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Young Buckeyes fight through early losses, remain determined to win

First-year Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals insists that the Buckeyes (1-2) not set specific goals as they progress through this season, though he will demand a “fighting mentality.”

“We’re too young and too inexperienced to have these expectations of, ‘We should win all our games,’ or, ‘We should do this, this and that,'” Beals said Wednesday. “We need to go out and establish ourselves as a baseball team before we start setting up what our goals are.”

Beals has emphasized an approach that he says will help build a great team.

“We have expectations about going through the process (of improving) the quality of our at-bat, the quality of our pitches,” Beals said.

Redshirt senior right fielder Brian DeLucia has already bought into his new coach’s thinking.

“For right now, our expectations aren’t very extensive in terms of where we want to be at the end of the season,” DeLucia said Wednesday. “We’re gonna take it game by game.”

With 19 underclassmen on its 33-player roster, OSU is a young team. DeLucia said the team’s youth is part of the reason for tempering predictions about wins and losses.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys on this team,” DeLucia said. “We’ve got a lot of learning experiences, a lot of obstacles to overcome.”

DeLucia also said his only expectation for the season was that he and his teammates would “fight like dogs.” Having already played their first three games, Beals’ players have proven to be resilient.

While competing in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Florida on Friday and Saturday, OSU dropped its first two games, losing, 11-5, and, 2-0, to Cincinnati and No. 20 Louisville, respectively. The Buckeyes then eked out an 8-7 win on Saturday against No. 23 St. John’s in a game that lasted 11 innings.

Beals pointed to Sunday’s win, his first as OSU’s coach, as evidence of the Buckeyes’ unwavering effort on the field.

“It’s gonna take all of us, and a great example of that was the Sunday win,” Beals said. “We had to go deep into our bullpen. It took a lot of guys, and we ended up laying down a bunt to win a ball game.”

In Beals’ eyes, the path to success is very simple.

“Anyway, anyhow, anybody,” Beals said, “we gotta get that mentality to just fight and claw to get every success we can.”

There is no set number of wins that the team is striving for, but redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Paul Geuy said the outlook is positive.

“Expectations are quite high,” Geuy said Wednesday. “It’s going to be a good year, definitely.”

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