ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (22-24, 8-10 MAC) rallied back from two-run deficits twice to tie the game but ultimately lost a tough 5-4 decision to Mid-American Conference East Division rival Bowling Green (12-30, 7-14 MAC) in the Sunday (May 7) series finale at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Bobcats still won the weekend series courtesy of a 9-1 victory in the Friday (May 5) opener and a 9-4 triumph on Saturday (May 6). Ohio took a weekend series from the Falcons for the first time since 2011 and for the first time at home since '06.
Trailing 4-2 heading into the top of the eighth, Ohio fought back with two runs on two hits and a Bowling Green error to even the score. Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands, Ranch, Colo.) got the comeback going with a leadoff base hit back up the middle. Klein then advanced all the way to third courtesy of a throwing error by Bowling Green senior right-handed pitcher Tony Landi, who misfired on his attempt to throw Klein out at second as senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) reached safely on a fielder's choice. With runners on the corners and nobody out, redshirt junior Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) successfully executed a pinch-hit squeeze play to score Klein and make it a one-run ballgame. Callery then raced home from second on a single through the right side by junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.), sliding into home to beat the relay throw and even the score at four-all.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Bowling Green managed to retake the lead in the top of the ninth. Sophomore designated hitter Joe McGuinness led off with a single back up the middle, then was lifted in favor of redshirt sophomore pinch runner Ty Suntken. Suntken advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior catcher Justin Mott, moved up to third on a ground out by redshirt sophomore right fielder Jeff Scott and scored the go-ahead run from third with two outs in a passed ball, giving the Falcons a 5-4 lead.
Ohio could not muster one last rally in the home half of the ninth, going down in order to end the game.
The Bobcats battled back from a two-run deficit earlier in the contest as well. Bowling Green jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Freshman center fielder Jake Wilson led off the game by drawing a walk, then advanced third on a base hit to center by sophomore third baseman Riley Minorik. Wilson scored the first run of the afternoon by way of a single through the right side by junior second baseman Derek Drewes. Minorik then made it 2-0 when he scored on an RBI fielder's choice that put junior first baseman Randy Righter on base.
Ohio tied the game with two runs in the third. Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) drew a one-out walk, and senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) followed by being hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on for sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.). Rott delivered a two-RBI double to right center to tie the game.
Bowling Green grabbed the lead back in the ensuing inning, though, as senior left fielder Greg Basalyga belted his sixth home run of the 2017 season -- a one-out solo shot to left center. The Falcons extended their lead to 4-2 in the seventh when Mott reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a two-out double to left center by Scott.
Rott recorded his eighth multi-RBI game of the season, which is tied for the team lead. He has also reached base safely in 19-straight games, which ranks as the second-longest such streak on the club.
Senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) led Ohio with a pair of singles -- his 14th multi-hit game of the year. He has now reached base safely in 22-straight games, which is the longest such streak on the team this season.
Callery extended his hitting streak to 18 games in a row, which represents the longest such streak on the team this season.
Three Falcons recorded multi-hit games. Drewes went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Minorik finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. McGuinness collected two singles.
Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) suffered the loss on the mound for the Bobcats, falling to 3-4 on the year. He gave up an unearned run on three hits over 2.1 innings while striking out three. Senior right-handed starting pitcher Ton Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) fanned three while allowing three earned runs on three hits and a walk in four frames of work. Redshirt junior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) threw 2.2 innings, striking out two while permitting one earned run on two hits.
Junior southpaw Kody Brown picked up his first win of the year, tossing two scoreless innings of relief. He allowed one hit. Sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Chase Antle struck out two in five innings on the mound. He gave up two earned runs on three hits and three walks. Freshman left-handed reliever Nathan Lohmeier pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two while allowing two hits.
Ohio hosts its final midweek game of the 2017 season next Tuesday (May 9) when longtime rival Marshall (24-23) visits Bob Wren Stadium for a 6 p.m. ET matchup. The Bobcats will be looking to win the season series against the Thundering Herd. Marshall posted a 12-9 victory in Huntington, W. Va., April 12, but Ohio pulled out an 11-10 win in 10 innings on April 19 in Mason, Ohio, to even the season series.