AVON, Ohio – Behind a complete game from senior RHP Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind), the No. 6 Ohio Baseball team (19-32) took down No. 3 Kent State (30-23), 7-3, in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Sprenger Stadium.
Ohio will stay in the winner's bracket and will take on No. 1 Central Michigan tomorrow at 2 p.m. The full bracket and championship schedule can be found here.
"He's (Kenny Ogg) had a lot of really good outings against Kent State and he did it again today," head coach Rob Smith said. "He was tough, he had just the one strikeout but he kept getting them to beat the ball on the ground and made pitches when he had to. He just pitched his tail off."
Ogg tossed all 9.0 innings while allowing three earned runs. Ogg limited the offense all day, spreading out nine hits and walking two batters while striking out one. Ogg improved to 4-8 this season and now has two complete game wins.
Both junior C Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) and sophomore INF Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit home runs in the win. Piechnick ended the day 2-for-4 with four RBI and one run scored while Levy was 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
"Tanner's that kind of player and he's really stepped up in some big moments going back to the walk-off grand slam against Central Michigan" Smith added. "That played a key role in us getting to the Tournament. He had a home run in game one against Western Michigan and obviously today with not only the homer but the base hit to right field that scored one. Beyond that, he's caught exceptionally well."
Redshirt junior Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.) ripped two doubles. Senior INF Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) also had a double, and now has 285 hits in his career. Rott is one behind the all-time leader, Jake Madsen, who had 286 hits in his career.
Ohio jumped out early to a five-run lead in the first inning. Sophomore INF Treyben Funderburg (Beavercreek, Ohio) – who reached on a single – scored on a wild pitch to give Ohio the lead. After an error scored Rott, Piechnick hit a three run home run to left field to score redshirt freshman Trevor Lukkes (Tustin, Calif.) and redshirt sophomore Michael Richardson (Cambridge, Md.) and put Ohio up 5-0.
"It's huge. It doesn't take away confidence, that's for sure." Ogg said on pitching with a five run lead. Getting the five run lead is huge. You can go out there and just pitch knowing you don't have to play for that one run."
Kent State scored in the bottom of the sixth on a Kian O'Brien groundout.
Levy got that run back in the in the top of the seventh with a home run to straightaway cent field. Piechnick then tacked on a run with his fourth RBI of the day after putting a single through the right side of the infield to score Rott.
Kent State was able to put two runners on in the ninth but Ogg finished the complete game.