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Ohio Baseball Travels To Toledo For Three-Game MAC Set

Ohio Baseball Travels To Toledo For Three-Game MAC Set

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By Mike Ashcraft
OhioBobcats.com

Ohio at Toledo Game 1: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 3:05 p.m. ET | Scott Park | Toledo, Ohio | WOUB 1340 AM Radio Broadcast | ESPN3 | SIDEARM Stats
Probable Starting Pitchers: Ohio R-Sr. LHP Gerry Salisbury vs. Toledo Jr. LHP Michael Jacob

Ohio at Toledo Game 2: Saturday, April 7, 2018 | 1:05 p.m. ET | Scott Park | Toledo, Ohio | WOUB 1340 AM Radio Broadcast | ESPN3 | SIDEARM Stats
Probable Starting Pitchers: Ohio So. LHP Derek Carr vs. Toledo R-Sr. RHP Sam Shutes

Ohio at Toledo Game 3: Sunday, April 8, 2018 | 1:05 p.m. ET | Scott Park | Toledo, Ohio | WOUB 1340 AM Radio Broadcast | ESPN3 | SIDEARM Stats
Probable Starting Pitchers: Ohio Sr. LHP Butch Baird vs. Toledo TBA

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (14-12, 3-3 MAC) returns to the road for a three-game Mid-American Conference series against Toledo (7-17, 3-3 MAC) this weekend at Scott Park. The series opener is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on Friday (April 6). Game two is slated for 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday (April 7). The Sunday (April 8) series finale is set to get underway at 1:05 p.m. ET. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Mike Ashcraft will have the call of the action on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet. This weekend's series will also feature a live video stream on ESPN3.

The Bobcats and the Rockets are two of five teams currently sitting in a tie for fourth place in the MAC standings at 3-3.

MATCHUP AGAINST SHAWNEE STATE POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN
Ohio's Tuesday (April 3) game against Shawnee State at Bob Wren Stadium was postponed due to rainy conditions in Athens. The contest will be made up next Wednesday (April 11). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. 

The Bobcats are 1-1 in midweek matchups so far.

Ohio belted a season-high five home runs en route to an 11-7 victory over host High Point on March 14 at Williard Stadium in High Point, N.C., in the Bobcats' first midweek game of the year. Four players went yard for the Bobcats in the win over the Panthers. Senior third baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) led the way with a pair of home runs. Also going deep for the Bobcats were Piechnick, redshirt senior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and redshirt sophomore right fielder Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.).

BOBCATS AT .500 THROUGH TWO WEEKENDS OF MAC PLAY
Ohio improved to 3-3 in MAC play after taking two of three games from Northern Illinois over the weekend at Bob Wren Stadium. The Bobcats and the Huskies split a Saturday (March 31) doubleheader, with Ohio taking game one by a score of 6-1 and Northern Illinois prevailing in 10 innings in game two, 6-5. Ohio rolled to a 12-4 victory over Northern Illinois in the Sunday (April 1) rubber match. The Bobcats scored a season-high 12 runs and collected a season-high 17 hits in Sunday's win.

Ohio lost two of three games at Bowling Green the previous weekend to open the MAC portion of its 2018 schedule. The Bobcats suffered a 6-4 loss in the series opener on March 23 but bounced back with an 11-3 victory the following day. Unfortunately for Ohio, the Falcons prevailed in the Sunday (March 25) series finale, 3-1.

Sophomore catcher/outfielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) is off to a hot start to league play, hitting a team-best .480 with a team-best .840 slugging percentage and team-best .500 on-base percentage. He has collected a team-high 12 hits -- including a team-high two home runs. He is also tied with Rott and Levy for the team lead with seven RBIs. Piechnick is the owner of the team's longest current hitting streak at eight-straight games.

OHIO SWEEPS MAC WEEKLY AWARDS
Redshirt senior left-handed starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) was named MAC Pitcher of the Week while Levy was named MAC Player of the Week as Ohio swept the conference's weekly awards, as announced by the league office on Monday (April 2).

Both garnered MAC weekly conference honors for the first times in their careers.

Salisbury enjoyed the best outing of his Ohio career in game one of a Saturday (March 31) doubleheader against Northern Illinois, striking out a career-high 11 while giving up just one unearned run on four hits and no walks over seven strong innings to set the tone for a five-run victory for the Bobcats. He earned the victory on the mound to improve to 3-4 on the season. Salisbury became the first Ohio pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts this season.

Levy put his power on display last week for Ohio, smashing a team-high three home runs and slugging a team-best .889. He also drove in a team-high eight runs, tied for second on the team with seven hits and ranked third on the squad with a .438 batting average. Levy smacked two home runs and tallied three RBIs in the extra-innings loss at Morehead State. He then went 2-for-4 with two runs scored as Ohio took game one of the Saturday twin bill from the Huskies. In the Sunday (April 1) rubber match, Levy smashed a three-run home run in the fourth inning and accounted for two hits and five RBIs total as the Bobcats topped Northern Illinois.

ENTERING MAC PLAY ON THE UPSWING
The Bobcats entered league play having won seven of their previous 10 games.

Ohio opened the 2018 season by splitting a four-game series against Rider in Lexington, S.C.

The Bobcats fell to the Broncs, 6-4, in the season opener on Feb. 16, but bounced back by sweeping a Saturday (Feb. 17) doubleheader by scores of 10-2 and 6-5. Ohio dropped the series finale, though, as Rider walked off in the 11th inning, 6-5, on Feb. 18.
Ohio then split a four-game weekend set with Maine at Perfect Game's LakePoint facility. Maine won the Friday (Feb. 23) series opener, 5-1. Ohio split the Saturday (Feb. 26) doubleheader with the Black Bears, taking game one by a score of 7-5 but falling the second game of the twin bill. The Bobcats closed out the weekend with a 6-2 win in the Sunday (Feb. 27) series finale. 

Ohio and Nebraska Omaha each won two games in a four-game weekend series played at Perfect Game's LakePoint facility in Cartersville, Ga. The Bobcats bounced back from a tough 6-5 loss to to the Mavericks in the series opener on March 2 by using solid pitching and timely hitting to sweep a Saturday (March 3) doubleheader by scores of 4-1 and 5-2. Ohio was blanked by Nebraska Omaha in the series finale, though, 4-0, on March 4.

The Bobcats earned both their first series victory and first series sweep of the 2018 season as Ohio took all three games from host Towson at Schuerholz Park in Towson, Md. Ohio took the series opener from the Tigers on March 9, 5-2, then hung on for a 10-9 win that clinched the series the next day. The Bobcats then roared back from a 7-0 deficit to top Towson, 9-8, in the Sunday (March 11) series finale.

Ohio belted a season-high five home runs en route to an 11-7 victory over host High Point on March 14 at Williard Stadium in High Point, N.C., in the Bobcats' first midweek game of the year. Four players went yard for the Bobcats in the win over the Panthers. Senior third baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) led the way with a pair of home runs. Also going deep for the Bobcats were Piechnick, redshirt senior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and redshirt sophomore right fielder Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.).

The Bobcats then dropped two of three games to host USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. Ohio lost the series opener, 8-1, on March 16 and suffered a 12-7 loss the following day. The Bobcats salvaged the weekend series by rallying to beat the Spartans, 10-5, in the Sunday (March 18) series finale.

RU-DY, RU-DY
Rott put together a monster weekend to help Ohio sweep Towson. Rott hit a team-best .727 with both a team-best 1.273 slugging percentage and a team-best .813 on-base percentage, collected a team-high eight hits -- including a team-high two home runs -- to go along with a team-high five walks and a team-high four RBIs. He also tied for second on the team with three runs scored. Rott finished 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in the 5-2 win in the series opener. He then finished 2-for-4 with a home run and drew a pair of walks as the Bobcats hung on to beat Towson on Saturday. Rott closed out the weekend with another big performance, going 3-for-3 with his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the Sunday series finale. He also drew two walks. His two-out, three-run blast highlighted a five-run top of the sixth inning that put Ohio in position to pull off the come-from-behind triumph.

Through 26 games in 2018, Rott leads the Bobcats in batting average (.368), slugging percentage (.604), on-base percentage (.464), hits (39), doubles (10), home runs (5), walks (16), RBIs (21) and runs scored (24). He ranks tops among MAC batters in hits, second in doubles, fourth in slugging percentage and fifth in both on-base percentage and home runs. He has tallied a team-high 12 multi-hit games this season -- including a team-high four with at least three hits.

HIT PARADE
Ohio ranks as one of the MAC's top hitting teams. The Bobcats lead the league with a .420 slugging percentage (64th in the country), 257 hits (99th in the country), 47 doubles (108th in the country), 25 home runs (41st in the country) and 154 runs scored (127th in the country) and rank second with a .279 batting average (83rd in the country) and third with a .365 on-base percentage (126th in the country).

Rott is one of eight Ohio players with at least 20 hits for the Bobcats this year. Giannini is second on the team with 30 hits -- including seven doubles, which is tied for second on the team.  Junior outfielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) is third on the team with 28 hits. Sophomore infielder Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) is fourth on the squad with 27 hits and is also tied for second on the team with seven doubles and ranks third with 18 RBIs. Piechick has collected 26 hits to rank fifth on the team -- including four home runs, which is tied for second on the squad. His .329 batting average is good for second on the team. Sargent has posted 25 hits to rank sixth on the team and is fourth on the squad with 17 RBIs. Redshirt senior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfied Hills, Mich.) is seventh on the team with 24 hits. He also ranks third on the squad with a .312 batting average. Levy has tallied 22 hits to rank eighth on the team and is tied for second on the team with four homers.

The Bobcats are one of 16 teams in the country that have had at least 10 different players hit a home run this season.

SOLID PITCHING
Ohio owns a 4.07 team earned run average, which is best in the MAC. One Bobcat pitcher owns a sub-one ERA in double-digit appearances on the mound -- redshirt junior right-hander Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.), who sports a 0.69 ERA over 12 appearances. Freshman righty Eddie Kutt (Westlake, Calif.) owns a 2.10 ERA in 12 relief appearances. His 25.2 innings pitched leads the Bobcats' bullpen, and his 18 strikeouts leads Ohio relievers and are tied for third-most on the pitching staff. Redshirt senior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) has also struck out 18 while redshirt senior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing(Mayfield, Ohio) is right behind both Kutt and Roehn with 17 strikeouts.

Salisbury leads Ohio with 39.1 innings pitched and 32 strikeouts. Senior right-handed starter Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) is second on the team in both innings pitched (34.0) and strikeouts (31). Redshirt senior right-handed starting pitcher/designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), who is 3-0 in six appearances and 28.1 innings of work on the mound (third-most on the team) is sixth on the team with 16 strikeouts. 

Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Rob Smith, who also serves as the Bobcats' pitching coach, Ohio established itself as one of the top pitching staffs in the MAC in 2017. The Bobcats owned a 4.42 team ERA, which ranked second-best in the league. Ohio also ranked second in walks allowed per nine innings (4.12), third in strikeouts per nine innings (8.2) and fourth in hits allowed per nine innings (9.12). The Bobcats' pitching staff logged a program-record 483 strikeouts, breaking the previous mark of 420 set in 2003. Ohio's pitching staff recorded five shutout victories in 2017 after posting just one in 52 games in '16.

ROEHN BREAKS OHIO'S CAREER SAVES RECORD
Roehn closed out Ohio's 6-5 win in the second game of the Feb. 17 doubleheader against Rider, earning his 23rd career save to break the program record, which was previously held by Chad Reed (22; 1989-92). Roehn threw the final 1.2 frames, striking out five while allowing just one hit.

Roehn earned his second save of the year in Ohio's 7-5 victory over Maine in game one of the Saturday doubleheader two weekends ago. Roehn picked up his third save of the season in Ohio's 4-1 win over Nebraska Omaha in game one of the Saturday doubleheader. He entered in the bottom of the ninth and retired to the side to seal the victory, tallying his program-record 25th save of his career. Roehn earned two saves at Towson, bringing his career total to 27 after closing out the Bobcats' Friday and Saturday victories over the Tigers.

Roehn was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's 2018 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List and was also named a 2018 Collegiate Baseball Preseason Third Team All-American. He tallied a program-record 15 saves in 2017 to earn First Team All-MAC honors.

TURNING TWO
Ohio has turned 26 double plays so far in 2018, which is tops among MAC teams and ranks 34th in the country. The Bobcats' two new middle infielders -- Hafner, a transfer from Sinclair Community College, and Levy have begun to develop a good rapport, with Levy being a part of 16 of Ohio's twin killings and Hafner chipping in on 13.

SCOUTING TOLEDO
Toledo enters this weekend's series with Ohio with an overall record of 7-17. The Rockets have dropped three of their last four contests -- including a 2-1 series loss to Miami in Oxford, Ohio, last weekend. Toledo evened the series with an 8-4 win last Saturday after dropping the Friday (March 30) series opener, 8-7, but was edged in the Sunday series finale, 7-6. The Rockets were scheduled to play at Michigan on Wednesday (April 4), but the contest was cancelled due to weather.

Cory Mee is in his 15th season as the head coach of the Rockets. Toledo finished 17-41 overall and 9-15 in MAC play a season ago. Mee has taken the Rockets to the MAC tournament nine times during his tenure at Toledo.

As a team, the Rockets are tied for the MAC team in triples (6; 104th in the country) and rank second in the league in home runs (21; 84th in the country) and third in slugging percentage (.395; 121st in the country) and doubles (45; 126th in the country). Toledo ranks last in the MAC in team earned run average (6.85) and walks allowed per nine innings (6.72).

Junior outfielder Ross Adolph is Toledo's top hitter, batting a team-best .333 with a team-best .708 slugging percentage and a team-best .448 on-base percentage. He has collected a team-high 32 hits -- including a team-high nine doubles, three triples and seven home runs -- to go along with a team-high 27 RBIs and a team-high 25 runs scored. Freshman outfielder/right-handed pitcher John Servello is hitting .322 and ranks second on the team with 28 hits and third with five doubles. Senior infielder Matt Hansen is batting .313 with 25 ranks to rank third on the squad -- including six doubles, which ranks second on the team, and three home runs, which ranks third on the team.

Toledo's Friday and Saturday projected starting pitchers -- junior southpaw Michael Jacob and senior right-handers Sam Shutes -- are the top arms for the Rockets. Jacobs has thrown a team-high 39.2 innings. Shutes is 5-0 in seven starts on the mound, striking out a team-high 40 over 39.1 frames.

Ohio and Toledo will be squaring off for the first time since May 1-3, 2015, when the Rockets took two of three games from the Bobcats at Bob Wren Stadium. Toledo rolled to an 11-2 victory in the opener, but Ohio bounced back with a 7-4 triumph the following day. The Rockets prevailed in 15 innings in the series finale, though, 6-4. The year before, Ohio visited Toledo at Scott Park April 18-20, 2014. The Rockets took the series, 2-1. Toledo earned a 3-0 win in game one. The Bobcats recorded a 3-2 win in 10 innings the following day, but the Rockets won the finale, 7-4.

UP NEXT
Ohio makes the drive to Columbus to battle in-state rival Ohio State next Tuesday (April 10) in a 6:35 p.m. ET matchup at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET. The Bobcats will then play their second midweek game in as many days when they play host to Shawnee State on Wednesday at Bob Wren Stadium.

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