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Midweek Games At Ohio State, Against Shawnee State On Deck For Ohio Baseball

Midweek Games At Ohio State, Against Shawnee State On Deck For Ohio Baseball

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By Mike Ashcraft
OhioBobcats.com

Ohio at Ohio State: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 | 5:05 p.m. ET | Bill Davis Stadium | Columbus, Ohio | BTN Plus ($) | Gametracker
Probable Starting Pitchers: Ohio R-Sr. RHP Cory Blessing vs. Ohio State So. RHP Jake Vance

Ohio vs. Shawnee State: Saturday, April 11, 2018 | 6 p.m. ET | Bob Wren Stadium | Athens, Ohio | OhioBobcatTV Live Stream | PrestoSports PrimeTime
Probable Starting Pitchers: Ohio TBA vs. Shawnee State TBA

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (15-14) steps away from Mid-American Conference play for two midweek matchups this week. The Bobcats make the drive to Columbus to battle in-state rival Ohio State (20-10) on Tuesday (April 10) at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. ET. The contest will be broadcast on BTN Plus ($). Ohio will then play its second midweek game in as many days when it plays host to Shawnee State on Wednesday (April 11) at Bob Wren Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. ET. The contest will be streamed live by OhioBobcatTV via YouTube, with Connor Mills and Brad Walker on the call.

BOBCATS IN MIDWEEK ACTION
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.).

OHIO SITS AT 4-5 IN MAC PLAY
Ohio owns a 4-5 record in MAC play through the first three weeks of the league schedule.

The Bobcats dropped two of three games last weekend to Toledo at Scott Park.

Junior center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) belted a grand slam in the top of the fourth inning to help set the tone for Ohio in a 15-4 blowout win over Toledo in the MAC weekend series opener on a very windy Friday (April 6) at Scott Park. The Bobcats pounded out double-digit runs on double-digit hits for the second game in a row and seventh time in 2018. Four Ohio hitters recorded multi-hit efforts. Sophomore left fielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) went 4-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. He recorded his 10th multi-hit game of the year and first of his career with at least four hits. Piechnick has a current team-high nine-game hitting streak going. Freshman second baseman Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) -- the reigning MAC Player of the Week -- finished 3-for-4 with a three-run home run in the sixth. He also walked twice and scored three runs. Garcia added a single to go along with his grand slam to tally his ninth multi-hit game of the season. He scored two runs. Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) singled twice, walked, drove in two runs and scored another. He posted his team-high 13th multi-hit game of the year. During the offensive onslaught by Ohio, redshirt senior southpaw starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) gave the Bobcats another strong start on the mound. The reigning MAC Pitcher of the Week worked six innings, striking out four while permitting four runs -- two of which were earned -- on eight hits and a walk. He earned the win on the mound to improve to 4-4 on the season. Junior righty Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) tossed two scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and a walk. Redshirt junior right-hander Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.) pitched a scoreless ninth inning and alloed just one hit. 

Unfortunately, Toledo prevailed over Ohio in the final two games of the series. The Rockets put together a late rally to knock off the Bobcats, 3-2, on Saturday (April 7), then clinched the series with an 8-1 victory in the Sunday (April 8) series finale.

Ohio improved to 3-3 in MAC play after taking two of three games from Northern Illinois the previous 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.

Ohio lost two of three games at Bowling Green 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.

Piechnick is off to a hot start to league play, hitting a team-best .444 with a team-best .722 slugging percentage and team-best .487 on-base percentage. He has collected a team-high 16 hits -- including two doubles, a triple and two home runs.

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 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. Giannini led the way with a pair of home runs. Also going deep for the Bobcats were Piechnick, Klein and Sargent.

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 29 games in 2018, Rott leads the Bobcats in batting average (.371), slugging percentage (.621), on-base percentage (.468), hits (43), doubles (11), home runs (6), walks (19), RBIs (25) and runs scored (26). He is tied for the MAC lead in hits and doubles and ranks second in batting average and slugging percentage, tied for third in home runs and fourth in on-base percentage.

HIT PARADE
Ohio ranks as one of the MAC's top hitting teams. The Bobcats lead the league with a .416 slugging percentage (71st in the country), 283 hits (98th in the country), 51 doubles (104th in the country) and 28 home runs (43rd in the country) and rank second with a .276 batting average (91st in the country), a .366 on-base percentage (120th in the country) and 172 runs scored (126th in the country)

Rott is one of seven Ohio players with at least 25 hits for the Bobcats this year. Garcia is second on the team with 32 hits and has a team-high two triples. Sophomore infielder Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) is third on the squad with 31 hits and is also tied for second on the team with seven doubles and ranks fourth with 18 RBIs. Giannini and Piechnick are tied for fourth on the team with 30 hits. Giannini's seven doubles are tied with Hafner for second on the team while Piechnick ranks third on the team with four home runs. Sargent has posted has posted 28 hits to rank sixth on the team and is tied for second on the squad with 19 RBIs. Levy has tallied 26 hits to rank seventh on the team. He is second on the squad with five home runs and is fifth with 17 RBIs. 

SOLID PITCHING
Ohio owns a 4.10 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 0.60 ERA over 14 appearances. Freshman righty Eddie Kutt (Westlake, Calif.) owns a 3.08 ERA in 13 relief appearances. His 26.1 innings pitched leads the Bobcats' bullpen, and his 19 strikeouts are tied for the lead among Ohio relievers and are also tied for third-most on the pitching staff. Redshirt senior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) has also struck out 19 while redshirt senior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) is right behind both Kutt and Roehn with 17 strikeouts. Blessing's 23.0 innings pitched are right behind Kutt for second among Ohio's relievers.

Salisbury leads Ohio with 45.1 innings pitched and ranks second with 36 strikeouts. Senior right-handed starter Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) leads the team with 37 strikeouts and is second on the team in innings pitched (38.2). Klein, who is 3-0 in seven appearances and 29.0 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. 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 28 double plays so far in 2018, which is tops among MAC teams and ranks 37th 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 17 of Ohio's twin killings and Hafner chipping in on 13.

SCOUTING OHIO STATE
Ohio State enter Tuesday's game against Ohio with a record of 20-10. The Buckeyes most recently dropped two of three games in a Big Ten Conference series at Iowa last weekend. Ohio State took game one of a Saturday doubleheader, 2-1, but lost the second game of the twin bill, 9-5, and dropped the Sunday series finale, 2-1.

Greg Beals is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Buckeyes. Ohio State, which finished 22-34 a season ago. In 2016, Beals led the Buckeyes to one of the top seasons in Ohio State baseball history with a 44-20-1 record. Ohio State won the Big Ten Conference Tournament and earned an NCAA tournament berth.

Senior utility player Noah McGowan is Ohio States top hitter, batting a team-best .412 with a team-best .731 slugging percentage and a team-best .479 on-base percentage. He has collected a team-high 49 hits  -- including a team-high 15 doubles and seven home runs -- to go along with a team-high 40 RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Dominic Canzone is hitting at a .372 clip with 48 hits on the year to rank second behind McGowan while senior outfielder Tyler Cowles is third with a .366 batting average and 41 hits.

Sophomore right-hander Jake Vance is scheduled to get the start on the mound for Ohio State on Tuesday. He is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in seven appearances and two starts, striking out 15 while giving up just four earned runs on 13 hits and five walks over 15.1 frames.

The Bobcats and the Buckeyes are set to square off for the fifth year in a row. Ohio State blanked Ohio, 3-0, March 28, 2017, at Bill Davis Stadium in the last meeting between the two squads.

SCOUTING SHAWNEE STATE
Shawnee State entered the week with a record of 12-18 and is led by fourth-year head coach Chris Moore.

The Bobcats and the Bears will square off for the second year in a row at Bob Wren Stadium. Ohio defeated Shawnee State, 9-1, on March 16, 2017.

UP NEXT
Bob Wren Stadium plays host to its second MAC series of 2018 when Ohio welcomes Eastern Michigan to Athens for a three-game set this weekend (April 13-15).

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