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Baseball: Ohio State plays three-game home series against Georgetown

Ohio State junior starting pitcher Connor Curlis delivers a pitch against University Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Snowbird Classic on Feb. 16, 2018. Ohio State won 11-7. Credit: Courtesy of Press Pros Magazine.

The Ohio State baseball team is like an employee taking inventory on this six-game winning streak. It has checked all the boxes.

Everything has seemed to go right for the team. During the stretch, the Buckeyes have a 3.17 team ERA while averaging 7.17 runs per game. The stretch has included a win against Coastal Carolina, which has been ranked at times this season, and a sweep of a strong North Carolina, Greensboro team.

“Gives us confidence going into every weekend, knowing that everything is working for us,” junior pitcher Connor Curlis said.

Now the Buckeyes (14-6) will look to keep the momentum alive this weekend when they face the Georgetown Hoyas (5-14) Friday in a three-game series at Bill Davis Stadium.

Ohio State’s offense features five hitters batting above .300, and produced at least seven runs in five of the six victories on the recent tear. The Buckeyes’ lineup could continue to stay hot against the Hoyas, a team that has struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard, combining for a 6.36 team ERA.

Georgetown’s starting rotation features only one player with an ERA below 6.14. That’s sophomore and Friday night starter Brent Killam, who threw seven innings of one-run baseball against Princeton his last time on the mound. The Hoyas’ bullpen only contains two pitchers with more than two innings of work to that list.

Curlis, fresh off a 6.1-inning, one-earned-run performance against California State University, Northridge, takes the hill first for the Buckeyes against a Hoya offense that has hit only four home runs this season. What it lacks in power it makes up for in speed.

“They’re going to run the bases,” head coach Greg Beals said. “They’ve got some stolen bases on their mark.”

Twenty-six stolen bases on their mark to be precise, and in just 28 attempts. That 93 percent mark ranks first in the nation.

At the plate, Georgetown’s offense is headlined by freshman phenom Eddie McCabe, who bats .356 and leads the team in RBI with 15 — no other Hoya has more than nine. Senior left fielder Austin Shirley leads off the lineup as the team’s top base stealer, and gives himself plenty of opportunity to commit baserunning thievery with a .410 OBP. Shirley has seven steals through his 19 games played.

Junior Ryan Feltner, 2-0 with a 6.26 ERA, will start the second game of the series for Ohio State while redshirt senior Adam Niemeyer gets the nod for Game 3.

It’s a concerted effort to continue making strides as Big Ten play nears for the Buckeyes.

“I think we’re close,” Beals said. “There’s room for our offense to grow, there’s certainly room for our defense to grow.”  

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