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Baseball: Ohio State begins 2020 season this weekend

Photo by Collin Ginnan

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It has been over eight months since the Buckeyes took to the diamond.

The 2019 Big Ten Tournament champion Ohio State Buckeyes will begin the 2020 season in Florida this weekend. They have been tabbed with high expectations by Baseball America, who ranked the Buckeyes No. 24 on their preseason Top 25 list.

The Buckeyes return six starting position players, including senior first baseman Connor Pohl, fifth-year senior second baseman Matt Carpenter, sophomore shortstop Zach Dezenzo and sophomore third baseman Nick Erwin.

Junior catcher Dillon Dingler was recently named the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by Baseball America. He hit .291 with 48 hits and nine doubles a year ago.

The outfield is in a different situation compared to the infield. Ohio State lost its three core outfielders in Brady Cherry, Dominic Canzone and Ridge Winand, who combined for 166 starts last season. Names to watch in the outfield include sophomore Nolan Clegg, redshirt junior Scottie Seymour and junior Ronnie Allen.

Canzone was selected during his junior season in the eighth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Canzone hit .281 with eight home runs across two lower-levels of the minor leagues and reached short-season Single-A Hillsboro.

The Ohio State pitching staff returns plenty of experience. The starting rotation is led by redshirt sophomore left-hander Seth Lonsway, junior LHP Griffan Smith and sophomore right-handed pitcher Garrett Burhenn. Those three combined to start 49 of Ohio State’s 63 games in 2019, and they will be relied upon just as heavily in 2020.

In the bullpen are senior RHP Joe Gahm and sophomore RHPs Will Pfennig and Bayden Root. Those three combined for 120 strikeouts and just 68 walks in 112.1 innings pitched.

Former Buckeye and LHP Andrew Magno was selected during his junior season in the 10th round by the Detroit Tigers. Magno reached short-season Single-A with Detroit’s affiliate Connecticut. He struck out 19 batters in 22.0 IP where he allowed six runs.

Head coach Greg Beals returns for his 10th season as head coach of the Buckeyes. On his plate is toppling rival Michigan, who advanced to the 2019 College World Series Championship, for the best of the Big Ten Conference. Ohio State won three of the four games they played against Michigan in 2019. The rivalry will rekindle in Ann Arbor during the April 10-12 weekend.

Ohio State plays the Saint Joseph's Hawks on Feb. 14 in Port Charlotte, Florida. The Hawks finished last season with a 21-28 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference, with key wins over Seton Hall, Villanova and Dayton.

First pitch is slated for 1 p.m on Friday.

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