ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (22-23, 8-9 MAC) exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on its way to a 9-4 triumph over Mid-American Conference East Division rival Bowling Green (11-30, 6-14 MAC) on Saturday (May 6) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Bobcats clinched the weekend series with the win over the Falcons. Ohio topped Bowling Green, 9-1, on Friday (May 5) in the opener. The Bobcats took a weekend series from the Falcons for the first time since 2011 and for the first time at home since '06.
Ohio's bats piled up 13 hits while the pitching staff limited Bowling Green to just five. The Bobcats recorded double-digit hits for the 20th time in 2017.
Redshirt junior right-handed starting pitcher/desginated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored at the plate. He has hit safely in the last six games he's played in. On the mound, Klein struck out two over 3.2 frames while allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks.
Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) tallied a double and a single, walked, drove in a run and scored another.
Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He has now hit safely in 17-straight games, which represents the team's longest hitting streak of the season. He has notched 16 multi-hit efforts this year, which ranks second on the squad.
Senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) collected two singles and scored two runs. He posted his team-high 20th multi-hit performance of the season, has now hit safely in each of his last 12 games, which ranks second on the team, and has reached base safely in his last 15 games.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the home half of the second inning. Ibarra led off with a single to left, and senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) followed with two-run homer to right center -- his third home run of the season. Black has reached base safely in 21-straight games, which is the longest such streak on the team this year.
Bowling Green evened the score in the top of the fourth. Sophomore designated hitter Joe McGuinness was hit by a pitch with one out. Junior catcher Jason Mott singled to left, and redshirt senior shortstop Nick Glanzman drew a walk one out later to load the bases for the Falcons. Freshman center fielder Jake Wilson came through with a two-RBI single to left center to plate McGuinness and Mott and tie the score at two-all. Ohio then called upon sophomore right-handed pitcher Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) from the bullpen. Ogg issued a walk to sophomore third baseman Riley Minorik to reload the bases for Bowling Green, but he got out of the jam by getting junior second baseman Derek Drewes to ground out to first for the third out.
The tie did not last long, though, as Ohio erupted for seven runs on eight hits and a Bowling Green error in the bottom half of the fourth. Klein got things going with a base hit to left. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by redshirt junior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.). Callery gave the Bobcats runners on the corners with a single to right. Junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) then delivered the go-ahead RBI single to left to bring home Klein. Bourn followed with a double to center to drive in Callery. Both Giannini and Bourn scored when Finkler came through with a single down the left field line. After Ibarra singled to right to put Finkler on third, Rott singled home Finkler one out later, and both he and Ibarra advanced 90 more feet into scoring position on a throwing error by the Falcons. Ibarra scored on a wild pitch, then Klein tripled to center to plate Rott and give the Bobcats a 9-2 lead.
Finkler and Black combined to turn 6-4-3 double plays in both the fifth and sixth frames to keep Bowling Green's offense in check.
Junior southpaw Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) then entered to pitch for Ohio in the top of the seventh. The Falcons put a dent in the Bobcats' lead when Drewes drew a leadoff walk to set up junior first baseman Randy Righter for a two-run home run to right -- his fourth homer of the year.
Baird settled in, though, and retired the final nine batters he faced to pick up his first career save as a Bobcat. He fanned three in three innings of work.
Ogg was credited with the pitching victory for Ohio, improving to 1-1 on the year. He gave up one hit and four walks over 2.1 innings of relief.
"That was a huge answer," said fifth-year head coach Rob Smith of his team's big bottom of the fourth. "Bowling Green got those two runs, and we had to wiggle out of some trouble in that inning. It could have been worse. But, then to come back and respond the way we did and really grab a hold of the game, it gave us some cushion to navigate through some dicey pitching with the nine walks that we issued. I gotta give our guys credit. At least they made pitches when they had to make pitches, and credit our defense for turning some big double plays."
Junior right-handed starting pitcher Zac Carey suffered the loss on the mound for the Falcons, dropping to 4-5 on the season. He gave up nine earned runs on 10 hits in 3.2 frames. He tallied one strikeout.
Righter finished 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, a walk, two RBIs and a run scored. Mott went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Ohio takes aim at its second MAC series sweep of the 2017 season when it takes on Bowling Green on Sunday (May 7) in a 1 p.m. ET contest. Senior right-handed pitcher Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) will start on the mound for the Bobcats, and he'll square off against sophomore right-hander Chase Antle of the Falcons. 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. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.