Around the Oval on Wednesday, March 26th

By John Brandon on March 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm

It was another busy week at Ohio State - spring practice rolls on, Q Ross (and Della Valle!) reportedly headed to the pros, Ohio State searches for its fastest student and the hockey season comes to a close. Meanwhile, a pair of Buckeye teams competed for national championships and spring sports teams roll into conference play.

This week we have updates on the red (scarlet?) hot baseball Buckeyes, the men's tennis team going for NCAA history and recaps from the wrestling and women's swimming NCAA championships.

Baseball Buckeyes Take 2 of 3 from Spartans

Ohio State had their first home game of the year on Friday, March 14th after a month long road trip. Since returning to Columbus the Buckeyes have won seven of their past eight games. After defeating Xavier 10-3 last Wednesday, Ohio State hosted Michigan State this past weekend for a three-game series to open Big Ten play.

On Friday, the Buckeyes lost a tough, 7-6 decision to the Spartans, snapping a five-game winning streak. Trailing 6-4 heading into the top of the ninth, Troy Kuhn knocked in a pair of runs to tie the game 6-6, also extending his hitting streak to nine games. In the bottom of the ninth All-American Trace Dempsey gave up a walk and a pair of singles, as Michigan State scratched out the winning run. Dempsey took the loss, falling to 1-2.

On Saturday, Ohio State responded with a comfortable 6-2 win. Starting pitcher Greg Greve gave up two runs in six innings and reliever Jake Post pitched three scoreless innings to close the game. "We received a really good pitching performance today. Outside of one swing, we pitched a shutout," said Beals. Troy Montgomery led the way offensively with a grand slam home run in the fourth inning, which stretched the Buckeye lead to 5-0.

The strong pitching continued on Sunday, as Ohio State took the rubber match 1-0. Starting pitcher Tanner Tully was phenomenal on the mound, throwing seven scoreless innings with four strikeouts. He improved to 3-0 on the season with the win, holding an ERA of 0.77.  The lone run for Ohio State came on a sacrifice fly from Tim Wetzel, scoring Connor Sabanosh.

The Buckeyes are now 15-7 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play. Their home stand continues with a game against Marshall tonight at 5 and a three-game series this weekend against Indiana.

Tennis team gets off the Schneid

After opening the season 17-0, the Buckeyes lost a pair of road games to elite national programs Oklahoma and Georgia and were bumped from the No. 1 overall ranking. This past week they returned to conference play, defeating Michigan at home (6-1) and Michigan State on the road (5-2).

The win over Michigan saw convincing wins by Chris Diaz (6-0, 6-2), No. 9 Peter Kobelt (6-3, 3-6, 6-2) and Hunter Callahan (6-1, 6-1). Kevin Metka squeaked by with a 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 win over Michigan's Justin Rossi, and Ralf Steinbach won 6-0, 4-6, 7-5. No. 120 Herkko Pollanen suffered Ohio State's lone defeat, falling 7-6, 7-5 to Michigan's Shaun Bernstein. Doubles action was highlighted by the 4th-ranked team of Kobelt and Metka defeating No. 22  Alex Buzzi/Barrett Franks of Michigan 8-6 in a thriller.

With the victory, Ohio State tied the NCAA record for consecutive home wins with 184. This Friday, the Buckeyes will go for history when they host Northwestern.

After defeating Michigan, the Buckeyes traveled to East Lansing and beat the Spartans 5-2. The win was Ohio State's 86th consecutive Big Ten win. Kobelt, Metka, Callahan and Steibach won their singles matches and the Buckeyes took two of three doubles matches.

Next up for Ohio State is the aforementioned match against Northwestern on Friday. On Sunday, the Buckeyes will look to potentially extend their home and Big Ten winning streaks when they host Illinois.

Swimmers perform well at NCAA Championships

This past weekend was the women's NCAA swimming and diving championships, and Ohio State swimmers did quite well - eight Buckeyes finished with top 30 in their events.

On the first day Alex Norris finished 18th in the 500 freestyle with a 4:41.05 and Ashley Vance finished 24th in the 200 IM with a 1:57.57.

The second day was highlighted by a 13th place finish by the 800 freestyle relay team of Alex Norris, Phoebe Cater, Aliena Schmidtke and Katy Luchansky. The team also earned honorable mention All-America honors. Alex Norris continued here strong day with a 22nd place finish in the 200 freestyle.

Ohio State wrapped up competition with a strong final day that featured four top-30 finishes for the Buckeyes. Alex Norris and Lindsey Clary finished 28th and 29th respectively in the 1650 freestyle and Michelle Williams placed 29th in the 200 breaststroke. Additionally, the 400 freestyle team of Williams, Cater, Schmidtke and Annie Jongekrijg placed 22nd.

It was a strong showing overall for the team, finishing 41st overall in the team standings. Meanwhile, it was a great conclusion to a senior Alex Norris' career, as she tallied three top-30 finishes and was a part of the All-America honorable mention 800 freestyle team.

This coming weekend, All-American Tim Phillips and 11 other Buckeye swimmers lead the 4th-ranked men's swim team to the NCAA championships in Austin, Texas.

Wrestling Bucks Bring home National Championship

Redshirt-junior Logan Stieber did something no Ohio State wrestler has ever done, becoming the first Buckeye to win three wrestling national championships. Stieber defeated No. 4 seed Devin Carter of Virginia Tech in convincing fashion, winning 10-1 to capture the 141-pound championship.

Meanwhile, Nick Heflin just missed out on his first national championship, dropping a 2-1 decision to Missouri's J'Den Cox in the championship round of the 197-pound class. Still, Heflin closes out an impressive career as a three-time All-American, a 2014 Big Ten champion and a 99-28 overall record. Heflin and Stieber join an elite group of Buckeyes, becoming two of only eight Ohio State wrestlers to be All-Americans three times.

While no other Buckeyes cracked the top-eight in their classes, Ohio State finished sixth in the overall team standings. Penn State and Minnesota finished first and second, while Iowa finished fourth. Northwestern (9), Nebraska (11), Illinois (13), Wisconsin (16), Michigan (17) and Indiana (25) all finished in the top 25 as well, giving the Big Ten a total of 10 teams in the top 25 at the championships. Of the 10 national championships, six of them were one by Big Ten wrestlers in an impressive showcase for the conference.

Looking ahead to next year, Ohio State returns six NCAA tournament qualifiers, including national champion Logan Stieber. Stieber will look to go 4-for-4 in NCAA championships and young wrestlers Nick Tavanello (RS FR), Nick Roberts (RS FR), Kenny Courts (RS SO) and Johnni DiJulius (RS SO) will hope to build on NCAA tournament appearances. It was an impressive season for the young team, and Ohio State will undoubtedly be in the thick of things for Big Ten and NCAA championships next year and for the foreseeable future.

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