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Bobcats Fall to No. 3 Vanderbilt in Opener

OHIOBOBCATS.COM Junior Matt Stiffler recorded one of two Bobcat hits in a season-opening loss to No. 3 Vanderbilt.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Junior Matt Stiffler recorded one of two Bobcat hits in a season-opening loss to No. 3 Vanderbilt.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Feb. 16, 2007

Box Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Playing outdoors for the first time this spring, the Ohio baseball team fell to No. 3 Vanderbilt 10-1 Friday at Hawkins Field in the season-opener for the Bobcats.

"We are not going to use any excuses," Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "This was our first time playing outside and we will be better tomorrow than we were today. They are a good team and we hit some balls hard at people today."

Ohio (0-1, 0-0) has been limited to indoor practices this season because of uncooperative weather. The Bobcats faced a tough task in the season-opener against Vanderbilt (4-0, 0-0), ranked third in the nation by Baseball America and fourth by Collegiate Baseball. The two teams will meet up again Saturday and Sunday.

The Bobcats finished the contest with one run on two hits and three errors while the Commodores posted 10 runs on 16 hits and three errors. Senior Dusty Hammond (Bellefontaine, Ohio) and junior Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) collected Ohio's two hits, both coming in the eighth inning. Sophomore Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.) drove in the only Bobcat run of the day with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

"I thought Matt Stiffler hit the ball well today," Carbone said. "Hayden Johnston swung the bat well and had a sacrifice fly and Bryant Witt also looked good at the plate."

Junior Matt Smith (Centre Hall, Pa.) made his Ohio debut after transferring from Allegany Community College in Maryland. Smith allowed four runs, three of them earned, on six hits in four innings pitched. He struck out one and walked three in taking the loss. Junior transfer Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) and freshman Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio) each made their first career appearances and starts as a Bobcat while freshman Kris McDonough (Upper St. Clair, Pa.) made his Ohio debut off the bench.

"Matt Smith threw the ball well at times today," Carbone said. "He was a victim of some bad luck early in the game and his pitch count got up and we had to take him out."

Matt Meingasner led the way for the Commodores with a 4-for-5 performance, three runs scored and an RBI. David Macias, Alex Feinberg and Ryan Flaherty each went 2-for-4 for Vanderbilt. The Bobcats held Baseball America preseason All-America selection Pedro Alvarez hitless in four at-bats on the day.

Brett Jacobson started on the mound for the Commodores and threw five hitless innings. He allowed one unearned run while striking out four and walking three.

After a scoreless first inning, Vanderbilt scored twice in the second, once in the third and once more in the fourth inning before the Bobcats got on the board. Krauss led off with a walk and was eliminated on a Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) fielder's choice. Klimko advanced to second on a throwing error and to third on a wild pitch before scoring on the sac fly from Johnston.

The Commodores matched Ohio's run in the fifth and scored twice in the sixth and seventh. The Bobcats broke up the Vandy no-hitter with two outs in the eighth, when Hammond and Stiffler recorded back-to-back singles. Ohio was unable to drive either runner in and the Commodores added one more in the eighth for the 10-1 victory.

Bobcat senior Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio) left the game in the bottom of the third with an injury after an 0-for-1 start at the plate. Walker led the Mid-American Conference in hitting last season with a .377 batting average.

The Bobcats will look to even the score against Vanderbilt Saturday when the two teams meet up at 2:00 p.m. CT at Hawkins Field. The game will be available courtesy of Vanderbilt athletics via webcast and online radio at http://vucommodores.collegesports.com/sports/m-basebl/radio-tv-internet.html .