BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- The Ohio baseball team (6-5) shut out Western Kentucky (4-7), 3-0, to even the three-game weekend series on Saturday (March 4) at Nick Denes Field.
The Bobcats bounced back from a 5-4 setback at the hands of the Hilltoppers on Friday (March 3) and put a halt to a two-game losing skid.
Ohio's pitching staff was masterful, limiting Western Kentucky to no runs on five hits and two walks. The Bobcats logged their second shutout of the young 2017 season. Junior southpaw starting pitcher Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) improved to 2-0 on the bump this year, tossing 6.2 frames and striking out two while allowing four hits and two walks in his third start. Senior righty Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) fanned two over 1.1 perfect innings of relief. Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn picked up his first save of the season and eighth of his career tallying two strikeouts while permitting one hit in a scoreless bottom of the ninth.
The senior middle infield combo of second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) and shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) did the bulk of the damage at the plate for the Bobcats, accounting for five of Ohio's eight hits. Black went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Finkler collected two hits -- including his second home run of the season. Black recorded his third multi-hit game of the year and first with at least three hits.
Ohio broke through for its first run in the top of the third inning when Finkler served up a two-out solo home run to left field.
The Bobcats made it 2-0 in the fourth as junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) led off with a double to right and scored one out later when Black singled to center.
Ohio tallied its third and final run in the seventh. Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) smacked a one-out single to right, then scored one out later on a base hit to left by senior right fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.).
Junior right-handed starting pitcher Paul Kirkpatrick took the loss on the mound for Western Kentucky, dropping to 1-2 on the year. He surrendered three earned runs on eight hits in 8.1 innings of work. He struck out two.
Ohio goes for the weekend series win when it meets Western Kentucky in the Sunday (March 5) rubber match. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is scheduled to make his third start on the mound this year for the Bobcats.