ATHENS, Ohio – Riding a three-game winning streak, the Ohio Baseball (8-18, 3-3 MAC) team will continue Mid-American Conference play at Northern Illinois (7-21, 3-3 MAC) this weekend. Ohio will start the series on Friday at 4 p.m. ET, play Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and wrap up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
The entire series can be heard on 1340 WOUB AM with Voice of the Bobcats Russ Eisenstein on the call. Fans can watch the series on NIU's website.
PROBABLE STARTERS AND LINKS
FRIDAY: RHP Kenny Ogg (1-5, 5.65 ERA) vs. LHP Erik Hedmark (1-3, 3.47 ERA)
SATURDAY: Jack Liberatore (3-3, 2.57 ERA) vs RHP Will Anderson (0-1, 4.20 ERA)
SUNDAY: TBD vs. RHP Michael Lasiewicz (4-3, 4.93 ERA)
MORE ON THE PROBABLE STARTERS:
OGG: Senior RHP Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) has an ERA of 5.65 in 36.2 innings pitched. Ogg already has his career high of strikeouts in a season with 33. Ogg picked up a win against Dayton where he went 6.0 innings without allowing an earned run. Against USC Upstate, Ogg fanned a season-high eight batters and allowed just one earned run.
LIBERATORE: Redshirt freshman Jack Liberatore (Greensburg, Pa.) has a team starter-best 3-3 this season with an ERA of 2.57. Liberatore has wins over USC Upstate, Army and Bowling Green. Liberatore has a season-high seven strikeouts this season and has fanned six batters three times.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore INF Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) earned Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday (April 1) for his efforts in Ohio Baseball's (7-18, 3-3 MAC) series win over Bowling Green last weekend.
Levy hit a team best .545 over the weekend, helping the Bobcats score 27 runs in Ohio's first series win this season. The Bobcats put up 12 runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Levy drove in four RBI and scored six runs. Levy had an impressive .667 on-base percentage after putting a double, home run and four singles while adding four walks. Levy had a 10 total bases, one behind the team-best of 11 from redshirt freshman OF Trevor Lukkes (Tustin, Calif.).
The Cincinnati native was 3-for-5 with a double and one RBI in Ohio's 12-4 win on Sunday. On Saturday, Levy reached base four times after walking three times and a single. Levy scored one run and knocked in one RBI in the 12-2 victory over the Falcons. Levy went deep in the series opener and brought home two RBI.
Levy is hitting a team-best .467 in conference play this season with five RBI and 11 total bases. Levy's slugging percentage is .733 and he's scored three runs during MAC play. Levy his hitting .227 in 23 games this season and has 10 total RBI, the second most on the team.
CRUSHING IT AGAINST BOWLING GREEN
The offense was on fire in Ohio's series against the Falcons. Ohio hit an impressive .342 and scored 27 runs, including 12 in back-to-back wins on Saturday and Sunday. Ohio was led by Levy who it .545. Trevor Lukkes hit .429 and led the team with 11 total base and had two doubles and one home run. Treyben Funderburg hit .417 with a double and three RBI and Michael Richardson hit .400 and with a .538 on-base percentage while bringing in two RBI.
GREAT IN RELIEF AGAINST THE FALCONS
Edward Kutt IV (Westlake, Calif.) was tremendous in two relief appearances over the weekend. On Sunday, Kutt IV tossed 6.0 innings of relief to earn his first win of the season. Kutt IV allowed just one earned run and struck out a season-high eight batters. Kutt IV allowed just three batters to reach on in Saturday in 3.0 innings.
Ohio has five batters hitting over .300 in MAC play this season. Two Bobcats – Aaron Levy (.467) and Michael Richardson (.455) – are hitting over .400 while Trevor Lukkes (.346), Cole Revels (.333) and Trevor Hafner (.304) are hitting over .300.
Levy is leading the way with a slugging percentage of .733 and an on-base percentage of .600 and has the fourth-best MAC only batting average.
Lukkes is second in the league in doubles during MAC play with four.
WALK OFF GRAND SLAM
The Bobcats found themselves down 11-7 in the ninth inning of the second game of the series against Central Michigan. After Rott singled to cut the lead to 11-8, Tanner Piechnick hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game for Ohio, 12-11.
Freshman RHP Braxton Kelly (Ulysses, Ky.) earned his first collegiate win after tossing the ninth. He pitched 1.0 innings and allowed two runs to score.
Ohio finished the series against CMU 1-2.
GOOD FIRST MAC WEEKEND FOR RICHARDSON AND ROTT
Michael Richardson was Ohio's best hitter against Central Michigan, hitting an impressive .500 (6-of-12) with eight total bases. Richardson ripped two doubles last weekend and came around to score four times. Richardson had a slugging percentage of .667.
Rudy Rott was impressive as well, reaching base eight times. Rott smacked one home run and and had three singles, while walking four times. Rott's on-base percentage was a team-high .615 and he drove in three RBI and scored two runs.
Sophomore LHP Brett Manis (Port Huron, Mich.) has been phenomenal this season out of the bullpen. Manis has a save in four of Ohio's wins this season, and has not allowed just five earned runs in 15.2 innings pitched this season. Manis has fanned 20 batters this season, already his high for a season.
GOOD WAY TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN
Redshirt freshman Jack Liberatore (Greensburg, Pa.) was phenomenal in the second game of the doubleheader against USC Upstate where Ohio earned its second win of the season in a 2-1 win over the Spartans. Liberatore tossed 7.0 innings of shutout baseball allowed just five runners to reach base. Liberatore earned his first win of his collegiate career and improved to 1-1 this season. Liberatore's season ERA is an impressive 1.15 ERA, the best among Bobcat starters. The Greensburg, Pa. native has allowed just two runs in 15.2 innings and allowed just 18 runners to reach base while striking out 14 batters this season.
NO EARNED RUNS AND A WIN
Ohio took down Dayton, 4-2, behind a quality start from senior RHP Kenny Ogg. He arned his first win of the season after not allowing an earned run over 6.0 innings as the starter. Ogg struck out three batters in the win and allowed just six batters to reach base after allowing one walk and five hits. Two runs crossed the plate while Ogg was on the mound, both unearned.
Rob Smith enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Ohio baseball program in 2019. The Bobcats have won two Mid-American Conference tournament titles and have made two NCAA Championship appearances during his time at Ohio. Ohio had made just two NCAA tournament appearance in the 43 seasons prior to the 2015 campaign.
Senior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) was named to the 2019 Collegiate Baeball All-America Third team in December. Rott was the 2018 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, an All-MAC First Team member and made the All-MAC Defensive Team. In 2016, Rott was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.
Rott led the Bobcats in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.440), hits (76), doubles (15), home runs (15), walks (30), RBIs (50) and runs scored (48) last season, setting or tying career highs in every category. He also tied for the team lead with two triples. Rott tied for the MAC lead in hits and home runs and ranked second in slugging percentage and RBIs, third in batting average and fifth in runs scored. His 140 total bases were good for a conference-high, ranked 17th in the nation and tied him for the 10th-most in a single season in Ohio history. He led Ohio with 24 multi-hit games – including a team-high eight with at least three hits – and also led the Bobcats with 15 multi-RBI games.
In conference play, Rott sported a team-best .333 batting average, a team-best .620 slugging percentage and a team-best .498 on-base percentage. He tallied a team-high 36 hits -- including a team-high eight doubles and seven home runs -- to go along with a team-high 27 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
RUDY THIS SEASON
So far this season for Rott is hitting .300 (30-of-100) with eight doubles and four home runs so far this season with a team-high of 21 RBI. Rott has scored 15 runs and has a .368 on-base percentage. Rott has swiped five bases season.
OHIO PICKED SIXTH IN MAC
Ohio Baseball team has been selected sixth in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, the league announced on Wednesday (Feb. 13). The poll was voted on by the league's 10 head coaches.
The Bobcats earned 49 votes and was selected in front of Eastern Michigan (45), Western Michigan (42), Northern Illinois (29) and Bowling Green. NIU received one vote to win the conference this season.
Selected in front of Ohio was Kent State (98), Ball State (88), Miami (78), Central Michigan (53) and Toledo (51). Kent State received eight votes to win the league, while Miami received one vote for first place.
FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
Ohio earned the first win of the season during game two of the three game series with Wofford. Ohio won the game, 6-2, and freshman LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.) earned his first win of his collegiate career after coming in during the fourth inning and tossing 2.2 innings. Rock gave up two earned runs while striking out three batters. Rock faced 13 batters and walked just one.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Northern Illinois is 3-3 in the MAC this season and 7-21. NIU swept Eastern Michigan in the MAC opening weekend and was swept by Central Michigan the following week. NIU is on a five-game losing streak with losses to UIC, CMU and Milwaukee. Jake Dunham leads the way for the Huskies with a .308 batting average. Dunham has a team-high 18 RBI and has scored 16 runs. Kyle Seebach has the teams best ERA with a 3.38. He's pitched 10.2 innings all out of the pen.
WELCOME TO OHIO
Ohio is welcoming 10 to the team this season. Ohio has eight true freshman - RHP Matt Brosky (Strongsville, Ohio) INF Ryan Strittmather (Vermillion, Ohio), C/INF Zyon Avery (Indianapolis, Ind.), RHP Braxton Kelly (Ulysses, Ky.), LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.), INF Evan Fromwiller (Aurora, Ohio), INF/RHP Colin Sells (Lancaster, Ohio), INF Xavier Haendiges (Salem, Ind.) and RHP Eamon Horwedel (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Ohio has one Junior college transfer, redshirt sophomore Michael Richardson (Cambridge, Maryland/Harford Community College). The Bobcats have one transfer from a four-year school, junior INF Joe Weisenseel (Strongsville, Ohio/Penn State).