Mike Trout has put up an amazing couple of seasons in Major League Baseball, not just for someone as young as he is, 22, but for anyone. His 19.62 wins above replacement (WAR) over his first two full seasons ranks as the 36th best two-year stretch for any batter ever. Only nine batters have had a better stretch by the age of 25, and they’re essentially a who’s who of Hall of Famers: Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Jimmie Foxx and Willie Mays. The list of players who put up better numbers at an earlier age doesn’t have any names on it.Conventional wisdom seems to be that Trout, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is only going to get better. Much of that analysis relies explicitly on the traditional aging curve or on similar logic: MLB players and prospects typically improve rapidly through their late teens and early 20s, peaking around age 27. Trout was 21 last season, ergo, he has several years of improvement in his future.But regression to the mean dictates that the better the performance you’re looking at, the less likely it is to be duplicated. Players who put up huge numbers like Trout’s (or anywhere close) this early in their careers have a very high likelihood of having All Star- and/or Hall of Fame-quality careers. But how often do they improve on these initial breakout performances?I’ve taken all the players who put up more than 15 WAR over a two-year period at any point in their careers and broken them down by the age when they first accomplished the feat. Then I asked a simple question: Did they ever manage a better two-year period?The size of the bubbles represent how many players accomplished the “15 WAR in two years” milestone, and the y value of the bubbles show the percentage of those players who surpassed that milestone.As you can see, the odds of someone Trout’s age improving are ostensibly 100 percent, but that bubble represents a single data point: Alex Rodriguez. If you move to the much larger group of players between ages 22 and 24, the odds drop into the 50 percent range.On the other hand, some players who never managed a stronger two-year stretch still managed a strong third season immediately after their initial two-year breakout. In such cases, they may set a new two-year “peak” that overlaps the original. Thus, while never replicating their original two-year performance, they end up with a better two years on the books. This is the most likely time for a player to establish a new “peak,” because pulling it off only takes one well-timed season instead of two.Of the 75 players who achieved 15-plus WAR over two seasons, only 22 managed to replicate or exceed the feat later in their career. But an additional 15 improved their benchmark the following season. Counting these cases, the odds of a player’s two-year performance being his two-year peak drop substantially. Factoring this in and cleaning up the data a bit (I put the players in rolling 3-year age groups) gives us a result like this:For Trout’s case, there are a few other factors to consider:Cutting both ways: Trout’s numbers are higher than average in his age group. This makes it more likely that he’s a uniquely great player, but it also makes the numbers inherently less likely to be surpassed.Cutting in his favor: Trout was 21 last season, and his group covers players age 21 to 23. This gives him a slightly longer career ahead, and thus more chances to put up better seasons. Further, having pulled off such great numbers at such an early age probably increases the chances that he’s truly special. But there’s not really enough data to demonstrate this effect.Cutting against him: Trout is probably less likely to achieve a new two-year peak this year, because the strongest of the two seasons in this run was the first. Improving on his peak will require him posting better than 10.8 WAR — a feat which has happened only 22 times before, six of which were by Babe Ruth. (Also, though outside the scope of this post, it’s possible that the aging curve is no longer as favorable as it used to be).All things considered, the answer to whether Trout has peaked yet is “probably not,” though I think it’s far from being as much of a certainty as many people seem to think. Even some of the Hall of Famers mentioned above peaked early, and Trout’s start has been so strong that he could potentially do the same and still end up joining them.
Michael Jordan’s Bobcats could use the No. 1 pick.Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, the long-armed freshman that led the Wildcats to the National Championship, is the prize from tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery at 8 on ESPN before the Miami Heat take on the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference fianls.Davis not quite the prize as some of the other No. 1 projected NBA draft picks. That list includes Patrick Ewing, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and Dwight Howard.But the 6-foot-10 power forward with the wingspan of a player 7-foot-4 has more sure-fire projections than others taken No. 1 via the draft lottery, which started in 1985. That list is much longer: Danny Manning, Pervis Ellison, Kenyon Martin, Joe Smith, Michael Olowokandi, Elton Brand, Andrea Bargnani, Greg Oden and Andrew Bogut, among others.Jay Bilas, the ESPN analyst, for one told USA Today that Davis “is a sure-fire future all-star. I don’t have a lot of question marks about him. I think he’s going to continue to get better and better.”Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats had the league’s worst record this year and therefore has the best change to land the pick among the 14 teams in the lottery at 25 per cent. The Washington Wizards have a 19.9 per cent chance and New Orleans Hornets at 14.8 round out the top three. The other 11 teams are, in order of likelihood of getting the top pick are: Sacramento, Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets, Golden State, Toronto, Detroit, Minnesota, Portland, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Houston.
Regina King almost got crushed by 7 feet and 249 pounds of basketball player on Wednesday night as she took in the visiting Philadelphia 76ers’ game against the New York Knicks.The “If Beale Street Could Talk” star narrowly missed being a casualty of 76ers center Joel Embiid when he raced after a loose ball during the Feb. 13 matchup in New York’s Madison Square Garden. During the second half of the Sixers’ 126-111 win over the Knicks, Embiid bounded into the stands and avoided hitting the Oscar nominee, who put her arms over her head to protect herself. Instead, Embiid kicked and fell onto an MSG Network statistician, whom he helped up. He later apologized to the statistician.Regina King was sitting courtside Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Madison Square Garden in New York when Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid leaped over her as he tried to keep the ball in bounds during the third quarter against the New York Knicks. (Photo by James Devaney/Elsa/Getty Images)“It’s good that I saved her life, I guess, but someone else had to, like, take that,” Embiid later told ESPN. “I’m sorry about that.”He added the unplanned moment was something “I haven’t done that since my rookie season — and it just happened.”As for how King is holding up, she tweeted Wednesday thanking the Lord and the NBA star for his “athletic abilities.”“Crisis averted 🙏🏾” she added.Yoooo. Thank you God and @JoelEmbiid for your athletic abilities. Crisis averted 🙏🏾 https://t.co/LLTtzECuV4— Regina King (@ReginaKing) February 14, 2019Fans of the actress were equally as thankful that Embiid didn’t fall on top of her.“Whew! Thank God. I would hate to see you win your Oscar in a neck brace.”“@ReginaKing girl! You are a national treasure! Do we need to bubble wrap you from now on?!?”“I love that he made sure he didn’t so much as let his foot touch her. Shout out to the dude in back he landed on. He took that L on behalf of chivalry.”“🗣PROTECT REGINA AT ALL COSTS!!”“He almost knocked the Huey Freeman out of the queen!😳”
After the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped Game 1 of the NBA Finals — and lost guard Kyrie Irving to injury in the process — things looked bleak for the team going into Sunday’s Game 2 matchup with the Golden State Warriors.The undermanned Cavs were already the underdog against the Warriors (on a stage that’s especially unkind to underdogs). And they had to play on the road against an all-time great team without one of the few bright spots in an otherwise shaky supporting cast around LeBron James. Even if God doesn’t hate Cleveland, the Cavs’ chances of pulling even with Golden State seemed slim.But Cleveland ended up defying those odds. It gutted out an ugly overtime win that, after taking into account the location of the game and the long-term talent of the players involved, ranks among the most unlikely NBA Finals victories of the past 30 years:This isn’t the only way one could quantify an upset — though it is a good way to credit teams that overcame difficult talent disparities (many augmented by injury) in hostile arenas.1Take the 1990 Pistons-Blazers game listed above as an example. While Detroit was the defending NBA champion, Portland had the better regular-season statistically, was playing at home and was facing a Pistons team missing the services of legendary winner Dennis Rodman, who played just one minute in the contest. From that perspective, then, it was more than a bit unlikely that Detroit would prevail, even if it had a broad track record of success during that era. And however you define an upset, it’s important to reassess the original prediction afterward. In the case of the underdog winners on that list, all but the 2001 Sixers and 1990 Pistons had already overachieved significantly in the playoffs, before the finals even began, relative to their regular-season Simple Rating System (SRS) scores.In other words, there was already a solid sample of 15 or so games (which is actually a decent sample in the NBA) to suggest that these teams were capable of playing above the longer-term track records of their individual players. And going into the championship round, this year’s Cavs had established themselves as the sixth-biggest playoff overachievers (in terms of PPG margin relative to regular-season expectations through the conference finals) of any NBA finalist since 1985.Even better news for Cleveland is that upsets of this magnitude do seem correlated with an increased chance of winning the NBA title. Since 1985, exactly half of finals teams that pulled off wins in games that they were 30 percent likely to win or less ended up winning the series. Granted, that number is a bit tautological: Some of those victories came later in the series — when games carry more leverage — and the winner of a series’ highest-leverage games is extremely likely to win the series itself.But take into account the inherent value of stealing home-court advantage with a road win2Based on SRS data for playoff games going back to 1985, road teams that won Game 2 after losing Game 1 ended up winning the series 7.4 percentage points more often than would have been expected before the series began. and the additional information an upset provides about the respective skill levels of each team, and for once, Cleveland might actually have a “team of destiny” on its hands, odds be damned.
The Mets, who already leaned heavily on their pitchers — only the Yankees and Athletics got a higher share of their total WAR from pitchers in 2016 — are in line to become even more pitcher-reliant this offseason, as several of their fielders enter the free-agent market. Sure, ageless wonder Bartolo Colón has departed for the Atlanta Braves, but New York’s biggest free-agent questions were always going to involve position players.One of those questions was answered Monday, when Neil Walker accepted the Mets’ qualifying offer, saving New York the headache of trying to fill a hole at the keystone. But they still have to account for the possible loss of outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, who’s projected for 3.0 WAR in 2017. Given the gap in the lineup that losing his bat would leave, there’s a case to be made that the Mets should just pony up whatever it takes to re-sign Céspedes. But “whatever it takes” will probably amount to quite a bit of money in this year’s weak free-agent class, and there are other, cheaper options available: Dexter Fowler (2.3), Carlos Gómez (2.1) and Ian Desmond (1.5) stand out. Look for the Mets to go that way.Speaking of Gómez and Desmond, they’re part of what could be a mass exodus from Texas, as they join first baseman Mitch Moreland (0.8), designated hitter Carlos Beltrán (0.4), and starting pitchers Derek Holland (1.8) and Colby Lewis (1.1) in free agency. Sorting it all out is going to be a tough winter assignment for Rangers GM Jon Daniels.Signing Mike Napoli (0.9) for another Texas tour of duty or going slightly up-market for Edwin Encarnación (2.3) would go a long way toward replacing Moreland and Beltran (both of whom could, of course, come back), and it’s not unreasonable to expect either Desmond or Gómez, both of whom can play center field, to return. The bigger problem is in the rotation, where Holland and Lewis had contributed nearly 30 percent of Texas’s rotational WAR since 2010. The Rangers don’t have any obvious internal options to step into those spots, and the free-agent market looks thin aside from Rich Hill (2.9), who’ll probably get better options elsewhere. A trade may be in the offing.North of the border, the Blue Jays have just over nine wins coming off their roster, headlined by the aforementioned Encarnación, plus longtime star José Bautista (2.9), and the recently departed — also to Atlanta! — R.A. Dickey (2.0), among others. Some of Dickey’s production can be replaced with relative ease, but signing Kendrys Morales (0.9) and Cuban superstar Lourdes Gurriel Jr.4Who wasn’t projected by Fangraphs. significantly lowered the odds that either Encarnación or Bautista will return to the Blue Jays next year. Of the two, Bautista is the most likely to come back — at 36, he doesn’t have much upside left, he had a down season last year, and he is clearly comfortable in Toronto. No matter what happens, this offseason has already done much to reshape the Jays’ talented roster.Finally, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a league-high 12.5 projected wins rolling off their roster, mainly in Justin Turner (3.7), Rich Hill (2.9), Josh Reddick (2.1), and Kenley Jansen (1.5). Jansen, a lights-out reliever, will probably get the most press this offseason, but L.A.’s shake-ups in the field — which have already included trading away Howie Kendrick and Carlos Ruiz — will be the most interesting to watch.The Dodgers seem likely to retain at least one of their four big free agents, but they probably won’t keep all four. That’ll mean some tough choices: L.A. can probably survive Reddick leaving, but there aren’t many enticing options available if Turner ends up packing his bags. A trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Evan Longoria has been bandied about by the Twitter cognoscenti, but that’ll cost L.A. a haul in terms of both prospects and dollars, if the Rays’ past dealmaking habits — and complicated relationship with the current Dodgers’ front office — is any indication. The Dodgers have enough smarts, money and talent to contend for years to come; they’ll need all three to get this offseason right.There are limits to thinking about the offseason purely in terms of projected free-agent WAR, to be sure. For one thing, projection systems — even the very best — have flaws. For another, teams often have a better sense of their own departing free agents’ skill sets — and likelihood of performance decline — than anyone else, inside or outside the industry, so they may be basing their free-agency decisions on information that projection systems don’t have. And, more broadly, trying to evaluate whole offseasons through the lens of free agency alone misses the extreme impact that trades — and normal player development and growth — will have on the state of the league in 2017. But knowing how the projections treat every club’s outgoing free agents can give us a better sense of how the offseason will play out for each team, whether they spent 2016 at the top of the heap or staring up from the basement. In Major League Baseball, just about the only thing harder than getting to the top is staying there. In that respect, this year is no different than any other. Each of the four teams projected to lose the most production in free agency this winter — the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Texas Rangers and the New York Mets — were playoff teams in 2016, and each of them must now move with speed and smarts to shore up their position among baseball’s elite.To some extent, it makes sense for top free-agent talent to be clustered in top teams: While the average turnover rate for MLB rosters is somewhere around 30 percent, playoff teams tend to have — big shocker here — better players than non-playoff teams, so 30 percent of a playoff team’s roster1Even if turnover is distributed unevenly among players with different amounts of service time, as this Ben Lindbergh piece suggests it generally is. is likely to be a more capable bunch than 30 percent of, say, the Atlanta Braves’ roster.2Bartolo Colon’s recent arrival notwithstanding.Still, by combining a list of major-league free agents compiled by Spotrac with Fangraphs’ Steamer projections for each player’s wins above replacement next year,3We downloaded Fangraphs’ list of players and their projected WAR on November 12, 2016. Numbers are accurate as of that date. Some players may not appear in Fangraphs’ data set, and we excluded the 24 free agents who have not played in the big leagues in the last two years and therefore were not projected by Fangraphs’ system. it’s possible to get a rough sense of which teams will have their work cut out for them on the free-agency front. These numbers were calculated going into free agency, so they don’t reflect the first few signings of the offseason. They do, however, accurately reflect the wide range of challenges teams faced at the outset of the main period of the offseason.
OSU junior running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) stumbles while carrying the ball in a game against Michigan State on Nov. 21. OSU lost, 17-14. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorIn a somber postgame interview room after No. 3 Ohio State’s 17-14 loss to No. 9 Michigan State, a frustrated Ezekiel Elliott did not hold back his feelings after only receiving 12 carries in the upset.The junior running back put the coaching staff on blast about the play-calling and disclosed he spent time in the hospital during the week, while also announcing Saturday was his final game at Ohio Stadium before leaving for the NFL.“It’s very disappointing,” Elliott said. “In the one drive that we had where we kind of had some momentum, when we scored after the strip-sack, the plays we ran, we ran a lot of gap schemes, and we were gassing them.“You saw that on that drive, and we had a lot of momentum, and honestly, we didn’t see those plays at all for the rest of the game. Those plays weren’t called anymore. I asked for those plays to be called and they weren’t, and it hurts, it hurts a lot, because of how we lost. I feel like we weren’t put in the right opportunity to win this game, we weren’t put in the right situation to win this game.”Elliott said his battle with the coaching staff to receive more carries was an ongoing struggle throughout the game, and he blamed the mismanagement for the loss.A slow first half has not been out of the ordinary for Elliott this season, such as against Indiana, but he has typically put up flashy numbers as the game wears on. In Saturday’s contest, however, he only received two handoffs in the second half after rushing 10 times for 30 yards in the first.“It’s kind of been something we’ve seen all season, honestly,” he said. “We’ll have some momentum, we’ll have some plays that work, and then we’ll try to get away from it, try to get cute and run some other stuff.”OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game that the Spartans dominated the line of scrimmage and loaded up the box to make sure the run game was contained. Even so, Elliott thought he deserved more than his 12 carries — which is his lowest total since the season opener against Virginia Tech when he had 11 carries but 122 yards.Elliott said he was lobbying Meyer all game for more touches but to no avail.“I think I do deserve more than (12) carries,” the St. Louis native said. “I think I really do. I mean, honestly, I can’t speak for the play calling, I don’t know what was going on, I don’t know what they were seeing, but honestly it didn’t work out. It wasn’t working.”Speaking to his frustrations, Elliott said he was never able to receive an explanation for his sudden lack of usage.For Elliott, what made the evening really sting was the journey he took throughout the week to be able to step inside the lines.The junior said he was hospitalized from Monday through Wednesday after a cyst on his right leg became infected. Elliott said at one point he had a 103-degree fever and could not walk because of the pain from the infection.“I didn’t think I was going to play,” he said. “I was depressed in the hospital, crying like a baby, but things turned around, and I was able to go out and practice, no difficulty.”Elliott, who sported a black, protective pad on his right shin during the game, downplayed the infection, saying he was “100 percent.”Meyer echoed that.“He was fine,” the coach said. “He practiced Thursday. And he’s a warrior.”Meyer said the line of scrimmage was so clogged up that it hurt the ground game. Nevertheless, Elliott said he believed the offense would have churned out more than the 132 yards it did had he had an increased volume of carries.To add further insult to injury, the running back said his grandfather had flown in from Finland to watch him play, only to see his lowest rushing total since the Virginia Tech loss in 2014.“It kind of hurts that he has to see me go out like this,” Elliott said. “I just wish I was given an opportunity to do more.”By “go out,” Elliott was alluding to more than this season’s home finale. There is one more schedule game against Michigan, as well as a bowl game, but neither of those tilts will be in Ohio’s capital city. After that, Elliott’s collegiate years will be through, even with a year of eligibility remaining.“Honestly, this is my last game at the ‘Shoe,” Elliott said. “There’s no chance of me coming back next year.”Even with the usual motivation of a game against the Buckeyes’ archrival in the Wolverines, Elliott said he expects to see a side of himself and his teammates not present all season.“We’re hungry. I’m personally not going to let anyone slack off,” Elliott said. “This game means the world to us and everyone in Ohio, and we represent everyone in Ohio. We’re going to come out, and we’re going to play a hell of a ballgame, you’ll see. It’s going to look like a new team.”No matter what happens on the turf in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday, Elliott said the scars from the loss to the Spartans will be hard for him to put in the rearview mirror.“I’m disappointed,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the play calling, I’m disappointed in the situations we were put in, and I wish it all played out differently.”
Ohio State junior swimmer Lindsey Clary competes at the Big Ten championships in February, 2016. Credit: OSU AthleticsThe US Olympic Team Swimming Trials began on Sunday with hundreds of competitors attempting to earn a spot and represent team USA in Rio de Janeiro later this summer.Among those athletes were 34 members of the Ohio State men’s and women’s swimming teams looking to trade in their Scarlet and Gray suits for Red, White and Blue.Junior Lindsey Clary placed eighth in the women’s individual medley with a time of 4:42.04 and was the lone Buckeye to advance to an event final. There she took seventh place with a time of 4:42.81. The top two in each event make the Olympic team. On the second day of the trials, Clary was back at again, this time in the women’s 400 meter freestyle. She did not advance and finished 25th with a time of 4:14.04On the first day, senior Chris DePietro competed in the 400 meter individual medley. He finished 70th with a time of 4:31.81.Junior Joey Long competed in the 400 m freestyle and finished with a 3.58.89 time, 54th in the event.The Buckeyes had four representatives in the Men’s 100 meter breaststroke. Recent graduate D.J. MacDonald finished the highest of the four Buckeyes in 24th place with a time of 1:01.67. Junior Jack Barone finished 41st with a time of 1:02.58. Sophomore Frannie Brogan swam with a time of 1:03.50, good for 77th place in this trial. Junior Michael Eaton was the last of the Buckeyes with a time of 1:04.92, finishing 126th.The other female competitor for the Buckeyes, junior Katie Antal, competed in the 100 meter breaststroke. She finished in 100th place.In the first of the male trial rounds of Monday, senior Joshua Fleagle finished in 38th place with a time of 1:50.34.Five Buckeyes competed in the 100 meter breaststroke. Junior Thomas Trace finished the highest in 61st place with a time of 56.56. Next up for the Scarlet and Gray was sophomore Brad Shannon who came in 78th place with a time of 56.81. Senior Matt McHugh finished with a time of 57.38, 126th place. Junior Mark Belanger finished 131st after racing with a time of 57.49 seconds. Senior Andrew Appleby was disqualified.The Olympic Trials will continue until Sunday, July 3rd.
Jim Tressel broke the rules and is entering arguably the most embarrassing and potentially damaging chapter of his career. Many are questioning their previously unflinching support of the man known as the Senator. His players are not among them. “(Tressel) has all of our support,” former linebacker Ross Homan said after Ohio State’s Pro Day workout Friday. “I think every player — past, current, present … would take two bullets for that man and everything that he’s done for us.” In an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Christopher Cicero, a Columbus lawyer, said he sent e-mails to Tressel mentioning that Terrelle Pryor and DeVier Posey had connections to Eddie Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor in Columbus, who is under a federal drug trafficking investigation. Tressel and Cicero exchanged eight e-mails about the players’ involvement with Rife from April 2 through June 6, 2010. Cicero, a former OSU linebacker and letterman during the 1983 season, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. OSU athletic director Gene Smith declined to comment following the Buckeyes’ 68-61 win against Michigan on Saturday. Pryor and Posey, along with Dan Herron, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting, were suspended for the start of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia to, and receiving improper benefits from, Rife. Former defensive lineman Dexter Larimore said the team firmly supports Tressel. “Honestly, I think the more I talk to guys in here, they’re kind of locking arms and saying, ‘Coach Tressel is our guy,’” Larimore said. “He’s definitely still my guy, that’s for sure.” On Tuesday, OSU released the e-mail conversation between Cicero and Tressel. OSU representatives on Friday declined to confirm the names of the football players Cicero mentioned. University spokesman Jim Lynch said OSU is required by law to censor information that is specific to individual students. “The Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act requires us to redact any information that can lead to the identity of students, especially a student’s name,” Lynch said in an e-mail to The Lantern. “As caretaker of these documents, we still cannot reveal the student names in the document.” Athletic department spokeswoman Shelly Poe also declined to confirm ESPN’s report, saying in an e-mail to The Lantern, “We will not have any more comments until the NCAA makes its ruling.” OSU’s investigation of the matter resulted in Tressel being suspended for the first two games of 2011 for failing to report the possible infraction to the university after Cicero brought it to his attention. Tressel was fined $250,000 to cover the costs of OSU’s self-investigation. “It’s disappointing that Ohio State’s in that light again,” former wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. “Anytime we’re in the media over something bad happening, everybody’s affected that’s involved in the program, everybody in Columbus. But everyone’s accepting their punishments; everyone’s saying the right things and moving on from here.”
Bowling Green (14-19) proved to be too much for the Ohio State baseball team (15-16) when it defeated the Buckeyes, 5-4, Wednesday night. “It was a lack of concentration and a lack of focus,” OSU coach Greg Beals said. “I told these guys they can’t just throw their hats on the field and the Block ‘O’ is going to win the game for them.” Freshman outfielder Tim Wetzel agreed. “We didn’t really bring it tonight,” he said. “We felt we were lacking with our approach at the plate tonight, and it showed in the stats.” After two scoreless innings by both teams, a pair of wild pitches led to two runs for the Falcons in the third. Bowling Green took advantage of more sloppy OSU play in the fourth. Junior second baseman Ryan Cypret had an error on a possible inning-ending double-play grounder, and the Falcons took full advantage to extend their lead to 3-0. The Buckeyes rallied in the fourth with a pair of RBI hits from sophomore first baseman Brad Hallberg and junior left fielder David Corna to tie the score at 3-3. The Falcons struck right back in the sixth inning, hitting freshman reliever John Kuchno hard for four hits and two more runs. The Buckeyes cut Bowling Green’s lead to one after a Falcons balk but were unable to score the tying run from second in the eighth. OSU went down in order in the ninth to close out the win for the Falcons. Hitters left out in the cold The air was not the only thing that was cold at Bill Davis Stadium, as the OSU bats were silent for most of the evening. Aside from the three-run, four-hit output in the fourth, the Buckeyes managed just two hits the rest of the evening. “We did not handle our approach very well,” Beals said. “We just did not have any discipline and I don’t know what we were trying to do in the batter’s box tonight.” DeLucia takes bat to the knee Senior co-captain outfielder Brian DeLucia injured himself running out a ground ball in the eighth inning. He appeared to be running at half-speed before limping noticeably after the play. DeLucia remained in the game. “He’ll be fine; it’s just a bruise,” Beals said. “He hit his knee with the bat after the swing.” A good note Despite the loss, the baseball team was given an honorable mention as “Team of the Week” by College Baseball Insider on its website earlier this week. It was given accolades as a result of its doubleheader sweep of Akron and series win against the Spartans.
Sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa (right) hugs redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett following a game against Penn State on Oct. 25 in State College, Pa. OSU won in double-overtime, 31-24. Credit: Lantern file photoWith the Ohio State football team returning most of its starters from last season’s national championship team, many have lofty expectations for the team and the individual players.Members of the team have been named on 11 different major preseason award watch lists through Wednesday afternoon, including four players on the Maxwell Award watch list for the best offensive player in the nation.Quarterbacks Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, who are set to compete for the starting job, were put on the Maxwell Award watch list, as was junior running back Ezekiel Elliott.Miller and Barrett have combined to win the last three Big Ten Quarterback of the Year awards but are each returning from last season’s season-ending injuries. Miller injured his shoulder before the season started, while Barrett sustained an ankle injury in the final game of the regular season.Barrett was replaced for the Big Ten championship game and inaugural College Football Playoff by Jones, who threw for 742 yards in the three games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.Redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall and junior Dontre Wilson, a pair of H-backs, were each named to the Hornung Award watch list, given to the most versatile player in the country.Fellow offensive weapons Nick Vannett and Michael Thomas were named to the Mackey Award, given to the top tight end, and Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver, watch lists, respectively.Three of the five players expected to start on the offensive line were named to watch lists, as well. Senior Jacoby Boren was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list, awarded to the top center in the nation, while senior Taylor Decker and junior Pat Elflein were added to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to the top interior lineman.Senior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington also represented OSU on the Outland Trophy watch list.Bosa, Decker, Elflein, Washington and sophomore linebacker Darron Lee were listed on the Lombardi Award watch list, presented to the top down lineman. The award can go to an offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker.The top defensive honor, the Bednarik Award, also saw two OSU players on its watch list. Junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa and senior linebacker Joshua Perry were named to the Bednarik Award list.Junior safety Vonn Bell, who pulled in six interceptions last season, was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, given to the top defensive back.Finally, the OSU special teams were represented on the Ray Guy Award watch list, honoring the nation’s top punter, which included junior Cameron Johnston.OSU was shut out of the award recipients last season, but it did boast three players on the AP All-American team: Bosa as a unanimous first-team selection and Barrett and defensive lineman Michael Bennett, now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, on the third team. Correction: An earlier version of the story said the Biletnikoff Award is given to the top wide receiver in the nation, when it is in fact awarded to the top receiver regardless of position.