SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Ohio Baseball team (1-6) will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina for the second time this season as the Bobcats take on USC Upstate (3-5). Ohio will start the series on Friday, March 1 at 4 p.m. The Bobcats will face the Spartans on Saturday at 2 p.m. and wrap up the series on Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS AND LINKS
FRIDAY: Senior RHP Kenny Ogg (0-2, 5.59 ERA) vs. RHP Jordan Marks (0-2, 5.62 ERA)
SATURDAY: Freshman LHP Joe Rock (1-1, 7.04 ERA) vs. LHP Trey Van Der Weide (0-1, 3.75 ERA)
SUNDAY: Redshirt freshman RHP Jack Liberatore (0-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob Thiessen (0-1, 10.80 ERA)
Rob Smith enters 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.
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.
RUDY THIS SEASON
So far this season for Rott, he's hitting .321 (9-of-21) with a team high 15 total bases. Rott has three double and one home run so far this season with a team-high four RBI. Rott has scored two runs and a .367 on-base percentage. Rott has swiped one base season.
DON'T FORGET TANNER
Ohio returns senior DH Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) to the lineup, who earned All-MAC Second Team recognition last season. Last season's honors were the first in his career. Piechnick ranked second on the team in slugging percentage (.484), doubles (12), home runs (8) and runs scored (48) behind Rott while ranking third in hits (51) and RBIs (28), setting career highs in every category. Piechnick ranked second on the squad with 15 multi-hit games
In conference play, Piechnick ranked second on the squad in batting average (.305), slugging percentage (.533), on-base percentage (.373), hits (36), doubles (7), home runs (5), RBIs (20) and runs scored (22).
Ohio hit three home runs in the Bobcats' series with Cal Baptist last week. Freshman Zyon Avery (Indianapolis, Ind.) hit his first career home run, while Rott and redshirt sophomore Dan McCauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) also hit one home run each.
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 Wednesday (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.
FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
Ohio earned the first win of the season during game two of the three game series with Wofford. Ohio won the game, 6-2, and freshman LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.) earned his first win of his collegiate career after coming in during the fourth inning and tossing 2.2 innings. Rock gave up two earned runs while striking out three batters. Rock faced 13 batters and walked just one.
MORE ON THE PROBABLE STARTERS
Ogg is 0-2 this season with a 5.59 ERA. Ogg tossed 4.2 innings last weekend against Cal Baptist in a start and allowed four earned runs while fanning a season-high seven batters. Ogg has struck out 11 batters this season while allowing six earned runs over 9.2 innings.
Last season, Ogg made 19 appearances last season, tossing 34.0 innings while going 1-2. Ogg had a career-low 3.97 ERA last season and struckout 17 batters during the 2018 campaign. In his career, Ogg has made 50 appearances with 28 of those coming in 2018. He was 3-1 in the 2017 campaign while tossing 42.2 innings and fanning 29 batters. Ogg's career ERA is 4.81 while his has struckout 47 batters in 78.2 innings.
Freshman LHP Joe Rock is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA. Last week at Cal Baptist, Rock earned his first collegiate start of his career and pitched 5.0 innings while allowing four earned runs. Rock fanned a career-high four batters in that start.
Rock earned his first collegiate win in Ohio's first win of the season. He fanned three batters in the win while allowing two earned runs in 2.2 innings.
In high school rock earned all-section honors after going 803 with a 1.30 ERA while recording 108 strikeouts. He tossed two no-hitters in his career and was ranked as the ninth-best LHP in Pennsylvania.
Redshirt freshman Jack Liberatore is 0-1 this season with a 2.08 ERA. Liberatore was the tough luck loser last weekend against Cal Baptist in his second career start, as he did not give up an earned run in 5.1 innings pitched. Three runs scored while Liberatore was on the mound, and he fanned a career-high seven batters in the outing.
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE
USC Upstate is 3-5 this season. The Spartans spilt a four-game series with Kansas and also beat Davidson, 9-7. Upstate is led by Griffin Zito, who is hitting .300 with six hits and three RBI. Robby McGaha leads the team in total bases with 14 and is 8-of-29 with a 276 batting average. Will Wheeler has allowed just one earned run in 9.0 innings pitched while started Trey Van Der Weide has tossed 12.0 innings with a 3.75 ERA.
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).
After USC Upstate, Ohio will head to Dayton to face UD, Wright State and Canisius. The Bobcats will face Dayton on Friday, March 9, Wright State in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 9 and Canisius on Sunday, March 10.