Ryan Robey / For The Lantern
After losing, 5-3, Wednesday at Cincinnati, the Ohio State baseball team is looking to get back on track against Illinois this weekend.
Last weekend’s Big Ten series was a success for the Buckeyes as they took two of three from Nebraska on the road.
OSU coach Greg Beals said he feels the team is poised and hungry for more when it comes to Big Ten play.
“Winning a big road series like it was, the team is still feeling good about things,” Beals said. “Nebraska was ahead of us, and winning that road series was big for us because our next two Big Ten series are home with Illinois this weekend and Penn State next week.”
OSU is 23-12 on the season and 7-5 in Big Ten Play.
Despite the loss to Cincinnati and Tuesday’s game against Akron rained out, redshirt senior first baseman Brad Hallberg believes the Buckeyes can take the series.
“We are definitely still confident,” Hallberg said. “I don’t think there’s too much of an effect from the rain out. We just need to come to the ballpark ready to play.”
The Fighting Illini will not be an easy matchup for the Buckeyes. They are 23-10 overall and 5-4 in conference matchups. The Illini’s win against Illinois State, 12-1, on the road Tuesday night capped off a four-game winning streak that began with the sweeping of Purdue with 40 runs during last weekend’s series.
Illinois senior centerfielder Justin Parr has been performing well at the plate this season, batting .440 with 36 RBI and four home runs. Parr has a slugging percentage of .638 with a 1.00 fielding percentage, and has played in all 33 games this season. Another key Illini is senior right-hander Kevin Johnson, who is 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched.
Home field advantage will be important for OSU this weekend, as they are 7-3 at home.
Senior left-hander Brian King said the best thing to do is take the series one game at a time.
“We’re just going to go out there and play as hard as we can,” King said. “We just need to try to get as many wins as we can and take it one game at a time.”
OSU is set to take the field against Illinois at 6:35 p.m. Friday at Bill Davis Stadium to start the weekend home series.