KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Ohio Baseball team (17-31, 11-13 MAC) won the first game of the pivotal series with Western Michigan (17-30, 10-13 MAC), 8-6, on Thursday afternoon at Robert J. Bobb Field. Ohio needs one more win to clinch the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Mid-American Tournament.
Senior INF Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) was the difference maker for Ohio, 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. Rott improved his batting average to a team-best .374 this season and is now six hits away from tying the all-time hits record of 286.
Junior C Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) also had three RBI after hitting his fourth home run of the year. Piechnick also had a sacrifice fly.
Ohio jumped on the board early when Rott put a single through the left side of the infield to score sophomore INF Treyben Funderburg (Beavercreek, Ohio).
Funderburg reached twice on a walk and scored two runs during the game.
The Bobcats added runs in the second and third with home runs. Lukkes hit a bomb to let field to put Ohio up 2-0 and Piechnick had a two-run home run to right field in the third to give Ohio a 4-0 advantage.
WMU tied the game in the bottom of the third. Junstin McIntyre scored one on a double and Blake Dunn had an RBI single to cut the Ohio lead to 4-2. Dunn scored on a passed ball and a Nate Grys groundout tied the game at 4-4.
Grys gave WMU the lead with a home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ohio regained the lead in the top of the seventh. The Bobcats tied the game when Rott came home on an error after a bunt from Fabik. Piechnick gave Ohio the lead with a sacrifice fly to center field that brought home Richardson.
Western Michigan punched back when Grys hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Rott's third hit of the day was a big one that gave Ohio an 8-6 lead. Rott pushed a single to right field that scored Funderburg and redshirt junior Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.).
Sophomore LHP Brett Manis (Port Huron, Mich.) grabbed his first win of the season, improving to 1-1 . Manis
Sophomore RHP Edward Kutt IV (Westlake, Calif.) got a no decision after tossing 6.0 innings and striking out seven batters. Kutt IV allowed three earend runs and five runs crossed the plate when he was on the mound.
Ohio will look to clinch the No. 6 seed in the MAC Tournament tomorrow at 2:05 p.m.