ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (15-14, 3-2 MAC) suffered two tough losses to Mid-American Conference West Division foe Central Michigan (16-14, 5-0 MAC) in a Saturday (April 8) doubleheader at Bob Wren Stadium, falling in 12 innings by a score of 6-2 in game one and then losing game two, 10-8, despite battling back from a nine-run deficit to make it a two-run ballgame heading into the bottom of the ninth.
"It was unfortunate we had the games flip-flopped today," said fifth-year head coach Rob Smith. "We pitched extremely well in game one and couldn't score, and then in game two we certainly did not pitch well at all. That's how you get swept in a doubleheader, unfortunately."
Game 1 -- Central Michigan 6, Ohio 2 (12 innings)
The Bobcats erased a two-run deficit, but Ohio was unable to cash in on two bases-loaded opportunities as the Chippewas made them pay with a four-run top of the 12th to take game one.
Senior shortstop Alex Borglin led off the contest with a home run to right for Central Michigan. The Chippewas made it a 2-0 lead in the fourth when sophomore first baseman Evan Kratt singled down the left field line and scored one out later on a double down the left field line by senior catcher Robert Greenman.
Ohio tallied runs in the home half of both the fourth and fifth innings to even the score, though. Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) led off with a walk and scored on a triple to center by senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) to make it a one-run game in the fourth. The Bobcats tied the contest in the ensuing frame when senior left fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) sent a two-out triple to center and then scored on a double by sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.).
Redshirt southpaw starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) provided the Bobcats with seven strong innings, allowing just two earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three. Senior right-handed reliever Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) entered from the bullpen in the top of the eighth and pitched into the 12th for Ohio. He struck out seven and gave up just two hits in his first four innings of work on the mound.
Unfortunately, Ohio stranded the go-ahead run on third in the seventh, then left the bases loaded in both the ninth and 11th with opportunities for a walk-off win.
The Chippewas made Ohio pay in the top of the 12th by scoring four runs on three hits. Freshman third baseman Reed Adams led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt by sophomore Ty Rollin, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored the go-ahead run on a safetly squeeze that allowed sophomore second baseman Jason Sullivan to reach safely on the fielder's choice. Borglin, who had drawn a walk, and Sullivan both scored on a single to center by junior left fielder Daniel Jipping, then Jipping scored Central Michigan's final insurance run on a two-out base hit to center by Kratt.
Junior righty Colton Bradley came on to pitch in the bottom of the 12th for Central Michigan and retired Ohio in order to end the game.
Greenman led the Chippewas at the plate with a pair of doubles and drove in a run while Kratt tallied two singles, drove in a run and scored another. Jipping finished 1-for-3 with two walks, two RBIs and a run scored. Borglin homered for the first time in 2017 and drew two walks and scored two runs. Sophomore right fielder Daniel Robinson coaxed three walks.
Sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Dazon Cole gave Central Michigan 8.2 strong innings on the mound, fanning two while permitting just two earned runs on six hits and three walks. Sophomore right-hander Michael Brettell improved to 4-1 on the season after throwing two scoreless frames of relief. He struck out four while surrendering just two hits and a walk.
Rudnicki was saddled with the pitching defeat for Ohio, dropping to 0-3 on the season. He gave up three earned runs on three hits and three walks over 4.1 innings.
The Bobcats fell despite a 4-for-5 effort by Ibarra that included a triple, a walk and a run scored. He has now totaled a team-high 10 multi-hit games for the Bobcats this season, and his four hits in game one set a new career high.
Game 2 -- Central Michigan 10, Ohio 8
The Chippewas jumped on the Bobcats early with seven runs over the first two frames. Borglin drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a passed ball to give Central Michigan a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Greenman led off the second with a home run to left. Sophomore designated hitter David Cole drew a walk, then Dazon Cole coaxed a walk one out later. Borglin followed with a single through the right side to load the bases. Sullivan lifted a sacrifice fly to left to allow David Cole to tag up and score from third to make it 3-0 in favor of the visitors. After Robinson drew a walk to reload the bases for the Chippewas, Jipping delivered a two-out grand slam to left to break the contest wide open.
Ohio broke through in the fourth when Klein hit a leadoff single through the right side and later scored on an RBI groundout by junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.), but Central Michigan answered right back with three more runs in the fifth to take a 10-1 lead. Greenman and David Cole drew back-to-back two-out walks. With both in scoring position after a single by Adams, Dazon Cole delivered a two-RBI single to right center. Adams then scored what proved to be Central Michigan's final run of the game when Dazon Cole got caught in a rundown.
The Bobcats kept plugging away, though. Ohio scored two in the sixth. Redshirt junior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) led off with a double to right center, advanced to third on a single to right by Klein and then scored on a base hit to left by Black. Klein tagged up and scored Ohio's third run of the game when Giannini lifted a sacrifice fly to center.
Ohio then struck for five runs in the seventh to make it a two-run game. Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) was hit by a pitch to lead the home half of the frame off, then junior Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) drew a pinch-hit walk. Ibarra then coaxed a walk to load the bases with Bobcats. Finkler and Bourn both scored on a Central Michigan error that allowed Bredeson to reach safely. Rott then delivered a three-run blast to right -- his first homer of the season -- to cut Central Michigan's lead to 10-8.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, freshman left-handed reliever Jake Raether and Bradley kept Ohio off of the scoreboard in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to seal the win for the Chippewas.
Freshman left-handed starting pitcher Tyler Hankins earned the win on the mound for Central Michigan despite allowing six runs -- four of which were earned -- on six hits and four walks over six frames. He struck out one. Bradley pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two to pick up his fifth save.
Junior southpaw starting pitcher Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) suffered his first defeat of the year, falling to 4-1 on the season. He gave up seven earned runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out one. Senior lefty Matt Mikolajczak (New Lenox, Ill.), redshirt sophomore right-hander Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.), senior righty Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) and redshirt junior right-hander Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) combined to toss four scoreless innings of relief.
Bredeson and Klein each recorded multi-hit games for the Bobcats. Ibarra drew three walks.
Ohio will look to get back on track when it takes on Central Michigan on Sunday (April 9) in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Klein will start on the mound for the Bobcats and oppose sophomore right-hander Pat Leatherman of the Chippewas.
'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.
The series finale will mark another 'Sunday Funday', with all fans receiving free admission courtesy of OhioHealth. Kids will also have the opportunity to run the bases at Bob Wren Stadium following the game.