Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

CONTACT

The Big Ten champion Buckeyes are playing their fall ‘Scarlet and Gray’ series, looking for early answers to gaping questions for the program made by the major league draft.

Columbus – It’s four and a half months until a pitch or an at bat actually counts, but those at this week’s Scarlet and Gray series, marking the wrap-up of fall baseball for the Ohio State Buckeyes, are under intense scrutiny.

The series stood at 1-1 after the Gray team staged a ninth inning rally to win 4-3 on Saturday, and coach Greg Beals was so invested that he coached third baseball for both teams. There’s a lot he needs to see, and know.

Coming off last spring’s Big Ten championship and appearance in the Louisville regional of the NCAA tournament, Beals and his staff must account for gaping holes in his lineup created by the major league draft.

Left fielder and top power man Ronnie Dawson signed with Houston.

All-American candidate Troy Montgomery signed with the Los Angeles Angels.

All-Big Ten third baseman Nick Sergakis signed with the New York Mets.

First baseman and right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic signed with the Colorado Rockies.

Number one starting pitcher, Tanner Tully, signed with the Cleveland Indians.

Reliever Mike Horejsei inked a contract with the Chicago White Sox.

In all, six key figures are gone from the mercurial Buckeyes of last spring that finished 44-20 and swept to the league tournament title by winning four games in a span of 24 hours.

Red-shirt freshman Casey Demko is a defensive upgrade in the infield.

Red-shirt freshman Casey Demko is a defensive upgrade in the infield.

And if Saturday’s game in their five-game fall series was an indication, there’s going to be intense competition for starting positions and playing time.

Notables from Saturday:

With the shift in the infield and loss of Nick Sergakis, last year’s catcher, Jalen Washington, has moved to shortstop and looked relaxed and fluid at the position.

Taking over behind the plate will be sophomore Jacob Barnwell, who had a pair of hits Saturday and featured a laser-like throwing arm.

Playing third Saturday for the Red team in place of Sergakis was sophomore Brady Cherry, who opened eyes with his early power numbers last spring, only to tail off by season’s end.

“We’re working with Brady in batting practice to fix the path of his swing,” says Beals. “But it takes some time for muscle memory to carry over from the batting cage to the actual game. When we get to that point we think he’ll be fine.”

Taking the place of graduated senior and second baseball Troy Kuhn was JUCO transfer Noah McGowan, from Houston, Texas. A body build look alike for Ronnie Dawson, McGowan stroked three hits for the Gray team Saturday and looked every bit the part of a player who could make an immediate contribution.

United Building Materials is proud to sponsor coverage of  OSU baseball on Press Pros Magazine.

United Building Materials is proud to sponsor coverage of OSU baseball on Press Pros Magazine.

In place of Troy Montgomery in center field…last year’s right fielder Tre Gantt has taken that spot and looked right at home in covering the additional acreage that comes with playing in the middle of the outfield. “No worries,” says Beals.

And in right field, converted pitcher Shea Murray is being given a look to see if he can make his own contribution in his fourth and final year as a Buckeye.

But notable freshman were making their presence felt Saturday, as well.

Arcanum native Connor Pohl got plenty of attention playing third for the Gray team. At 6’5” and 205 pounds he passes the eye test.

“He has all the physical tools,” says Beals. “He just needs to learn the game at this level.”

Freshman Mike McDodonough made an impressive debut by throwing strikes and striking our four.

Freshman Mike McDonough made an impressive debut by throwing strikes and striking our four.

Noah West (Westerville) handled the shortstop duties for the Red team, flawlessly.

Red-shirt freshman Casey Demko, from Bellbrook, made a tremendous defensive impression at second base.

Pitching-wise, Connor Curliss made a favorable impression, seeking to take the lefthanded starting spot from graduated John Havird.

Last spring’s closer, Yanni Pavlopolous pitched into the fifth as a starter, but is likely to work from the bullpen again in 2016.

Working to compete for the closer’s spot next spring, junior Seth Kinker was again impressive in three innings of work Saturday, throwing absolute zeros while striking out three.

And highlighting a day of notable freshman debuts, lefthander Mike McDonough, from Columbiana, Ohio, opened eyes by throwing strikes and challenging hitters. Working two innings, he also found that college hitters challenge back. McDonough was the losing pitcher of record, surrendering a hit and the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He struck out four.

They play again this week..Game 3 is set for 6 pm Tuesday, while the series concludes with a Friday night game, Oct. 14, at 6 pm…and Saturday, Oct. 15, at 2 pm.

Overall, since 1998 the Scarlet team leads the series, 12 – 6.

Share