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AMHERST, N.Y. -- The Ohio baseball team (25-25, 11-10 MAC) took advantage of a stellar performance on the hill by senior right-handed starting pitcher Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) and a couple blunders by the opposition in the top of the seventh inning to complete the series sweep of Mid-American Conference East Division foe Buffalo (16-31, 8-13 MAC), 3-0, on Sunday (May 14) at Audubon Field.
The Bobcats took Friday's (May 12) series opener from the Bulls, 5-3, and clinched their fourth MAC series win of the 2017 season thanks to a 12-1 rout on Saturday (May 13). With the sweep of Buffalo, Ohio also clinched a berth in the double elimination 2017 MAC Championship, which will be held May 24-28 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.
Colletti led the way for Ohio by throwing six near-flawless innings on the mound, allowing just three Buffalo hits and only giving up two free passes while striking out six. He picked up the win improve to 3-2 on the year.
Senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) went 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of doubles. Ibarra has reached base safely in 20 straight contests for the Bobcats and has a team-high 22 multi-hit games.
Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted, Ohio) had a 1-for-4 day at plate and had the game-winning RBI.
Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) went 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in a run.
Junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) put together a 1-for-4 effort with a run scored.
Ohio looked poised to strike in the top of the first after a leadoff single by Ibarra and a two-out walk drawn by Klein moving Ibarra to second. However, Buffalo redshirt junior right-handed starting pitcher Brent Cleland stranded Ibarra at second and got out of the inning.
A pitching duel between Colletti and Cleland ensued until the bottom of the fifth inning. After retiring the leadoff hitter, Buffalo posted a pair of one-out singles off Colletti. Colletti did not give in to the Buffalo rally, though, and struck out the next two batters to leave the two runners on base and keep the ballgame scoreless.
After a scoreless top of the sixth, the Bobcat defense stepped up in the bottom half of the inning. After a leadoff walk to senior center fielder Alex Thrower, senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.) threw him out at second as Thrower tried to steal the bag. After another Buffalo walk, redshirt junior shortstop Ben Haefner lined into a double play, which saw Bobcat senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) catch the liner and throw it to sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) to turn two.
Ohio carried its momentum inti the top of seventh. Giannini led off the inning with an infield single to short. A sacrifice bunt by junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) saw the Bobcats put a runner in scoring position with one out. Mrosla hit a grounder to the shortstop who made an error resulting in runners at the corners as Finkler came up to the plate. Finkler laid down a bunt single, plating Giannini for the first run of the ballgame. Two batters later, Black drew a two-out walk. The Bulls then made a pitching change, bringing in junior right-hander Logan Harasta. With Rott at the plate, Harasta threw a wild pitch, allowing Mrosla to score and giving Ohio a 2-0 lead heading into the eighth.
After a perfect inning from redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) in the bottom of the seventh and a near-perfect inning of work from senior right-handed pitcher Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio), who stranded a Bull at second after a two-out double, Ohio added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. Ibarra hit a leadoff double down the right field line and later scored on a Klein sacrifice fly to right.
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) came in for the Bobcats in the bottom of the ninth and earned his career-high 12th save of the season after sitting the Bulls down 1-2-3 to preserve the 3-0 victory for Ohio -- the Bobcats' fifth shutout of the season. Roehn's 12 saves rank as the second most in a single season in program history. His 18 career saves also rank as the second most in program history.
Ohio closes the 2017 regular season with a three-game showdown against MAC East Division rival Kent State at Bob Wren Stadium. The series opens with a Thursday (May 18) matchup at 6 p.m. ET. The Friday (May 19) contest is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. ET. The Senior Day season finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start on Saturday (May 20). 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call of all three games on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.