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Ohio State baseball wins series against Minnesota, secures Big Ten Tournament berth

After a one-year hiatus, the Ohio State baseball team will make its 24th appearance in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament.

OSU rallied and won the final two games of its three-game series against Minnesota on Thursday and Saturday, clinching the series and securing a spot in the tournament after falling in game one Thursday.

The Buckeyes now have earned a tournament spot in all but one of the past 15 seasons.

The Big Ten office announced the bracket for the 2011 Big Ten Baseball Tournament on Saturday. It will run from Wednesday to Saturday at Huntington Park in Columbus.

Both the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers finished the season with a 13-11 conference record. OSU’s series win gave it the tiebreaker against Minnesota, awarding the Buckeyes the fourth seed and the Golden Gophers the fifth seed.

The Scarlet and Gray face Minnesota, the defending tournament champion, in the first round of the tournament scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Wednesday. This is the Gophers’ 27th appearance in the tournament, which is the most of any team in the conference.

Third-seeded Purdue takes on sixth-seeded Penn State in Wednesday’s second game.

Illinois and Michigan State, the Big Ten co-champions, both finished the season with a 15-9 conference record. The Illini are the top seed after winning their series against the Spartans in April. The top two seeds will face the winners of Wednesday’s games Thursday. The Scarlet and Gray took two of three games against the Spartans at home, but lost two of three games against the Illini in Champaign, Ill.

OSU lost a tough game, 3-2, to the Gophers in game one of this weekend’s series.

Buckeye pitchers recorded a 1.37 team ERA in the 2-1 series win against Minnesota. The Gophers posted a .191 batting average as Buckeyes struck out 19 of their batters. Six OSU hitters had a batting average of at least .300.

The Scarlet and Gray played better at home in conference games, finishing with an 8-4 record in Columbus. The team was 5-7 on the road.

With a 25-25 overall record, OSU likely will have to win the tournament to advance to the NCAA Regionals.

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