The Ohio State baseball team will return to Bill Davis Stadium, the place where the Buckeyes have won seven of nine games in 2019, after beginning its Big Ten season against Rutgers on the road.
On Wednesday, Cincinnati (10-16, 3-3 American Athletic) will take its struggling offense up against an Ohio State (16-12, 2-1 Big Ten) pitching staff that has been in a groove.
The Bearcats are coming off a series loss to Tulane at home, in which Cincinnati was outscored 33-12 throughout the three-game series.
Averaging 3.96 runs per game, the Bearcats have had trouble keeping up with opponents.
The low run average can partially be explained by the team’s low batting average. Cincinnati has hit .227 as a team, with only one player hitting above .265.
Cincinnati junior shortstop Joey Bellini leads the team with a .292 batting average. Bellini has started 17 games for the Bearcats, and is tied for sixth on the team with seven RBI.
Cincinnati does not have the power to make up for its insufficient hitting. With only 11 home runs on the season, the Bearcats struggle to tally runs in quick fashion.
The Bearcats do excel, however, in their ability to steal bases. With 48 stolen bags on the season, the Bearcats rank in the top 50 in the nation.
Cincinnati redshirt junior center fielder Jeremy Johnson and junior second baseman Jace Mercer have combined for 25 stolen bases. Mercer also leads the team with 21 walks on the year.
The Buckeyes have caught only seven of the 30 baserunners that have attempted stealing this season.
Junior pitcher Jake Vance will likely receive the start Wednesday. Vance has allowed four steals on the season, the most of any Ohio State starter.
Ohio State sophomore catcher Dillon Dingler has the arm to keep the Bearcats honest. The co-captain has thrown out 3 of 4 runners who have tried to steal on him.
After allowing 15 runs in a loss to Hawaii, Ohio State has allowed only 12 runs in the past four games. In this same stretch, the pitchers have combined to strike out 40 batters.
Cincinnati’s pitching has not been as successful, allowing 5.77 runs a game. Despite striking out more than eight batters a game, the Bearcats walk an average of 5.69 batters per contest.
Ohio State will take on Cincinnati at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.