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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (18-20, 4-7 MAC) was saddled with a 3-1 loss to Mid-American Conference East Division archrival Miami (16-24, 3-8 MAC) on Saturday (April 22) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The RedHawks evened the weekend series with the Bobcats after Ohio recorded a 9-5 victory on Friday (April 21) in the opener.
Ohio pounded out 11 hits and was plagued by leaving 12 runners on base.
Miami struck for three runs in the top of the third inning. Junior right fielder Brooks Urich coaxed a leadoff walk, then senior designated hitter Tyler Harris followed with an infield single to short. Redshirt senior third baseman Adam Yacek laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both into scoring position, then redshirt junior first baseman Ross Haffey drew a walk to load the bases for the RedHawks. Freshman second baseman Landon Stephens singled to left field to plate Urich and Harris and drive in the gameâs first runs. Sophomore center fielder Dallas Hall then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Haffey to tag up and score from third and make it 3-0 in favor of Miami.
The Bobcats had several chances to put a dent into Miamiâs lead, leaving runners stranded in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth frames. In the fourth, senior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) sent a one-out single to center and moved to second on a base hit through the right side by junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) but was thrown out attempting to get to third by Miami freshman right fielder Tom Kelley, who entered the game in the top of the frame in place of Urich after Urich suffered an injury . Bourn made it all the way to third after a single by senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.) and a throwing error by Miami on the play, but he was left on third. The fifth inning saw the Bobcats put two in scoring position with nobody out after senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) reached on another Miami miscue and senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) doubled down the left field line, but Ohio could not capitalize.
Ohio finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Giannini drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third one out later on a double to left center by Mrosla and scored by way of an RBI ground out by senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio), cutting Miamiâs advantage to 3-1.
The Bobcats' last best chance at overtaking the RedHawks came in the eighth. Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) poked a leadoff single to center, and Giannini followed with base hit to left to put two on with nobody out, but Ohio was unable to score.
"We barreled up more balls than they did," said fifth-year head coach Rob Smith. "We just unfortunately weren't rewarded for it."
Mrosla, Giannini and sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) posted multi-hit efforts for the 'Cats. Mrosla was 2-for-4 with a double. Giannini finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored while extending his team-high 11-game hitting streak. He and Black have also reached base in a team-high 14-straight games after Saturday. Rott finished with a pair of singles. Callery also extended his hitting streak, tallying a base knock for the 10th game in a row, which ranks second behind Giannini.
Junior southpaw starting pitcher Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) gave the Bobcats a solid start, fanning six over 6.2 innings while giving up up three earned runs on six hits and five walks. He suffered the loss on the mound, dropping to 4-2 on the year. Sophomore right-handed reliever Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) tossed 3.1 scoreless frames of relief out of the bullpen. He struck out three while allowing four hits and a walk.
"I thought it was a positive outing from him," said Smith of Baird's effort. "He gave us a chance to win, and that's all we needed out of him tonight. Kenny kept us in the game, but unfortunately, we just couldn't find a hole there when we had opportunties to score."
Sophomore left-handed starting pitcher Zach Spears struck out seven while permitting one earned run on nine hits and a walk en route to improving to 3-6 on the season for Miami. Sophomore right-hander Nick Ernst pitched the final three innings, striking out two while giving up two hits. His three scoreless frames of work allowed him to earn his fourth save.
Harris and Haffey each logged a pair of hits to lead the RedHawks at the plate while Stephens drove in two of Miami's three runs.
The Sunday (April 23) series finale between Ohio and Miami is scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m. ET. The rubber match will mark another 'Sunday Funday', 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. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.