ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (22-25) was defeated by longtime rival Marshall (25-23), 5-2, in its final midweek game of the 2017 season on Tuesday (May 9) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Thundering Herd took the season series from the Bobcats with the win. Marshall posted a 12-9 victory in Huntington, W. Va., on April 12, but the Bobcats pulled out an 11-10 win in 10 innings on April 19 in Mason, Ohio, to even the season series.
Senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two RBIs. He has now reached base in a team season-high 23-straight games and has tallied 15 multi-hit games, which ranks fourth on the squad.
Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) extended his team season-high hitting streak to 19-straight games by going 3-for-4 with a walk.
Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) tallied a pair of singles, giving him 16 multi-hit games this year, which ranks third on the team.
Marshall broke through for the first run of the game in the top of the second inning. Senior first baseman Tommy Lane led off with a single to left and scored two outs later on a base hit to right by senior shortstop Leo Valenti.
The Thundering Herd's lead grew to 3-0 in the ensuing frame. Junior third baseman Tyler Ratliff reached base on an Ohio fielding error to lead things off and then stole second. One out later, redshirt sophomore center fielder Shane Hanon plated Ratliff with a single to left. Sophomore left fielder Andrew Zban moved Hanon to second by legging out a bunt single, and Hanon scored Marshall's third run by way of a single to right by Lane.
The Bobcats made it a one-run ballgame by tallying a pair of runs in the home half of the third, though. Senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) got things going with a one-out single back up the middle. Redshirt junior designated hitter Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) followed by coaxing a walk, and both he and Ibarra advanced another 90 feet into scoring position on a passed ball. Black then delivered a double to left field to plate them both, cutting Marshall edge to 3-2.
Unfortunately for Ohio, the Thundering Herd made it a three-run game again in the top of the fourth as junior second baseman Will Ray hit a one-out single back up the middle to set the table for a two-run home run to right by Ratliff -- his 11th home run of the year.
The Bobcats had opportunities turn the tide of the game but could not take advantage of their chances. In the fifth, Rott hit a one-out single to right center, Callery sent a two-out single through the right side and freshman left fielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) drew a walk to load the bases, but Ohio could not score. In the bottom of the fifth, Black and Callery hit two-out singles to extend the game, but the Bobcats were unable to cash in.
Redshirt sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.) suffered the loss on the mound for Ohio, dropping to 0-2 on the year. He allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out one. Junior left-handed reliever Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) struck out two but gave up four runs -- three of which were earned -- on five hits. Senior southpaw Matt Mikolajczak (New Lenox, Ill.), sophomore righty Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior right-hander Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) combined to pitch five scoreless frames of relief for the Bobcats, with each striking out two.
Hanon finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to lead Marshall's bats. Lane went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Zban tallied a pair of singles.
Junior right-handed starting pitcher Brad O'Connor fanned five over five frames en route to picking up the victory for the Thundering Herd to improve to 2-3 on the year. He gave up two earned runs on five hits and four walks. Freshman right-handers Jacob Bradley and Hunter Sexton combined to throw three innings of relief, which each giving up a hit and striking out two. Redshirt junior right-handed closer Matt Reed picked up his fifth save of the season by tossing a scoreless bottom of the ninth. He struck out one.
Ohio heads north to Amherst, N.Y., this weekend for a crucial three-game series against MAC East Division rival Buffalo that will have major conference tournament implications riding on it. The series opener is scheduled for Friday (May 12) at 3 p.m. ET while the Saturday (May 13) and Sunday (May 14) games are both set for 1 p.m. ET starts.