Box Score (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (5-16, 1-2 MAC) dropped the rubber match of its 2019 Mid-American Conference opening series to visiting Central Michigan (15-7, 2-1 MAC), 6-2, today at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Chippewas took two of three games in the series from the Bobcats. Central Michigan posted a 5-3 win in the opener on Friday (March 22), but Ohio retaliated with a 12-11 win in walk-off fashion on Saturday (March 23).
The Bobcats landed the first punch on Sunday in the bottom of the first inning, as redshirt freshman left fielder Trevor Lukkes (Tustin, Calif.) sent a one-out double to left and then scored on a base hit to right by senior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) to give Ohio an early 1-0 advantage.
Central Michigan broke through for two runs in the top of the fourth, though, to take the lead. Senior right fielder Jacob Crum reached second base on an error by Ohio to lead off the frame. Sophomore left fielder Chase Rollin then delivered the game-tying RBI single to left to plate Crum. Two outs later, Rollin scored on an RBI single through the right side by junior third baseman Zach Heeke.
The Chippewas tacked on two more runs in the sixth to extend their lead to 4-1. Rollin coaxed a leadoff walk, and senior designated hitter David Cole followed by beating out an infield single. After both moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Blake Cleveland, Rollin tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Heeke and Cole scored by way of a single to right by sophomore shortstop Zavier Warren.
In the seventh, Crum sent a two-out home run over the wall in left center to make it a 5-1 advantage for the Chippewas.
Ohio answered in the bottom of the seventh with some two-out lightning. Redshirt sophomore second baseman Michael Richardson (Cambridge, Md.) smacked a two-out single left. After sophomore shortstop Treyben Funderburg (Beavercreek, Ohio) drew a walk, redshirt junior third baseman Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) came through with a single up the middle to drive in Richardson and make it a three-run ballgame.
Unfortunately for Ohio, the Bobcats left runners on the corners to end the seventh, then left the bases loaded in the eighth. Central Michigan made Ohio pay by adding a final insurance run in the ninth as junior center fielder Zach Gilles drew a one-out walk, stole second and then scored on a bunt single by senior second baseman Jason Sullivan.
Central Michigan was led at the plate by Cole, Warren and sophomore first baseman Griffin Lockwood-Powell. Warren and Lockwood-Powell each doubled and singled while Cole went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Rott, Richardson and Hafner each posted multi-hit efforts for Ohio.
Redshirt freshman right-handed starting pitcher Jack Liberatore (Greensburg, Pa.) took the loss on the mound for Ohio, falling to 2-3 on the year. He allowed three runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits and five walks in five innings.
Junior southpaw starter Tyler Hankins improved to 4-0 on the season for Central Michigan. He struck out one while permitting two earned runs on six hits and two walks over 6.2 frames. Sophomore right-handed reliever Jordan Patty was credited with his first save of the season, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings and striking out two while permitting just one walk.
Ohio will be back in action again at Bob Wren Stadium on Tuesday (March 26), welcoming longtime rival Marshall for a 6 p.m. ET contest.