African markets to cross list exchange traded funds

first_img17 August 2015Discussions are under way between market participants in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya to launch the cross listing of exchange traded funds (ETFs), which will lead to improved liquidity on Africa’s exchanges.ETF issuers are working to cross list new and existing ETFs on other exchanges, while the exchanges themselves are putting in place the right frameworks to enable this.ETFs are a collection of equities, commodities or bonds bundled together in a fund to ensure that investor risks are evenly spread across this range of securities. They are only written off specific index-related securities that are listed on a stock exchange, which makes it possible to invest in a diverse range of securities through a single exchange traded product.The concept of cross listing an ETF is the same as cross listing a share, or listing it on more than one exchange. It provides domestic investors with access to opportunities from another market, in the convenient and cost effective form of an ETF.By cross listing ETFs on African exchanges, investors will be given access to liquid company shares tracked by indices such as the FTSE/JSE Top 40, the FTSE/NSE Kenya 15 Index, and the MSCI/Nigeria.Fastest growing asset class“ETFs are one of the fastest growing asset-class categories in the world. By collaborating with Africa’s largest stock exchanges, we hope to spearhead this trend in Africa,” explains Donna Oosthuyse, the director for capital markets at the JSE.The cross listing of ETFs will fulfil two main functions: investors will have exposure to a diverse range of top-performing South Africa, Nigerian and Kenyan companies in a convenient and cost-effective way; and the cross-listings of ETFs will improve the liquidity of Africa’s largest stock exchanges.Oosthuyse says that the advantages for companies included in the ETF indices, and for the exchanges from whence they come, are that ETFs need to be “fully covered”.“This means that the asset manager that is managing the ETF portfolio has to buy and sell the underlying shares on the home exchange, depending on the activity of buying and selling of the ETF.”Home market liquidityIf an ETF from Kenya or Nigeria, for instance, is listed on the JSE, she adds, then the asset manager in Kenya or Nigeria has to buy and sell the constituent shares on the home market, as units in the ETF are bought and sold. This drives liquidity in the home market.“In addition to this, it provides extra visibility on the shares on that exchange to new investors who in all likelihood don’t yet trade on that market.”Haruna Jalo-Waziri, the executive director of business development at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, says: “This collaboration underscores our commitment to providing investors with a wide range of investment products to help them realise their financial goals. ETFs are becoming attractive to many investors offering them portfolio diversification and reduced cost of investing.“We are proud once again to be collaborating with reputable exchanges in Africa to bring this new and exciting investment opportunity to bolster trade across multiple markets.”Building African Financial Markets SeminarMeanwhile, as part of an on-going effort to deepen and promote liquidity, choice of products and investor interest across African markets, the JSE and the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA), supported by the World Bank Group, will be hosting the third Building African Financial Markets Seminar from 16 to 18 September.The conference will gather key representatives from stock exchanges, regulatory bodies, stockbroking firms and other market participants from several African countries. Ideas on how to grow Africa’s capital markets will be discussed.Source: APOlast_img read more

The law (and more) of manure management and water quality

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A conversation with… Bill Knapke, Ohio Pork Council PresidentOCJ: First, could you outline some of the specifics of the recently passed Senate Bill 1 that pertain specifically to manure?Bill: There are a number of parts to the bill that pertain to manure. To summarize, a person may not surface apply manure in the Western Lake Erie Basin under the following circumstances:• On snow-covered or frozen soil;* When the top two inches of soil are saturated from precipitation; or* When the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater than a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding one-half inch in a 24-hour period, unless the manure is injected into the ground, incorporated within 24 hours of surface application, or applied onto a growing crop. As part of this law, there are exemptions based on operation size and for emergencies. For more information, please visit www.ohiopork.org. OCJ: The law clearly includes more regulations for livestock producers, so why was the livestock industry as a whole so supportive of Senate Bill 1?Bill: While I cannot speak for Ohio’s livestock industry as a whole, after the water supply situation in Toledo, new regulations were inevitable. Regardless of whether livestock producers were a significant contributor to the problem or not, becoming involved in SB1 was an opportunity to be a part of the discussion and work toward common sense stewardship solutions. Working closely with legislators, we advocated for changes that would have a positive impact on the environment and are manageable for producers. At the same time, we used this opportunity to educate legislators on modern livestock production. The end result of these discussions was a bill based upon best management practices that permitted operations have been following for years, as such we were able to support the legislation. OCJ: Complying with this law will require some livestock producers to modify their manure handling systems or add storage. What provisions are in place to accommodate those changes? Is there any type of financial assistance available?Bill: Some changes will be necessary for some farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin. To allow farmers to come into compliance, the legislation includes a provision allowing small and medium operations temporary exemptions. Small operations may apply for a two-year exemption, and medium operations may apply for a one-year exemption, through their local soil and water district office. Operations that do not apply, or qualify, for the exemption will still be able to comply with the law by injecting the manure, incorporating it within 24 hours, or applying it to a growing cover crop as the law allows. The law made no special provisions for financial assistance to come into compliance, but producers are still able to apply for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding through the NRCS if additional assistance is needed. OCJ: How does manure fit into the overall nutrient management challenge within Ohio agriculture as a whole?Bill: Livestock manure, and more specifically pig manure, is a relatively small percentage of total nutrients applied to Ohio crop ground. Yet, the entire agricultural community had an opportunity, as part of this legislation, to lead on the issue of nutrient management. Now that agriculture has taken leadership on the issue of nutrient management, we look forward to other contributors to the challenge following our lead. OCJ: Aside from the regulation requirements, what are some key practices livestock producers should consider moving forward?Bill: Manure is a vital part of many farmers’ nutrient budgets, and needs to be managed and applied responsibly. This includes following best management practices, as outlined by OSU Extension, such as regular soil testing to maximize nutrient utilization by crops. Regular soil tests should be conducted to avoid over-application. OCJ: What key messages need to be shared about the role of livestock farms in nutrient management and the broader water quality issues?Bill: Livestock farmers are a vital part of Ohio’s Ag and rural community, and the economy. For thousands of years, farmers have recognized the value of livestock manure as a resource and have continually been improving our handling and application practices to maximize its potential. Through nutrient management plans, record keeping, and training and certification programs, as are required by facilities permitted through the Ohio Department of Agriculture, livestock farmers have been leaders in caring for the environment. Continuous improvement of best management practices is key to livestock farmers in their effort to safeguard our state’s natural resources.OCJ: How do you see the regulatory framework on this issue evolving in the future?Bill: We can never be 100% sure of how regulations will evolve, as often they are subject to the issues of the day. We do know that best management practices are continually evolving, as science develops, and livestock organizations will work hard to ensure regulations also evolve based on science.  It would not be unreasonable for these same regulations to be taken statewide in the future and we encourage producers to abide by these best management practices, regardless of their location in Ohio. OCJ: Can Ohio’s water quality problems be solved by agriculture alone? Why or why not?Bill: Ohio’s water quality concerns cannot be solved by agriculture alone. While agriculture will play a role, because of the large land base, everyone will need to make changes. The research is ongoing and we have a lot to learn about water quality. Though, through these regulations, livestock agriculture has agreed to make necessary changes, we now look forward to municipalities and other point and non-point source contributors following our lead. OCJ: What is the best thing that has been done by the livestock industry in recent years to address water quality concerns?Bill: Ohio’s livestock industry continues to base management practices on proven science. In our effort to be better stewards of the land and improve our businesses, we have made strides in efficiencies that have been beneficial for water quality. The livestock industry has been at the forefront of understanding nutrient placement and nutrient movement in the soil from a water quality perspective, and has become more efficient in using feed and nutrients, as well as nutrient placement. In the pork industry alone, farmers have reduced their water usage by 41% and land use by 78%, while increasing the number of hogs by 29%. This dedication to continuous improvement has been tremendous for water quality. OCJ: What is the biggest public misperception you run into with regard to manure?Bill: There are several misconceptions farmers deal with, though some are more impactful than others. The most pressing misconception is that manure is a waste product with little to no value, and as such farmers don’t properly dispose of it. Those of us in livestock agriculture understand the value of manure and its ability to offset the costs of commercial fertilizer. As such we have been incorporating and injecting the manure directly into the soil for years because we understand the importance of keeping the nutrients in the soil.   Manure nutrients when properly applied are a more stable fertilizer for crops and water quality.last_img read more

How to Save Energy

first_imgStill stirring from the DOE Weatherization conference, I’ll review the energy-efficiency strategies that Michael Blasnik says saves money in homes. Read my first Blasnik blog about flawed computer models that gauge energy savings. The whole idea here is that computer models are a great way to track energy-efficiency measures, but a computer is not needed for determining the upgrades that will make a significant difference in energy usage. People with the right knowledge and some diagnostic equipment can do the trick.So what can make a big impact on home energy bills? Remember, as I said in my last blog, the more energy a home uses, the bigger the energy savings can be after upgrades. On average there is a 15% linear relationship when comparing energy usage before upgrades to energy savings, so don’t expect 50% savings from typical energy efficiency upgrades in a 1,000-sq.ft. home with $50 per month utility bills.So here’s what Blasnik shared:Adding insulation to uninsulated walls and partially insulated attics. Insulation works. Imagine that! Insulating uninsulated walls can save on average 0.2 therms per square foot per year. A therm is a unit of heat energy and equal to 100,000 BTUs and the product of burning about 100 cubic feet of natural gas. Therms are what the natural gas companies bill you for. The average cost per therm for natural gas in the US is $1.11. I’ll round that to one dollar for simplicity’s sake. In this case, 0.2 therms per square foot per year would yield a cost savings of around $400 per year for a 2,000-sq.-ft. home. The colder the region, the higher the savings for heating efficiency measures.Blasnik says that adding insulation to uninsulated walls is very cost effective, but energy models underestimate the effects by 50 to 70% because the R-value of the entire wall assembly is underestimated. Continuous sheathing and air film can add R-3.5 to R-5 to a wall, which makes an exponential difference in heat transfer in an uninsulated wall. The critical caveat to this strategy is the next bullet point->AIR SEALING! The rated R-value of insulation will be undermined if air infiltration is present in walls and attics. Check out Energy Star’s Thermal Bypass Checklist for places to look for energy loss. This can save 5 to 8 therms per 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM50) in reduced air leakage. What that means is that tightening up a home’s envelope by 100 units at CFM50 (measured with a blower door test) will save around $5 to $8 annually. The tighter a home, the more savings can rack up.The best way to effectively locate air leaks is with a blower door creating a pressure difference. This can be very cost effective in very leaky homes that measure more than 3,000 CFM50 of leakage. There is a critical caveat here as well. If a home is tightened up and insulation is added, there could be a ticking time bomb: moisture issues throughout the home. Indoor humidity must be controlled. Air sealing is another measure that is underestimated by 50 to 70% in energy calculations due to overstated wind effects and the fact that the particular model used to crunch this ignores thermal regain in attics and foundations.Additional measures for home envelopes in hot climates. If cooling equipment ductwork is located in an attic above the thermal envelope, then a radiant barrier applied to the roof can save 10 to 20% on cooling load annually. The take-away here is to keep the hot sun out of homes. Again, not rocket science, but measures such as shading and window film can be effective from 10 to 30%, depending on shading outside the home.HVAC. Replacing inefficient heating systems is effective in high heating load regions, and replacing inefficient cooling systems is effective in high cooling load areas. Again, the biggest users are going to be the biggest savers. For heating, the industry baseline for replacement in natural gas units is savings of 1,000 to 1,600 therms per year. Energy savings of up to 20% can be seen by replacing a unit at 75% efficiency with one that operates at 92%. Computer models project 30% lower savings than actually seen because old furnace efficiency is underestimated at 60 to 65% instead of the more realistic 75%.Air conditioner replacement is only cost effective if the home has a very high cooling load. Most cooling costs are typically below $1,000 per year even in the warmest climates. Sealing ductwork outside insulated and conditioned space could save between 6% and 20% of HVAC costs. An air conditioner tune-up could save 5 to 12% if the contractor knows what he’s doing and accurately measures the charge of the system. For cooling equipment replacement, it makes the most sense to target energy hog systems and very-high-use situations.Hot water systems. Fix leaks! Also, high-efficiency washers can save 800 kWh/35 therms per year along with 11,000 gallons of water. (Average cost per kWh in the US is $0.0125.) Again, savings will depend on usage: the more loads of laundry done, the greater the potential savings. Very-low-flow (1.5-1.75 gallons per minute) showerheads can save up to 15 therms per year per shower.Refrigerator replacement. A piece of equipment called a watt meter can measure the energy usage of a fridge. If a fridge is an energy hog, it will be obvious quickly, and replacing bad ones can save 600 to 900 kWh per year for typical older models and up to 2,000kWh per year for the most inefficient ones. Once again, measured energy savings are not accurate, more than likely due to testing issues.Lighting. Replacing incandescents with CFLs can save 15 to 50 kWh per year. These can still be a cost-effective measure even though they save 50% less than projected due to burnout, removal, and greater use by homeowners because the bulb is more efficient. Furthermore, incandescents are like little personal space heaters, adding to the home’s heating ability in the winter. This decrease in heat must be accounted for. Motion detectors for exterior safety lighting can also be a big energy saver.Phantom loads. Unplug unneeded stuff! It doesn’t help cooling to leave an air handler motor running continuously in the summer. In fact, running the fan in your HVAC system all the time in the summer could pick up hot, humid air from holes in ductwork outside the insulated space and deposit that into the conditioned areas of a home. Moving the fan switch on the thermometer to the auto setting can save 3,000 kWh per year. If you really don’t need a secondary fridge or freezer, get rid of it to save 400 to 2,000 kWh per year.These analytics from Blasnik and Associates are clearly enlightening and useful to the masses. As an ecologist, paying attention and observing reality makes a lot of sense to me, as does the LARGE size of the data sets that Blasnik used as a base for his conclusions. I heard someone say that green bling is not what’s necessary to move this market along; the main weapons in this war for a greener planet are knowledge, ability, caulk guns and cans of foam.last_img read more

Five Ways to Close the IoT Skills Gap

first_imgBusinesses around the world are dealing with an IoT skills gap. The numbers speak for themselves. According to a report by Inmarstat, 76% of companies surveyed need additional senior, strategic level staff with skills in IoT, and 80% did not even have the IoT skills required to ensure their IoT solutions work as intended. But there are ways to close the IoT skills gap.A study by CMO Council found that one-third of respondents noted their organization faced a “major skills gap” in their IoT readiness. While the skills gap in IoT increases, so does investment in the technology, which IDC predicts to reach over $1 trillion by 2020.From smart home technology to commuting challenges, the Internet of Things is set to revolutionize how we live. However, for this to happen, we need more qualified candidates that can work in this industry.The problematic IoT skills gap.The implications of what IoT can do will soon far exceed the realities of the technology. As more devices become connected and more data generated, the more possibilities open up. The skills gap will become even more apparent as development in IoT slows. While ideas surrounding IoT innovation will likely soar, practicalities of the technology will stagnate.Of course, companies expectations must also be held accountable in this case. However, the facts show that there simply are not enough trained IoT professionals for positions that are open.How to solve the IoT skills gap.Executives have to curb their expectations of the technology first and foremost. While the Internet of Things has the potential to make massive changes to daily life and there are many ideas stemming from this technology, the IT and business sides of companies must align first. From there, organizations have a few different options to close the skills gap internally.Upskilling current employees.Upskilling is a popular tactic for companies that want trusted employees to take on more senior or more technical roles. With the surge of bootcamps and online courses, businesses have the option to train already high-performing employees. IoT specialists need a wide range of skills, which is partly why it’s so hard to find these candidates. Organizations around the world are trying to help fill this need through courses in data analytics, mobile, hardware engineering, IT security, cloud computing, and more.Network with industry professionals and educators.Creating relationships with institutions that teach IoT-related skill sets means recruitment opportunities on campus. Staying in touch with educators at universities with strong STEM programs or bootcamps and even guest lecturing or offering business development opportunities builds this relationship. While this may not be a way to find seasoned IoT developers, it can help find junior candidates that can continually improve in-house. Furthermore, staying in contact with industry professionals can help spread the word when it’s time to recruit. Maintaining a credible reputation in the field might mean more qualified candidates apply to openings.Outsource.Some companies choose to completely outsource their IoT work instead of searching for candidates to come on full time. There are pros and cons to this system, namely that while it’s cheaper there is sometimes less control. Outsourcing is a good option for companies that may not need IoT work done on a continual basis or for businesses that don’t have a robust HR team that can recruit for technical positions.Hire part-time or contract employees.Businesses needing to fill IoT positions can also look to hiring part-time or contract workers. More and more employees want flexible work schedules with remote possibilities. Companies can hire part-time employees that only need to be in the office on certain days or during specific parts of a project. Offering more flexibility with the position may be a way to gain access to IoT candidates that do not want a traditional full-time job.Re-examine recruitment methods.Lastly, businesses that are finding but not securing IoT candidates should look at what is happening during the recruitment process. Maybe HR does not accurately explain the position or interviewers on the team are intimidating applicants. Or there could be different perks, such as remote work, that the company could offer to attract employees. Of course, many candidates may not accept a position because of salary, but with the changing workforce, there could be other attractive perks to offer.Pushing IoT innovation forward.The IoT has the possibility to change the world, but only if more people are trained in this technology. Companies around the world are struggling to find or train qualified individuals to continue advancing their capabilities. These five ways that help close the IoT skills gap are likely to change as more universities and bootcamps develop strategic programs for training. Until those programs emerge and candidates filter through them, businesses will have to use these strategies to fill the IoT skills gap. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Nora LearyCo-Founder Nora Leary is the co-founder of Launchway Media, a digital marketing firm that works with startups and SMEs in high-tech industries. Related Posts Follow the Puck Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Internet of Things#IoT#skills gap last_img read more

10 months agoNewcastle keen on Rennes fullback Faitout Maouassa

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Newcastle keen on Rennes fullback Faitout Maouassaby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveNewcastle United are continuing to work the French market.The Daily Mail says Newcastle have asked about taking Faitout Maouassa on loan from Rennes.The 20-year-old left-back is currently on loan at Nimes and is expected to be called up to the France U21 squad for the European Championships this summer.Newcastle have also discussed a move for Marseille forward Clinton N’Jie but face competition from Crystal Palace. The 25-year-old former Tottenham man who is available on loan with option for a permanent deal. last_img read more

10 months agoWolves defender Coady on England coach Southgate’s radar

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Wolves defender Coady on England coach Southgate’s radarby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves defender Conor Coady is on England coach Gareth Southgate’s radar.Southgate was at Molineux on Monday night to watch Wolves defeat Liverpool in the FA Cup third-round.He attended the game specifically to monitor central defender Coady, says the Daily Mail.The 25-year-old, who started his career at Anfield, has earned rave reviews for his displays in the heart of Wolves’ defence this season.His performance against his former club on Monday will have done his cause no harm at all. last_img read more

9 months agoJuventus coach Max Allegri satisfied after Coppa win over Bologna

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Juventus coach Max Allegri satisfied after Coppa win over Bolognaby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus coach Max Allegri was happy with their Coppa Italia win over Bologna.Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean struck the goals at the Stadio Dall’Ara for a 2-0 result.“I am satisfied with qualification, as it wasn’t easy to win at Bologna in our first game after the winter break,” said Allegri.“Kean is young, he needs to grow, but he did well. Leonardo Spinazzola also had a good performance after a long injury lay-off.“Bernardeschi was visibly back in shape both physically and psychologically during training. With Mandzukic out at the moment, all these players become important.” last_img read more

Hurricane Ophelias remnants batter UK Ireland 3 dead

first_imgLONDON – The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia slammed into Ireland with wind gusts of up to 80 mph (130 kph) on Monday, killing at least three people, grounding planes, shutting schools and causing widespread power outages.Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged people to stay indoors until the storm passed. Tens of thousands of homes were without power and the military was placed on standby. Some hurricane-force gusts were reported 30 years to the day after a weather event dubbed the “Great Storm of 1987” battered southern England.“It is a very dangerous storm,” Varadkar said. “The last time there was a storm this severe, 11 lives were lost,” he added, referring to Hurricane Debbie, which hit Ireland in 1961.Although Ophelia has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, Ireland’s National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather warned that the storm is still “unprecedented, with serious life-threatening conditions.”Ireland’s weather service, Met Eireann, described the storm as the most powerful on record to have ever been this far east in the Atlantic.Forecasters warned of flying debris, such as tiles blown from roofs. Large waves around coastal districts tossed sand and rocks onto coastal roads, seafronts and properties.Wind warnings were in place for Northern Ireland, parts of Wales and western parts of England. Planes were grounded at several locations in the British Isles.Some 130 flights were cancelled at Dublin Airport, while flights were also grounded at Manchester Airport. Both Ryanair and Easy Jet cancelled flights at Belfast International Airport, with more cancellations expected. Several flights to British airports were also diverted because of unusual odours on board thought to be associated with the remnants of the storm.Authorities warned anyone with travel plans to contact their airline.In parts of the United Kingdom and in France’s Brittany region, the sky turned an eerie colour as Ophelia’s winds carried a mix of sand from the Sahara and particles from forest fires in Spain and Portugal. On social media, people posted pictures of London landmarks against yellow-orange skies.A non-profit group that provides lifesaving services around the British Isles warned people to stay away from seas and beaches.Matt Crofts, lifesaving manager for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, said coastal waters are “particularly dangerous and unpredictable, with large waves and swells being a major risk.”As tempting as it is to watch crashing surf, it isn’t worth the risk of being struck by large waves that can easily knock weather watchers off their feet, Crofts said.“The sea is far more powerful than you think and your chances of survival are slim if you are dragged into the swell,” he said.And there is more to come Tuesday. Flights and ferries were cancelled in parts of Scotland, and authorities warned of coastal flooding in the southwest. The government of Ireland said schools and colleges would remain closed, and Northern Ireland’s Education Authority said the same.As the storm moved toward Northern Ireland, workers sealed off the Peace Bridge in Londonderry with tape and sandbags, closing it as a precautionary measure.last_img read more

Vancouver Island partners sign hull design contract for floating LNG project

first_imgVANCOUVER – The developer of a floating liquefied natural gas export facility proposed for Vancouver Island says it has a deal with a Korean shipbuilder for the design of two large at-shore hulls.Steelhead LNG and partner Huu-ay-aht First Nations say the agreement was signed at the Gastech Conference in Barcelona with Hyundai Heavy Industries to engineer and design the equipment for the Kwispaa LNG Project.The LNG export project, which features floating production and storage units, is proposed to be built at Sarita Bay off land owned by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, with a final investment decision scheduled for 2020 and the first 12-million-tonnes-per-year phase to be operational in 2024.Three companies have been invited to bid to engineer and construct the project’s topsides, marine facilities, pre-treatment and onshore plant facilities.The design work under both contracts is expected to start next year.The hulls are expected to cost about US$500 million to build. Each is to be 340 metres long and 60 metres wide and feature five individual tanks that provide 280,000 cubic metres of LNG storage.last_img read more

Baseball Ohio State aims for clean baseball in South Carolina

Ohio State freshman starting pitcher Seth Lonsway delivers a pitch in the first inning of Tuesday’s game in the Scarlet and Gray World Series. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Editor in ChiefAfter an up-and-down weekend against Bethune-Cookman, the Ohio State baseball team will attempt to regain the momentum from its opening weekend success. The Buckeyes (7-5) will travel to Greenville, South Carolina, to participate in the Greenville Drive First Pitch Invitational. Ohio State will take on Furman (2-8) on Friday, Michigan State (2-9) on Saturday, Western Carolina (6-5) on Sunday and Wofford (7-6) in a true road game on Tuesday. Ohio State split its four-game series in Daytona Beach, Florida, against Bethune-Cookman. Coming into this weekend, the Buckeyes hold a 3.12 ERA and a .231 batting average. Although the games on Friday and Saturday are not against teams with exceptional records, their own expectations will fuel the Buckeyes each game. “It’s more about us performing up to our ability than really playing against our opponent at this point,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said. Furman comes into the weekend struggling on the mound. Allowing 6.6 runs a game, the Paladins are coming into Friday on a five-game losing streak. Redshirt sophomore pitcher John Bertrand has the best ERA of any starter for Furman at 4.72.Despite the strong play of senior first baseman John Boswell, who boasts a .395 batting average and nine RBIs, the Paladins’ offense only produces 4.8 runs a game. On Saturday, Ohio State will play a struggling Michigan State squad. The Spartans do not have a single starter batting above .280, coming in with a team batting average of .207.Their defense has not fared any better, allowing an average of 8.18 runs a game. Despite the team’s rough start, junior pitcher Mike Mokma holds a 2.60 ERA through three starts on the mound. Western Carolina will bring a more dangerous offense against the talented pitching staff of Ohio State on Sunday. The Catamounts will come into the weekend averaging 8.72 runs a game with a .309 team batting average. The Catamounts have four starters hitting above .300. Sophomore third baseman Justice Bigbie leads the team with a .429 batting average and 16 RBIs.Western Carolina also has a fair amount of power in its lineup. The team has hit 15 home runs this season, which ranks them in the top 25 for home runs in the country. The Buckeyes have allowed an average of 6.4 walks in their losses and only three walks a game in the games they have won this year. Not playing clean baseball is something that Beals pointed to as a big reason behind the losses. “When you look at our losses, you see big innings,” Beals said. “Those big innings have all been fueled by free bases, either by walk, hit batsman or error.” Eliminating mistakes is always important, Beals said, and it will be especially important against a dangerous Western Carolina team. “They get 27 outs,” Beals said. “We can’t give them extra outs and extra opportunities.” Wofford will host the Buckeyes on Tuesday in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Terriers come into the weekend with a 3.25 ERA. Freshman starting pitcher Hayes Heinecke has burst on the scene with a 2.70 ERA and two wins in three starts for the Terriers. Wofford’s offense, which holds a .286 batting average, is led by sophomore catcher Lawson Hill, who has a .420 batting average. Sophomore outfielder Colin Davis, who bats .391, has five stolen bases this season. The Terriers rank among the best in the nation in stealing bases, swiping 29 bases in 34 attempts this season.Redshirt sophomore catcher Brent Todys will be charged with throwing out runners throughout the game, but he said the mindset does not change when going up against a more aggressive team.“Our number one focus is the batter,” Todys said. “Get him out. Get that guy out pitch by pitch. If a runner happens to go, then that’s when I deal with it.”Beals said the best way to combat solid base running is to stop them from getting on base. In order to do this, getting ahead against the batter is important. Redshirt freshman pitcher Seth Lonsway’s focus is about starting the at bats strong.“Key one is establishing a first-pitch strike on hitters and that just kind of helps the whole at bat, as far as attacking the hitter and just setting ourselves up for success,” Lonsway said. Ohio State will start off the Greenville Drive First Pitch Invitational against Furman at 6 p.m. Friday. They will follow up with a 6 p.m. Saturday game against Michigan State and a 5 p.m. Sunday matchup against Western Carolina. The Buckeyes will then travel to play Wofford at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. read more