LEXINGTON, S.C. -- Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) went 3-for-3 with a three-run home run to help the Ohio baseball team (1-0) thump La Salle (0-1), 10-2, in the 2017 season opener on Friday (Feb. 17) at Lexington County Baseball Stadium.
Klein drove in four runs and scored two for the Bobcats. He also drew a walk.
Redshirt junior southpaw starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) gave Ohio a solid 5.1 innings of work on the mound, fanning eight while giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks en route to picking up the victory.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.), senior right-hander Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.), redshirt junior righty Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) and freshman lefty Nick Byrnes (Cincinnati, Ohio) combined to toss 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Bobcats. Ogg struck out one while Colletti, Blessing and Byrnes each recorded two strikeouts.
La Salle grabbed a 2-0 edge in the top of the second inning. Sophomore third baseman Kevin McGowan led off with a single back up the middle, and sophomore left fielder Connor Hinchliffe coaxed a walk one out later. Sophomore designated hitter Ben Faso plated the contest's first run with a base hit up the middle that scored McGowan. Freshman catcher Ryan Guckin then pushed Hinchliffe across with a single to center.
Graduate right-handed pitcher Jared Mattera had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning, but Ohio's bats proceeded to break the game open with a five-run frame. Senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) drew a leadoff walk to get things started. Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) came through with Ohio's first hit one out later. Klein then singled home Ibarra with a base hit to center for Ohio's first RBI of the new season. Junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) loaded the bases with a walk, and junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) drew a base on balls to bump home Rott to tie the game and chase Mattera from the mound. Freshman left-handed pitcher Jackson Ray hit senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) with a pitch to score Klein and put Ohio in front. Bourn scored for the Bobcats when senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.) reached on an error. Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) made it 5-2 in favor of the Bobcats when he lifted a sacrifice fly to center than allowed Giannini to tag up and score.
Ohio's lead swelled to 10-2 when the Bobcats plated five more in the seventh. Ibarra once again got things rolling, this time with a single up the middle. Senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) reached on an error, and Klein made the Explorers pay one out later with a three-run blast to left. Bourn followed up the dinger with a double to right. Finkler drew a walk one out later, and he scored on a passed ball after Bourn scored on a wild pitch.
Mattera was saddled with the loss for the Explorers, surrendering five runs -- three of which were earned -- on two hits and four walks. He struck out two over 3.1 innings.
Ohio will take on La Salle again on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 11 a.m. ET before taking on Butler at 3 p.m. ET.