ATHENS, Ohio -- Six pitchers combined to give up just one run on three hits and four walks while senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) belted his second home run of the year as the Ohio baseball (9-6) opened its 2017 home schedule with a 9-1 win over NAIA Shawnee State (5-17) on Thursday (March 16) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Bobcats plated runs in four of the first five innings as Ohio pounded out 12 hits. Four Bobcats enjoyed multi-hit days.
Ohio set the tone in the home half of the first inning when redshirt junior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) reached on a one-out single, setting the tone for Ibarra's two-run blast to right center. Bredeson finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Bobcats tallied two three-run frames to put the Bears away.
In the second inning, junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) led off with a single to left. One out later, senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) sent a base hit to center. Both he and Giannini pulled off a double steal to set the table for a two-RBI double down the left field line by senior second baseman Mateus Vakuda (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Vakuda then scored the third run of the frame one out later when Bredeson shot a single back up the middle.
The fifth inning saw Giannini get another three-run frame started by coaxing a one-out walk. He then advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a ground out by junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.). Callery plated Giannini on an infield hit, then scored on another RBI double by Vakuda. Vakuda then scored Ohio's ninth and final run on a base hit to left center by senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio).
Vakuda finished 2-for-3 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. Callery went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Redshirt junior right-handed starting pitcher Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) got the win for Ohio to improve to 1-1 on the season. He fanned three in two innings of work on the hill. Senior southpaw Matt Mikolajczak (New Lenox, Ill.), sophomore righty Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.), senior right-hander Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.), junior righty Logan Jacik (Omaha, Neb.) and redshirt junior right-hander Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) each gave the Bobcats a scoreless inning of relief.
Ohio will host Siena (3-10) for three games over two days this weekend. The Bobcats will play the Saints in a Saturday (March 18) doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Ohio and Siena conclude the weekend set on Sunday (March 19) in a noon ET matchup. The series finale will mark the first 'Sunday Funday' of the 2017 season, with all fans receiving free admission courtesy of OhioHealth. Kids will also have the opportunity to run the bases at Bob Wren Stadium following the game.