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Ohio Drops LeClair Classic Opener to Illinois, 11-6

Brice Nikithser

Feb. 22, 2013

Box Score

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Ohio University baseball team (0-3) came up short in the first game of the Keith LeClair Classic as it dropped an 11-6 decision to Illinois (2-2) Friday afternoon inside Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

Senior Marck Paliotto (Columbus, Ohio) suffered the loss for the Bobcats after he worked 4.0 innings, allowed eight hits and five earned runs to fall to 0-2 on the year. Illinois starter Kevin Duchene picked up the win for the Illini after he went 5.1 innings, giving up just four earned runs.

Offensively for the `Cats, junior Garrett Black (Lima, Ohio), sophomore Cody Gaertner (Allison Park, Pa.), senior Dan Schmidt (Kamiak, Wash.) and senior Ben Otto (Menomonie, Wis.) all collected a pair of hits. Sophomore Jake Madsen (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Brice Nikithser (Pittsburgh, Ohio) also chipped in as they drove in a pair of runs.

Illinois struck first as it plated two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead. Ohio responded in the top half of the third thanks to an RBI single through the left side by Madsen, which drove home sophomore Tyler Wells (Lexington, Ky.) from third. Wells got on base as he singled into right field.

The Illini would go on to respond in a big way as they plated six runs over the next three innings to take an 8-1 lead, heading into the top half of the sixth.

In the sixth, Ohio finally got its offense going as it scored four runs on four hits to cut the Illini lead to 8-5. Gaertner got the frame going as he doubled down the right field line. Junior Taylor Emody (Milan, Ohio) came up next and would advance Gaertner over to third as he singled into left field. Gaertner scored on the play following an error by Illinois left fielder Jordan Parr. Schmidt followed with a single through the left side.

Two batters later, Nikithser came up and flew out to right field, which allowed Emody to score from third. Ohio would go on to load the bases after Wells got hit a by a pitch. The Bobcats then scored two more runs after Black and Madsen drew bases loaded walks. Cleanup hitter Scott White (Springboro, Ohio) followed, representing the go-ahead run, but was unable to keep the inning going as he struck out swinging to end the frame.

Ohio would not get any closer for the remainder of the contest as Illinois scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the sixth and one in the seventh to secure the win. The Bobcats added one run in the top half of the seventh thanks to a single up the middle by Nikithser, which plated Gaertner from second.

Ohio returns to action later this afternoon against New Mexico State. Freshman right-handed pitcher Connor Sitz (Westerville, Ohio) will get the start for the Bobcats, while the Aggies will counter with Adam Mott.