March 8, 2007
ATHENS, Ohio - Sophomore Matt Schlarb threw 6.1 scoreless innings in his second career start and junior Matt Stiffler went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored as Ohio earned its fifth straight win, 6-0 over West Virginia State Thursday at Bob Wren Stadium.
"It feels good to get back to .500 after starting out with five losses," Schlarb said. "I have a lot more confidence this year than last year. Today the fastball felt good."
Ohio (5-5) has now reeled off five straight victories after starting the season with five losses in a row. The Bobcats scored their six runs on seven hits Thursday and did not commit an error. The team also stole six bases on the Yellow Jackets. Ohio handed West Virginia State (8-1) its first loss this season and also recorded its first shutout victory of the year. The Yellow Jackets tallied seven hits without a run and committed one error.
Schlarb (Lexington, Ohio) was brilliant in making just the second start of his career. He earned the win to move to 2-0 on the season and threw 6.1 scoreless innings without allowing a run. The sophomore Bobcat allowed five hits and just on walk while striking out four hitters. The four strikeouts matched his career high set last season.
"I thought (Schlarb) did a good job," Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "He threw the ball very well. He did a real good job."
Senior Daniel Utts (Circleville, Ohio) and sophomore Andrew Shisila (Mentor, Ohio) each turned in scoreless outings in the shutout. Utts allowed just one hit and struck out one Yellow Jacket in one inning of work while Shisila allowed a hit with two punch-outs in 1.2 scoreless innings.
Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) led the way for the Bobcats at the plate and finished 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, two RBI, and three stolen bases in the win. He raised his season average to .324 in the victory.
"(Stiffler) is a good college baseball player," Carbone said. "He does everything pretty well."
Sophomore Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.) also recorded a multi-hit day as he went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Sophomore Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored. He extended his hit streak to seven straight games in the victory.
Brandon Halstead took the loss for WVSU as he allowed a run in the first inning, his only inning of work. Jeffrey Miller led the way for the Yellow Jackets at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance.
The Bobcats got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the opening frame. Freshman Jeremie Rehak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning and then stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. Stiffler drove him in with a deep, RBI double to center for a quick 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Schlarb breezed through the first three innings with just a walk allowed and Ohio gave him a four-run lead with three more runs in the third inning. Rehak laid down a bunt to start the inning and a wide throw allowed him to reach and advance all the way to third. Stiffler followed with a single to left to score Rehak and then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Besl walked, Stiffler scored on an RBI fielder's choice by senior Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio). Walker then stole second in front of an RBI triple to right-center by sophomore Kirk Payne (Hilliard, Ohio) that gave Ohio a 4-0 lead.
Schlarb continued to mow down the West Virginia State lineup into the seventh inning as he allowed just three hits through six frames. He hit the first batter he faced in the seventh and allowed two hits before exiting the game with one away. Utts came on and struck out the first hitter he faced with the bases loaded and then induced an inning ending groundout to preserve Ohio's 4-0 lead.
The Bobcats tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning on a sac fly by Payne and an RBI single by Johnston. Shisila tossed the final 1.2 innings in relief and the Bobcats earned their first shutout of the season with a 6-0 win.
Ohio will look to extend its win streak Saturday when the Bobcats host a doubleheader against Butler. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. at Bob Wren Stadium.