March 4, 2009
ATHENS, Ohio -
Sophomore Gauntlett Eldemire opened the Bobcats' home season with a bang, as his ninth-inning blast gave the Ohio University baseball team its second-straight win and a 9-8 walk-off victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers Wednesday evening at Bob Wren Stadium. The Bobcats (2-3), who hadn't played since Feb. 22 because rain or cold temperatures prevented six-straight games, have now won three-consecutive contests over Big East foe Pitt (1-3).
The long layoff did not seem to affect Ohio, who tallied 11 hits, with two apiece coming from senior infielder Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio), who drove in a season-high three runs, senior right fielder Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.), who's two doubles gave him five on the year, and junior catcher Kris McDonough (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who recorded the first multi-hit game of his Bobcat career.
"It was a big win for us," Ohio head coach Joe Carbone said. "I thought we played well for most of the game and our pitchers were throwing strikes. We went out and played hard. Pitt hit some of our good pitchers, but we hung in there and gave ourselves a chance to win."
Ohio jumped on the board early, scoring six runs in the bottom of the second off Pitt starter Nathan Hood, all with two outs. Junior Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio) singled up the middle to bring home freshman shortstop Bobby Martin (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and extend his hitting streak to four games. After Eldemire (Shaker Heights, Ohio) and Krauss scored, sophomore Robert Maddox III (Euclid, Ohio) belted a two-run round-tripper over the left field wall to make it 5-0 Ohio. Johnston then scored on junior first baseman Jerod Yakubik's (Byesville, Ohio) first hit of the season to complete the outburst.
Johnston scored his second run of the game in the fourth inning on a McDonough single, giving the 'Cats a 7-0 cushion, before Danny Lopez trotted home for Pitt in the top of the fifth. Panther second baseman Chris Sedon capped a three-run seventh inning with a two-run homer off of senior Matt Schlarb (Lexington, Ohio) to cut Ohio's advantage to 7-4.
Sophomore Adam Gecewich (Strongsville, Ohio) crossed the plate in the bottom of the seventh to double up Pitt, but the Panthers clawed back, scoring four runs in the top of the eighth, including a two-run double from Philip Konieczny, to even the count at 8-8. Gecewich then used his defense to prevent Pittsburgh from grabbing the lead in the ninth inning, as he made a shoestring catch in left field and then doubled off Frank Mercurio at second base.
"It was a big time play," Carbone said of the twin killing. "Gecewich is a young man that's worked hard and is a good defensive outfielder. We stuck him out there after we had to switch our defense around and he made a play for us."
With two down and 1-0 count in the bottom of the ninth, Eldemire delivered the knockout blow, crushing a walk-off bomb over the center field wall off hurler Matt Iannazzo to give the Bobcats the 9-8 win. It was the sophomore's first-career walk off and second four-bagger of the year.
"I was looking for a strike," Eldemire said. "His first pitch was a ball so I figured he'd try to get it over the plate and not fall behind (in the count) and when he did that I jumped on it."
Senior Kevin Mementowski (Parma, Ohio) earned the win to move to 2-1 on the year, despite pitching two innings and allowing the game-tying runs, while Iannazzo, who tossed 2.2 innings, took the loss and fell to 1-1. Konieczny and Sedon paced the Panthers at the plate with a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs each.
Ohio returns to the diamond Friday, March 6, as the 'Cats begin a three-game series with the Tennessee Volunteers. First pitch Friday is set for 3 p.m. at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.