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No. 6 Ohio Baseball Opens MAC Tournament Against No. 3 Kent State on Wednesday

No. 6 Ohio Baseball Opens MAC Tournament Against No. 3 Kent State on Wednesday

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AVON, Ohio – After taking two-of-three from Western Michigan last weekend to clinch the No. 6 seed, the Ohio Baseball team (18-32, 12-14 MAC), Ohio will begin the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Wednesday at 12:30 against No. 3 Kent State (30-22, 17-8 MAC). All games of the MAC Tournament will take place at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.

All games this weekend will be called by 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein on WOUB 1340 FM and OhioBobcats.com. The entire MAC Tournament will be streamed live on ESPN+ and Wednesday's game can be watched here.

The six-team tournament is double elimination. If Ohio wins, they will take on No. 1 Central Michigan on Thursday at 2 p.m. If Ohio loses, they will play the loser of the No. 4 Miami – No. 5 Northern Illinois game on Thursday at 10 a.m. The full bracket can be found here.

BACK-TO-BACK MAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rudy Rott is the first player in conference history to win Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. Ohio has won the award four times, as Rott took home the honor in 2018, while Mitch Longo (2015) and Marc Krauss (2009) also won the award. Rott was also first-team All-MAC, giving the Bobcats eight All-MAC First Team selections over the last five seasons. 

SECOND-TEAM ALL-MAC

Ohio entered the series with Western Michigan .5 games back of the No. 6 seed, with WMU ahead of the Bobcats. Ohio won the first and third game of the series, 8-6 to jump ahead of the Broncos and secure the final spot in the MAC Tournament.

NEEDED TWO OF THREE, GOT TWO OF THREE

Ohio entered the series with Western Michigan .5 games back of the No. 6 seed, with WMU ahead of the Bobcats. Ohio won the first and third game of the series, 8-6 to jump ahead of the Broncos and secure the final spot in the MAC Tournament.

DIDN'T WANT THE SEASON TO END AND WON MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Rudy Rott was outstanding in the final week of the season. Overall, Rott hit .579 and had an impressive slugging percentage of 1.000. Rott had a multi-hit game in every game last week. The senior drove in 12 runs, including five in Ohio's midweek game against Marshall.

In Ohio's first 8-6 win, Rott was the difference maker for the Bobcats, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and a walk. Rott had the go-ahead single in the top of the eighth inning, scoring two runs. In the second 8-6 win of the weekend, Rott had two home runs and brought home four RBI.

MAC CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Brett Manis played a crucial role in both of Ohio's must win games over WMU. In Ohio's first win of the series, Manis tossed 3.0 innings and struck out four batters to get his first win of the season. Manis then got the hold in the MAC Tournament spot clinching win on Saturday, tossing a season-long 4.1 innings and fanning a season-best seven batters.

COMING UP TO THE HITS RECORD

Rudy Rott is second all-time in career hits at Ohio with 284. Rott is two hits away from tying the all-time record that is currently held by Jake Madsen at 286.

PERFECT IN THE MAC TOURNEY

Head coach Rob Smith has guided the Bobcats to the MAC Tournament twice. Both times Ohio has made it, the Bobcats have never lost. Smith is a perfect 8-0 in the MAC Tournament, giving Ohio MAC Tournament Championships in 2015 and 2017.

In the 2017 MAC Tournament, Ohio defeated EMU, 7-4, in the championship game. The Bobcats placed five players on the 2017 All-MAC Championship Team -- senior outfielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins Colo.), senior infielder Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio), senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.), redshirt junior designated hitter/right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and senior right-handed starting pitcher Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.). Ibarra garnered Most Valuable Player distinction, joining outfielder Bart Leahy (1997) and right-handed pitcher Logan Cozart (2015) as the only players in Ohio's history to earn such honors. Ibarra hit .368 with seven hits, two RBIs and three runs scored over four games. Black collected four hits -- including two doubles and his huge home run. Mrosla hit .400 with four hits -- including a pair of doubles. Klein batted .357 with five hits, three RBIs and four runs scored.

NATIONAL AND MAC RANKINGS

Sophomore LHP Brett Manis leads the MAC and is No. 99 in the nation with seven saves this season. Manis is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 42.0 innings pitched this season. Manis has fanned 55 batters and has a .229 batting average against.

Rudy Rott is second in the MAC and No. 40 in the country in batting average at .377 this season. Rott also sits tied for second in home runs with 10t and is second in the league in slugging percentage at .634. Rott is tied for fifth in doubles with 17.

ON-BASE STREAKS

Rudy Rott has currently reached base in 27-straight games, the longest on the team this season. Aaron Levy is currently on a 19 game on-base streak. Michael Richardson has also had a 15-game reached base streak earlier this season.

MULTI-HIT GAMES

Ohio has had a player record a multi-hit game 97 times this season, and Rudy Rott leads the way with 25. Rott has 17 two-hit games and eight three-hit games. Trevor Lukkes has 11 hits games, nine two-hit games and two three hit games while Trevor Hafner and Treyben Funderburg each have 10.

SEVENTH SAVE AND JUST ONE HIT ALLOWED

Sophomore LHP Brett Manis tossed 3.0 innings, allowed just one hit and fanned five batters for his seventh save of the season in Ohio's 4-3 win over Miami on Saturday. Redshirt freshman RHP Jack Liberatore picked up his sixth win of the season after pitching 6.0 innings. Liberatore struck out a career-high nine batters in the win and allowed three earned runs.

A COUPLE FIRSTS IN THE WIN OVER YSU

Freshman Matt Brosky earned his first career win as Ohio took down Youngstown State on Tuesday, 3-2. Freshman RHP Braxton Kelly grabbed his first career save after shutting the door on YSU in the ninth. Kelly struckout two batters and faced the minimum.

SWEEP!

Ohio moved into fifth place in the Mid-American Conference standings after a sweep of Eastern Michigan last weekend. The Bobcats took the first game on Friday, 6-1 and won two games on Sunday, 8-2 and 6-3.

COMPLETE GAME FOR OGG AND FOUR BOMBS

Senior RHP Kenny Ogg went all nine innings in Ohio's 6-3 win to close the series out. Ogg threw the complete game in 111 pitches, striking out six batters. Ogg allowed three earned runs and walked just two batters. Ogg's complete game was his first of the season and he's fanned 43 batters, one behind Liberatore.

Ohio hit four home runs in the win with Sebastian FabikAaron LevyRudy Rott and Tanner Piechnick all going deep.

FIRST CAREER HOME RUN IS A GRAND SLAM

Cole Revels (Charlotte, N.C.) hit his first career home run in Ohio's 10-8 loss to Ohio State on Tuesday. The home run was a grand slam and gave Ohio the lead. Revels ended the day career-high give RBI, going 2-for-4 with a home run and a single.

Senior INF Rudy Rott(Holmen, Wis.) also had a home run in the game and was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and one RBI.

GOOD OFFENSIVE SERIES AGAINST NIU FOR RUDY ROTT

Rudy Rott was phenomenal in Ohio's series against NIU. Rott hit an impressive .615 (8-for-13) with two doubles, one home run and five RBI. Rott had a slugging percentage of 1.000 and an on base percentage of .643. Rott scored one run and had 13 total bases.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Sophomore INF Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) earned Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honors on April 1 for his efforts in Ohio Baseball's (7-18, 3-3 MAC) series win over Bowling Green.

Levy hit a team best .545 over the weekend, helping the Bobcats score 27 runs in Ohio's first series win this season. The Bobcats put up 12 runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Levy drove in four RBI and scored six runs. Levy had an impressive .667 on-base percentage after putting a double, home run and four singles while adding four walks. Levy had a 10 total bases, one behind the team-best of 11 from redshirt freshman OF Trevor Lukkes (Tustin, Calif.).

The Cincinnati native was 3-for-5 with a double and one RBI in Ohio's 12-4 win on Sunday. On Saturday, Levy reached base four times after walking three times and a single. Levy scored one run and knocked in one RBI in the 12-2 victory over the Falcons. Levy went deep in the series opener and brought home two RBI.

Levy is hitting a team-best .467 in conference play this season with five RBI and 11 total bases. Levy's slugging percentage is .733 and he's scored three runs during MAC play. Levy his hitting .227 in 23 games this season and has 10 total RBI, the second most on the team.

WALK OFF GRAND SLAM

The Bobcats found themselves down 11-7 in the ninth inning of the second game of the series against Central Michigan. After Rott singled to cut the lead to 11-8, Tanner Piechnick hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game for Ohio, 12-11.

Freshman RHP Braxton Kelly (Ulysses, Ky.) earned his first collegiate win after tossing the ninth. He pitched 1.0 innings and allowed two runs to score.

Ohio finished the series against CMU 1-2.

GOOD WAY TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN

Redshirt freshman Jack Liberatore (Greensburg, Pa.) was phenomenal in the second game of the doubleheader against USC Upstate where Ohio earned its second win of the season in a 2-1 win over the Spartans. Liberatore tossed 7.0 innings of shutout baseball allowed just five runners to reach base. Liberatore earned his first win of his collegiate career and improved to 1-1 this season. Liberatore's season ERA is an impressive 1.15 ERA, the best among Bobcat starters. The Greensburg, Pa. native has allowed just two runs in 15.2 innings and allowed just 18 runners to reach base while striking out 14 batters this season.  

#ROBCATS

Rob Smith is in his seventh season as the head coach of the Ohio baseball program in 2019. The Bobcats have won two Mid-American Conference tournament titles and have made two NCAA Championship appearances during his time at Ohio. Ohio had made just two NCAA tournament appearance in the 43 seasons prior to the 2015 campaign.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN

Senior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) was named to the 2019 Collegiate Baeball All-America Third team in December. Rott was the 2018 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, an All-MAC First Team member and made the All-MAC Defensive Team. In 2016, Rott was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.  

Rott led the Bobcats in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.440), hits (76), doubles (15), home runs (15), walks (30), RBIs (50) and runs scored (48) last season, setting or tying career highs in every category. He also tied for the team lead with two triples. Rott tied for the MAC lead in hits and home runs and ranked second in slugging percentage and RBIs, third in batting average and fifth in runs scored. His 140 total bases were good for a conference-high, ranked 17th in the nation and tied him for the 10th-most in a single season in Ohio history. He led Ohio with 24 multi-hit games – including a team-high eight with at least three hits – and also led the Bobcats with 15 multi-RBI games. 

In conference play, Rott sported a team-best .333 batting average, a team-best .620 slugging percentage and a team-best .498 on-base percentage. He tallied a team-high 36 hits -- including a team-high eight doubles and seven home runs -- to go along with a team-high 27 RBIs and 24 runs scored.  

OHIO PICKED SIXTH IN MAC

Ohio Baseball team has been selected sixth in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, the league announced on Feb. 13. The poll was voted on by the league's 10 head coaches.

The Bobcats earned 49 votes and was selected in front of Eastern Michigan (45), Western Michigan (42), Northern Illinois (29) and Bowling Green. NIU received one vote to win the conference this season.

Selected in front of Ohio was Kent State (98), Ball State (88), Miami (78), Central Michigan (53) and Toledo (51). Kent State received eight votes to win the league, while Miami received one vote for first place.

WELCOME TO OHIO

Ohio is welcoming 10 to the team this season. Ohio has eight true freshman - RHP Matt Brosky (Strongsville, Ohio) INF Ryan Strittmather (Vermillion, Ohio), C/INF Zyon Avery (Indianapolis, Ind.), RHP Braxton Kelly (Ulysses, Ky.), LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.), INF Evan Fromwiller (Aurora, Ohio), INF/RHP Colin Sells (Lancaster, Ohio), INF Xavier Haendiges (Salem, Ind.) and RHP Eamon Horwedel (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Ohio has one Junior college transfer, redshirt sophomore Michael Richardson (Cambridge, Maryland/Harford Community College). The Bobcats have one transfer from a four-year school, junior INF Joe Weisenseel (Strongsville, Ohio/Penn State).