ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team opened its 2017 fall practice season on Friday (Sept. 8) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Bobcats are coming off of a 2017 campaign in which they finished with 31 wins -- including 11 in Mid-American Conference play, which placed Ohio fifth in the overall league standings. Under the direction of head coach Rob Smith, No. 5-seeded Ohio capped an improbable league postseason run by defeating No. 3-seeded Eastern Michigan, 7-4, to clinch the 2017 MAC Championship title on May 28 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Ohio earned its third MAC tournament title (1997, 2015, '17) with the victory. The Bobcats opened 2017 MAC Championship play by beating No. 4-seeded Ball State, 4-3, on May 24. Ohio then advanced to the winner's bracket final thanks to a late-night 5-3 win over No. 1-seeded Kent State the following day. The Bobcats eliminated the Golden Flashes with a 7-2 victory on May 27, marking the fourth time in five tries Ohio emerged victorious over MAC regular season champion Kent State in 2017. After missing the national postseason tournament 17 years in a row, Ohio punched its second NCAA Regional ticket in the last three years as the MAC's automatic bid with the victory over Eastern Michigan, advancing to the 2017 NCAA Championship Lexington Regional. The No. 4 regionally-seeded Bobcats fell to No. 1 regionally-seeded Kentucky, 6-4, on June 4, then dropped an 11-2 decision to No. 2 regionally-seeded Indiana the following day.
Smith, who enters his sixth season as the head coach of the Bobcats in 2017-18, has led Ohio to two MAC tournament titles and two NCAA Championship appearances over the the last three years. Ohio had made just two NCAA tournament appearance in the 43 seasons prior to the 2015 campaign.
Among the returners from last year's championship team are a pair of 2017 First Team All-MAC selections in redshirt senior infielder/right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) and a MAC All-Defensive Team selection in junior infielder Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.).
Here are some key dates on Ohio's 2017 fall practice schedule:
Sept. 27 -- Wren Fest
Oct. 1 -- Game vs. Otterbein
Oct. 14 -- Alumni Game/2017 MAC Championship Ring Ceremony
Oct. 21 -- Game vs. Marshall
More details regarding Ohio's fall schedule will be announced at a later date. Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com next week for an updated roster and information regarding new additions to the Bobcats' coaching staff. Ohio's 2018 schedule will also be announced at a later date.