (100 butterfly) and the 200 relay team of Phillips, Michael DiSalle, Josh Fleagle and Matt McHugh.

At the conclusion of the event, Matt McHugh, Tim Phillips, Michael DiSalle and Josh Fleagle were named first-team All-Big Ten, while DJ MacDonald and Connor McDonald were named second team.

The Buckeyes set one school record, in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Phillips, DiSalle, Steffen Hillmer and Fleagle finished with a time of 2:51.68, good for third place.

The Buckeyes now rank as the No. 4 swimming team in the country. They travel to Atlanta for a dual meet with Georgia Tech before traveling to Texas for the NCAA Championships.

In women's action, the Lady Buckeyes hosted the "Last Chance" Meet, in which seven NCAA qualifying times were recorded. Senior Michelle Williams recorded an NCAA "B" qualifying time of 48.39 in the 100 freestyle, a school record. Freshman Taylor Vargo also broke a school record, setting a record time of 2:10.35 in the 200 breaststroke.

Annie Jongekrijg and Aliena Schmidtke also set NCAA-qualifying times in the 50 free and 100 butterfly respectively. The Lady Buckeyes return to the pool on March 20th, when they travel to Minneapolis for the NCAA Championships.

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