On the heels of three straight losses this past weekend, Ohio State baseball is seeking to regain momentum.
The Buckeyes (2-4) travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to take on a Lipscomb (6-1) team riding a hot start to the season into the weekend.
“I think [it’s about] us going out and playing our brand of baseball –– Buckeye baseball –– this week, and sticking to what we can do,” sophomore infielder Zach Dezenzo said. “It’s going to be a good weekend for us to get our confidence back.”
Ohio State lost its past three games to Georgia Tech by a combined score of 29-8, but head coach Greg Beals said the next series provides an opportunity for the Buckeyes to get back on firm ground.
“I think probably the biggest thing that’s going to be most critical this weekend is that the Buckeyes go out and regain some of that believing feeling,” Beals said.
The Lipscomb lineup is led by senior leadoff hitter Haddon Adams, who has scored 11 runs in seven games. The middle of the order is driven by junior infielder Malik Williams, who has three home runs and seven RBI on the year.
“They’ve got a traditional lineup. Speed and small ball at the top, a little bit of power in the middle and back at the bottom of the order some more speed and small ball stuff,” Beals said.
Lipscomb has stolen 14 bases and has not been caught stealing. It will be a test for Ohio State junior catcher Dillon Dingler, who has thrown out both of the two runners who have attempted to run on him this year.
Defensively, Ohio State will look to clean up some of the errors made in its most recent series.
“The big thing defensively for us, it just comes down to our backbone. What we talk about is competitive toughness, not shying away from the play, but attacking the play,” Dezenzo said.
One strength for the Buckeyes thus far has been their bullpen, which was an area of question heading into 2020 following the loss of Andrew Magno, who was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round.
“Everyone is pushing each other because we know if we’re the best in the bullpen, we’re gonna be the best team, and that’s going to be the best chance for us to win,” sophomore pitcher T.J. Brock said. “Just coming together as a brotherhood has made it easier.”
The Lipscomb pitching staff has a collective 3.68 ERA. Given the Buckeyes’ low offensive output against Georgia Tech, Dezenzo said they are seeking a change in their focus to provide more run support for their pitchers this weekend.
“Our approach has been the big thing we’re hammering this week,” Dezenzo said. “The big thing for us is to just be on time for the fastball and drive the pitches we need to be hitting early in the game.”
Ohio State will open the series at 3:05 p.m. Friday, followed by a second game at 3:05 p.m. Saturday and the series finale at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.