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EMERSON, Ga. -- Junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) rewarded the pitching staff for a strong collective effort by lifting a sacrifice fly to left field to score senior pinch runner Mateus Vakuda (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and plate the decisive run in the top of the 13th inning as the Ohio baseball team (5-3) defeated SIU Edwardsville (4-4), 2-1, on Sunday (Feb. 26).
Redshirt junior right-handed starting pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), senior righty Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio), redshirt junior right-hander Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) and senior lefty Matt Mikolajczak (New Lenox, Ill.) combined for a masterful effort on the mound for Bobcats, holding the Cougars to just one earned run on eight hits and two walks over 13 frames. Klein recorded nine strikeouts in five innings while Rudnicki tallied seven in four innings of relief. Roehn, who earned his second win on the bump in as many days, fanned four in three innings. Mikolajczak tossed a scoreless 13th to nail down his first career save.
Four Bobcats enjoyed a multi-hit game in the win over the Cougars. Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI while redshirt junior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) doubled and singled. Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) junior right fielder/first baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) each tallied two base hits.
Rott got Ohio's final push toward its fifth win of the 2017 season started with a leadoff double to open the 13th. Klein then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Vakuda, who entered to pinch run for Rott, to third base. That set the table for Bourn to bring home Vakuda with a sacrifice fly.
After giving up a leadoff single to SIU Edwardsville junior right fielder Dustin Woodcock, Mikolajczak put three straight outs in the scorebook to secure the win for the Bobcats.
Ohio took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) led off with a double and scored one out later on a single by Rott.
SIU Edwardsville managed to even the score in the fourth. Sophomore catcher Brock Weimer coaxed a one-out walk, moved up to second base on a balk and then scored one out later courtesy of a single by redshirt junior first baseman Jared McCunn.
Rudnicki helped keep the score tied by pitching four spotless innings of relief. Roehn came out of the bullpen in the 10th and worked out of several jams. In the bottom of the 10th, McCunn singled led off with a single and was replaced by junior pinch runner Marty Brunk, who moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore left fielder Jackson Layton and a fly out to right by junior shortstop Mario Tursi. The potential winning run was left stranded at third for the Cougars, though, when Roehn got redshirt freshman center fielder Eric Giltz to ground out to second. Woodcock led off the 11th with a single and stole second, but Roehn got senior Alec Skender second baseman and senior designated hitter Keaton Wright out on back-to-back strikeouts and forced Weimer to fly out to left to end the inning. Redshirt senior third baseman Jordan Stading led off the 12th with a bunt single, and freshman first baseman Jordan Humphries put two on with nobody out for the Cougars when he was hit by a pitch. Roehn buckled down again, though, getting Layton and Tursi on back-to-back strikeouts and extinguishing the threat with a line out to right by Giltz.
Woodcock and McCunn accounted for four of SIU Edwardsville's eight hits with each tallying a pair of singles.
Sophomore right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Hutchinson was tagged with the pitching defeat for the Cougars, permitting one earned run on three hits in 2.1 frames. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Brendan Miller gave SIU Edwardsville six innings of work, striking out four while surrendering an earned run on five hits and a walk. Freshman righty Devin Colley, junior right-hander Mason McReaken and senior southpaw Anthony Sitko combined for 4.2 scoreless innings of relief for the Cougars, with McReaken posting three strikeouts over three innings.
The extra-innings triumph in the finale allowed Ohio to finish the weekend series with a pair of wins over SIU Edwardsville. After suffering a 2-1 loss to the Cougars in the opener on Friday (Feb. 24), the Bobcats bounced back by rallying from a 4-1 deficit by scoring five runs over the final three frames in a 6-4 come-from-behind win in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 26). SIU Edwardsville emerged victorious in the second game of the twin bill, 7-4.
Ohio wraps up its stay in Emerson, Ga., by taking on Alabama State (2-6) on Tuesday (Feb. 28) in a 1 p.m. ET matchup.