After last weekend’s undefeated start, the Ohio State baseball team (3-0-1) is now turning its attention to the Coastal Carolina Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. OSU is set to play four games from Friday to Monday, facing off against Duke (3-1), Coastal Carolina (2-1) and Liberty (2-2).
The Buckeyes are hoping to carry over the momentum from last weekend’s offensive explosion, which included three players batting over .400.
One of those Buckeyes was redshirt junior right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic, who hit .412 with three home runs and eight RBIs. The Delaware, Ohio, native’s performance was good enough to win two awards: Big Ten Player of the Week and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week.
Bosiokovic said it was huge for the Buckeyes to come out and perform at such a high level to start the season, and winning the two awards was a nice feather in his cap. But the 6-foot-5 outfielder said he can’t focus on the past.
“It was cool to have that happen, but really, it’s over now, and really what I’m focused on is translating that to the next weekend,” Bosiokovic said. “You just got to keep moving forward.”
OSU coach Greg Beals said he expects the four games to be a big test for his team.
“This weekend coming up is going to be a good weekend,” Beals said. “The competition level is going to go up a little bit. It’s going to be a very good challenge for us.”
Continuing the hot start
Being able to continue the momentum the Buckeyes built up last weekend will be something the team will try to do this weekend in Myrtle Beach, Beals said. Winning two games last Saturday over the course of 12 hours of baseball was a big confidence builder for the team.
“What that does more than anything is that just solidifies that idea of belief that we can win games,” Beals said. “We were behind in both games, came back and found ways to win late. So what I told the guys is there is no reason to ever not believe, because we just proved it to ourselves.”
OSU leads the Big Ten thus far in home runs, with six. The Scarlet and Gray’s 38 hits tied them with Minnesota for third place. Replicating that red-hot start offensively will be key for the Buckeyes if they want to preserve their undefeated record. This is especially true against Liberty, which averages just under six runs per game.
To do so, Bosiokovic said OSU is preserving its mentality from last weekend, which was just taking everything one pitch at a time.
“It’s going to be really important, as we’ve got some really good teams this weekend and a lot of good pitching this weekend,” Bosiokovic said. “It’s just important that we’re focusing on the moment, and each pitch and each at-bat. Just stay in the moment and really focus on that.”
Last weekend, only one OSU starting pitcher picked up a win for the Scarlet and Gray: Tanner Tully. The junior lefty from Elkhart, Indiana, threw six scoreless innings in the season-opening game against Toledo, striking out three batters and allowing six hits.
To adjust to the opposing hitters, Beals made a switch in the rotation, putting redshirt sophomore right-hander Adam Niemeyer against Duke’s ace, Bailey Clark.
“We’re going to see frontline national-caliber pitching this weekend,” Beals said. “It’ll be a great test. I’m billing it as a preseason regional.”
Clark pitched 5.1 innings in his season debut for the Blue Devils, allowing two earned runs with five strikeouts.
Niemeyer had a rough outing in his first start of the year. He was pulled after 4.1 innings of work, leaving him with an ERA of 6.23.
Beals said he remains very confident in Niemeyer, and he expects the righty from Minster, Ohio, to bounce back with a solid start.
“I’m not worried about Adam Niemeyer,” Beals said.
Another Buckeye who got off to a hot start was senior third baseman and co-captain Nick Sergakis. The Columbus native hit .412 during the Historic Dodgertown Classic.
This weekend he will be facing a familiar team in Coastal Carolina. Sergakis was on the roster for Coastal Carolina for his freshman season, but he didn’t play much, prompting him to transfer back home to Columbus to suit up for the Buckeyes.
“I used to be very, very vindictive over the whole situation that happened at Coastal, but over the years I’ve grown, I’ve matured and I realized it happened for the right reasons,” he said. “And it brought me back here, which is more than anything I could ask for. To play for Ohio State was always a dream, and it was really the right thing for me and the right thing for my family.”
Sergakis said he doesn’t feel any animosity toward Coastal Carolina and is looking at the upcoming matchup as just another game.
The Buckeyes are lined up to play Games 2 and 4 against the Chanticleers. The first is set for Saturday at 2 p.m., while the second one is slated for 4 p.m. two days later.
“I’ll be honest, it’ll be nice to go and take two from those guys,” Sergakis said.
The other two contests, against Duke on Friday and Liberty on Sunday, are each scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.