Box Score (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- Junior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) went 3-for-4 and crushed his team-high 10th home run of the 2018 season, but the Ohio baseball team (20-24, 8-11 MAC) was edged by Ball State (24-20, 11-8 MAC), 4-1, on Friday (May 4) in the opening contest of a three-game Mid-American Conference series at Bob Wren Stadium.
The contest was halted by a two-hour-and-eight-minute rain delay prior to start of the top of the fifth inning.
The Cardinals took control of the game in the top of the third inning. Junior catcher Chase Sebby was hit by a pitch with one out, setting the table for redshirt senior right fielder Jeff Riedel to smack a two-run home run.
The Bobcats put two runners on base in both the third and sixth innings but were unable to put a dent into Ball State's lead.
Ball State then tacked two more runs on in the seventh. Redshirt freshman designated hitter Tim Blankenberger got things started by drawing a walk, then advanced to third on a double down the left field line by junior first baseman John Ricotta. Redshirt junior third baseman Zach Milam lifted a sacrifice fly to center to allow Blankenberger to tag up and scored from third. After Ricotta took third on a wild pitch, he tagged up and scored courtesy of sacrifice fly to center by sophomore shortstop Noah Powell, extending the Cardinals' lead to 4-0.
Rott got Ohio on the scoreboard in the eighth with a monstrous two-out solo shot to dead center field, sending the ball 405 feet. The round tripper capped a three-hit evening for Rott -- his team-high 20th multi-hit game of the year and team-high seventh with at least three hits.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, that's as close as they got as junior right-hander Nick Floyd capped off his fifth inning of relief for Ball State by retiring Ohio in order in the bottom of the ninth. Floyd, who was credited with the pitching victory to improve to 5-0 on the season, fanned six while allowing one earned run on four hits. He did not permit a walk. Sophomore right-handed starting pitcher John Baker tossed the first four frames for the Cardinals prior to the rain delay. He struck out eight while giving up no runs and just three hits and a walk.
Ricotta led Ball State's bats with a 2-for-4 effort that included a double and a run scored.
Freshman right-handed starting pitcher Eddie Kutt (Westlake, Calif.) took the loss on the mound for Ohio, falling to 3-2 on the season. He struck out one but allowed two earned runs on two hits and two walks over 2.1 innings. Redshirt senior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, fanning two while giving up only one walk. Junior righty Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) struck out two in three innings of relief. He permitted two earned runs on two hits and a walk. Sophomore left-hander Derek Carr (Newark, Ohio) pitched two scoreless innings, striking out five in a row after giving up a single to open the eighth.
Ohio will look to bounce back and even the series on Saturday (May 5) when it takes on Ball State in a 3 p.m. ET matchup at The Wren. Redshirt senior lefty Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) will get the start on the mound for the Bobcats and oppose freshman right-hander Drey Jameson of the Cardinals. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Max McDulin will have the call of the action on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet. The contest will also be streamed live by OhioBobcatTV via YouTube. Prior to Saturday's game, the following players will take part in Ohio University's spring graduation ceremony -- senior infielder/outfielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.), senior right-handed pitcher Logan Jacik (Omaha, Neb.), redshirt senior right-handed pitcher/infielder/outfielder Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Josh Petersen (Deshler, Ohio).