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Baseball: Ohio State attempts to get things going again in Tuesday game against Youngstown State

Jake Post, redshirt senior starting pitcher, throws a pitch during the game against Campbell Camels on Mar. 4, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of OSU Athletics

Things finally seemed to be going right for the Ohio State baseball team. It had won three-straight games that included a 5-4 win against now-No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast.

Then this past weekend came rolling around. The team played a game at home for the first time all season and traveled to Cincinnati for a double-header, and lost all three games to Xavier University.

But heading into a midweek matchup against Youngstown State, the team has a chance to gain some momentum back. The Penguins sit at 2-14 on the season and have lost each of their past three games.

The Buckeyes hope to pick up some steam and find their way back into the win column before heading into their Big Ten opener against incumbent outright Big Ten regular-season champion Minnesota this weekend.

Scouting Youngstown State

It has been a season to forget so far for the Penguins. They have been held scoreless through their past two games and have struggled in nearly all facets of the game this season.

Offensively, the largest bright spot has come from the long ball. The club has 19 home runs compared to only 17 from opposing teams.

Beyond that, the team has found it difficult to outscore the opposition. The team is batting .229 and has scored only 68 runs compared with 152 from opposing teams. Only four players on the roster have more than one double and more players on the roster have double-digit strikeouts than double-digit hits. In addition, six players currently have more strikeouts than hits.

Youngstown State’s most potent threat at the plate has been junior first baseman Andrew Kendrick. The junior college transfer has produced a .255/.338/.600 slash line with six home runs and a team-leading 16 RBIs. His six home runs have already surpassed his previous career-high season home run total of four, set last year.

Pitching also has been a weak spot for the team. Two pitchers have ERAs of 0.00 (one has thrown three innings and the other has 1.1 innings of work), but everyone else on the roster has an ERA of at least 4.00 and nine of their pitchers have ERAs above 6.00. As a team, that combined ERA is 7.70.

The source of the Penguins’ ability, or lack thereof, to keep runs off the board can be traced to an issue keeping the opposition off the bases. The team has walked 81 batters in 135.2 innings (5.39 BB/9) and has surrendered 192 hits over that same innings total (opponent average of .332).

Pair of Buckeyes find power over weekend

OSU might not have come away with a win this past weekend, but the team started to see some home run production, especially in Sunday’s doubleheader.

All nine of the runs scored against Xavier University on Sunday were driven in by the home run ball. But between the six home runs hit and nine RBIs in the past two games, only one home run and one RBI came from someone besides the Buckeyes’ two middle-infielders.

Senior shortstop Jalen Washington tied a career-high with two home runs in the first of Saturday’s games, bringing his career home run total to six. His two-homer day brought his season total up to three on the season, tying a career-high single-season home run total with only 19 games played this season.

But Washington was not the only middle-infielder to find the power stroke over the weekend.

Junior second baseman Noah McGowan blasted three home runs in the second game of Sunday’s double-header, tying an OSU record for most home runs in a single game. The junior college transfer has accounted for nearly a fourth of OSU’s home run total on the season as he is already up to five on the season. His career-high single-season home run total is seven, which he set last year while playing for McLennan Community College.

The first pitch of the game against Youngstown State will be thrown out at 5:05 p.m. on Tuesday at Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus.

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