Box Score (PDF)
TOLEDO, Ohio -- Junior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) added to his home run total, but the Ohio baseball team (15-13, 4-4 MAC) could not protect a late lead and suffered a tough 3-2 setback to host Toledo (8-18, 4-4 MAC) in a Saturday (April 7) Mid-American Conference matchup at Scott Park.
The Rockets evened the weekend series a day after the Bobcats bashed their way to a 15-4 triumph in the Friday (April 6) series opener.
For the second game in a row, Ohio landed the game's first punch in the top of the first inning. Redshirt senior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) drew a one-out walk to set the table for Rott to smack his team-high sixth home run of the season -- this one a two-run shot over the wall in right center.
Toledo responded with a run in the home half of the first. Senior left fielder Brad Boss led off with a single, moved to second on a balk and advanced to third on a base hit back up the middle by freshman right fielder John Servello. One out later, freshman third baseman Trace Hatfield served up a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Boss to tag up and score.
The contest turned into a pitching duel from there. Sophomore left-handed starting pitcher Derek Carr (Newark, Ohio) threw the first 3.1 innings, striking out three while permitting one earned run on two hits and three walks. He worked his way out of a jam in the second, giving up back-to-back two-out walks by redshirt senior catcher Corey Tipton and senior second baseman Casey Gose but bailing himself out by striking out Boss to end the inning. Carr then proceeded to retire the side in the third.
Redshirt senior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) then entered the game in with two on and one out in the fourth and pitched the Bobcats out of danger, getting Tipton to pop up to short and Gose to fly out to center to keep the Rockets off of the scoreboard. Blessing tossed 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just two hits and a walk. After allowing a two-out walk by Servello in the seventh, he gave way to redshirt senior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.), who got junior center fielder Ross Adolph to fly out to center to end the inning.
Unfortunately for Ohio, Toledo redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Sam Shutes settled into a groove after giving up Rott's two-run homer in the first. He surrendered just two more hits the rest of the way -- a one-out single by sophomore shortstop Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) in the second on and a leadoff base hit by junior center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) in the third -- as well as three walks over eight innings to keep the Bobcats off of the scoreboard.
The Rockets then turned the tide of the contest in the bottom of the eighth. Senior first baseman Dalton Bollinger hit a one-out single to left, which set the table for senior designated hitter AJ Montoya to put Toledo in front with a two-run home run that just cleared the wall in left.
The Bobcats nearly rallied in the ninth. Hafner was hit by a pitch with two outs, redshirt sophomore right fielder Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.) followed with a base hit back up the middle and freshman left fielder Sebastian Fabik (Lebanon, Ohio) was hit by a pitch to load up the bases for Ohio. Toledo sophomore right-handed reliever Austin Calopietro escaped the jam, though, getting Garcia to fly out to right to end the ballgame.
Shutes earned the win on the mound for the Rockets, improving to 6-0 on the year. He struck out three. Calopietro picked up his second save.
Roehn was saddled with the loss for the Bobcats, falling to 1-3 on the season. He struck out one but gave up two runs -- one of which was earned -- on three hits.
Bollinger was the lone batter to put together a multi-hit effort for either team, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Ohio looks to bounce back and win the series when it takes on Toledo in the Sunday (April 8) series rubber match at Scott Park. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. ET. The contest will feature a live video stream on ESPN3. Senior lefty Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) is scheduled get the start on the mound for the Bobcats.