Bianca Briggs / Lantern photographer
The Ohio State baseball team (24-20, 8-10 Big Ten) has six Big Ten games left to make it to sixth place and qualify for the Big Ten tournament.
The Buckeyes came into the week one-and-a-half games behind Nebraska, Michigan State, Penn State and Illinois, all tied for fourth place at 8-7 in Big Ten play.
eighth place OSU matches up with the Northwestern Wildcats in a three-game series at home Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After the Northwestern series, the Buckeyes will only have a three-game road series at Indiana to reach sixth place.
OSU players said the team is in need of wins, but that Northwestern (15-26, 5-13 Big Ten) is a team OSU can get some wins against.
“We know they’re a beatable team,” said Tim Wetzel, sophomore outfielder. “We know we need to come out and win. Every game from here on out is a must-win. In our eyes we’re trying to sweep, which is no different than any other weekend, but this weekend is especially important since it’s a must-win.”
OSU coach Greg Beals said the series against the Wildcats should come down to pitching.
“I think Northwestern is going to pitch (well),” Beals said. “Their offense has not been producing a whole lot for them. They’re going to pitch the ball extremely well. I expect it to be a hard-fought, low-scoring type of weekend.”
Kirby Pellant, a junior infielder is in his first year with OSU after transferring from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona. He said it’s crucial for the Buckeyes to stay loose down the stretch.
“It’s so important to keep it loose because the games enough are stressful,” Pellant said. “Staying loose is the key to the game. If you don’t stay loose, you’re not having fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing well.”
The Buckeyes’ first game with Northwestern is Friday at 7 p.m. The starting pitcher Friday will be sophomore Jaron Long, junior Brian King will start Saturday at 6:05 p.m. and sophomore John Kuchno will round out the series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.