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2018 Ohio Baseball Schedule
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball program unveiled its 53-game 2018 schedule, as announced by sixth-year head coach Rob Smith on Wednesday (Oct. 25).
The 2018 slate features 15 home games at Bob Wren Stadium -- including battles with longtime rival Marshall and in-state rival Youngstown State -- as well as 27 Mid-American Conference contests. The Bobcats are also scheduled to take on in-state rival Ohio State in Columbus on April 10.
"I am excited about this year's schedule as it will give us opportunities to play some quality teams in a neutral setting early in four game series," said Smith. "These are always great for getting more guys involved and figuring our club."
The Bobcats open the new season by playing 23-straight games away from Athens. For the second year in a row, Ohio begins the year in Lexington, S.C., to take on Rider (Feb. 16-18) in a four-game neutral site series. The Bobcats will then play four games against both Maine (Feb. 23-25) and Omaha (March 2-4) at Perfect Game's LakePoint facility in Emerson, Ga.
Ohio will play its first true road series of the 2018 season when it travels to Baltimore to visit Towson (March 9-11). The Bobcats' final non-conference series of the year will be played at USC Upstate (March 16-18). During the season-opening road swing, Ohio will also play midweek games at High Point (March 13) and Morehead State (March 27). Other non-conference midweek road games for the Bobcats in 2018 include trips to Marshall (April 17) and Dayton (April 24).
The defending MAC tournament champion Bobcats are scheduled to open conference play with a three-game series at Bowling Green (March 23-25). Ohio will also visit Toledo (April 6-8), Kent State (April 20-22), Miami (April 27-29) and Central Michigan (May 17-19) in 2018.
Ohio will open its 2018 home schedule with a three-game set against Northern Illinois (March 30-April 1). Ohio's other MAC home series will be played against Eastern Michigan (April 13-15), Ball State (May 4-6) and Western Michigan (May 11-13).
"For the first time since I have been here, we are now playing everyone in the league," said Smith. "I like the balanced schedule with 27 conference games."
Ohio is scheduled to play three non-conference home midweek games, with Shawnee State (April 3), Marshall (April 18) and Youngstown State (May 9) all scheduled to visit The Wren.
The 2018 MAC Championship will be held May 23-27 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. The winner receives the league's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Championship.
NCAA Championship Regionals are scheduled for June 1-4 with Super Regionals being held June 8-11. The 2018 NCAA College World Series is slated to run June 16-27 from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb.
The Bobcats are coming off of a 2017 campaign in which they finished with 31 wins -- including 11 in MAC play, which placed Ohio fifth in the overall league standings. Under the direction of 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 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.).