Feb. 29, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Ohio scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to earn a 5-4 victory Friday evening against host Memphis at Nat Buring Stadium in the first game of a three-game series.
With the game tied at 3-3, Ohio freshman Robert Maddox III (Euclid, Ohio) led off the eighth with a double, before being advanced to third on sacrifice bunt by junior Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.). Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone then brought on senior Jason Selhorst (Ottawa, Ohio) to pinch hit for sophomore Jerod Yakubik (Byesville, Ohio) for the next batter. Selhorst delivered in his first at-bat of the season lining a double to left field, scoring Maddox from second and giving Ohio a one-run lead. Two batters later, senior Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) singled to left center to bring what would prove to be the deciding run around to score.
"(Selhorst) came through with a big hit for us," said Carbone. "He's a senior that's bided his time and has been working hard and he got a chance to get in the game and he came up big for us. The whole team was really excited for him."
Stiffler finished the game 3-for-5 with a triple, one RBI and one run scored, while Maddox went 2-for-5 at the plate with a double and one run scored.
Ohio junior right-hander Chris Rigo (Westlake, Ohio) was once again effective in his second start of the season for the Bobcats. In 6 2/3 innings on the mound, Rigo struck out eight and allowed three runs on four hits.
"Rigo threw the ball very well today," said Carbone. "He kept us close and competed well out there."
Junior left-hander Adam Goodpasture (Columbus, Ohio) gets credit for the victory after coming on in relief for Rigo in the bottom of the seventh inning and getting the Bobcats out of a jam. With the score tied at 3-3 and a runner on third base, Goodpasture retired the only batter he faced all game to earn the victory and improve to 1-0 on the year.
Ohio senior right-hander John Angelicchi (Woodmere, Ohio) pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to earn his first save of the season. Angelicchi entered the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, but struck out Trey Weidman to get Ohio out of the inning unscathed. Angelicchi finished the game with three strikeouts, and gave up one hit and one earned run.
"Angelicchi came on with no margin for error, got two quick strikes on the guy and then struck the batter out swinging," explained Carbone. "He showed up big for us tonight."
Ohio (3-1) finished the game with 11 hits, compared to Memphis' 7 hits on the evening. The Tigers also had several miscues in the field, committing four errors on the day, including one that cost them a run in the top of the fourth inning.
Memphis (2-4) took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning off of a two-run home run by Adam McClain. Rigo regrouped after giving up the two-run shot, retiring 13 of the next 14 batters, including 11 straight following the end of the sixth inning.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Stiffler blasted an RBI-triple off the wall in center field, scoring freshman Zach Keen (Beavercreek, Ohio), to tie the game at 2-2. Sophomore Marc Krauss' (Deshler, Ohio) infield-single two batters later brought Stiffler across the plate, giving Ohio its first lead of the game at 3-2.
The Tiger hitters finally were able to get to Rigo in the bottom of the seventh. Rigo walked the first batter of the inning and then struck out the second before giving up a double and a sacrifice fly by Adam McClain, which evened the score at 3-3.
In Memphis' last at bat there was a little controversy. With a man on second, Angelicchi walked McClain and the ball-four pitch was lost by catcher Chris Klimko. The ball appeared to be kicked by McClain on his way to first base, and with Klimko unable to find the ball, the runner from second advanced to third, putting runners on the corners with no outs. The runner on third eventually came around to score, bringing the lead to 5-4. Angelicchi was able to get out of the jam though, striking out the next batter to give Ohio the game one win.
Ohio's 3-1 record is its best start since the 1998 season, when the Bobcats started 7-1.
The game was not all good for the Bobcats, as junior Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning after suffering an injury reaching for a throw at first base. Besl caught the throw, but immediately fell to the dirt in pain and had to be helped off the field. He was 1-for-4 on the day with a double. Through the first four games Besl was leading the Bobcats in hitting (.471), doubles (4), total bases (12), slugging percentage (.706) and on-base percentage (.471).
The Bobcats and Tigers continue the three-game series tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET at Nat Buring Stadium. Live stats for all three games will be available on www.ohiobobcats.com. Junior LHP Zach Elmer will get the start for Ohio, while sophomore RHP Marc Ashley will get the start for Memphis.
Wes Liles is the baseball contact in the Ohio media relations office. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.