March 10, 2007
ATHENS, Ohio - Sophomore Chris Klimko went 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBI and sophomore Kevin Mementowski struck out a career-high eight hitters in 4.1 scoreless relief innings as the Bobcats scored twice in the eighth inning on their way to a 7-5 win over Butler Saturday at Bob Wren Stadium.
"I think the keys to the game were Mementowski coming in and throwing like he did and I feel Willie's catch in the ninth inning was a big turning point," Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "He is one of the best centerfielders we have ever had here."
The Bobcats (6-5) have now won six straight games and have not lost since Feb. 24. They move above .500 for the first time this season after starting the year on a five-game skid. The win streak is the longest for an Ohio team since the 2005 Bobcats reeled off eight straight wins. The Bobcats also improved to 6-0 in home contests and 3-0 at Bob Wren Stadium. Three of Ohio's home contests were played at Veterans Administration Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe due to weather conditions.
Ohio earned its sixth straight win with seven runs on eight hits and played errorless defense for the second consecutive game. The Bobcats built a 5-0 lead with two runs in the second and three in the fourth, but the Bulldogs scored all five of their runs in the fifth inning. Ohio broke the tie with two in the bottom of the eighth for the win. Butler (4-6) finished with five runs on seven hits and two errors in the loss.
Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) had a career night as he went 2-for-3 with a three-run double and a sacrifice fly for a career-best four RBI. Freshman Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio) also recorded a multi-hit game with a 2-for-3 performance and finished with a walk, a run scored and an RBI in the win.
"(Klimko) driving in four runs tonight was big," Carbone said. "I thought Krauss swung the bat well tonight too."
Sophomore Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) extended his hit streak to eight straight games with a solo home run to lead off the second inning. He finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Senior Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio) went 1-for-3 in the win with a walk and a run scored while sophomore Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.) did not collect a hit but scored two runs and tallied an RBI for the Bobcats.
Starting pitcher Zeke Isaacs (West Carrollton, Ohio) earned a no decision but the story on the mound was Mementowski (Parma, Ohio). In just his second appearance of the season, he tossed 4.1 scoreless innings and fanned a career-best eight hitters. He retired nine batters in a row at one point and allowed just one hit in his outing. Mementowski picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the season.
"(Mementowski) had good pop on his fastball and his breaking ball was working well for him," Carbone said. "I think Coach See has done a great job getting him where he is right now. He has really improved from last year. He is a competitor and goes out and pounds the strike zone."
Mementowski threw five scoreless innings in his season debut last Tuesday against Cleveland State. He has now thrown 9.1 scoreless innings to open the 2007 season.
"I was just trying to build off what I did last time," Mementowski said. "It's good to get another win. Everything felt good on the mound. When you're going that good you just try to keep building off it. It's a good feeling."
Matt Byzet took the loss for the Bulldogs after allowing the two eighth inning runs in three innings of work. Joe Pauley went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored while Matt Ferguson finished 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Butler loss.
After a scoreless first inning, Besl got the scoring started in the bottom of the second when he took the first pitch of the inning and homered to deep left-center. The home run was the second of the season for the sophomore Bobcat. Ohio added another run in the inning after Walker singled and scored on an RBI groundout by Johnston two batters later for a 2-0 Bobcat lead.
Isaacs breezed through the first four innings as he allowed just two singles and a walk while striking out four Bulldogs. Ohio gave him a five-run cushion with three runs in the bottom of the fourth on just one hit. Besl reached on an error to open the frame and was still standing on first with two outs. Johnston was then hit by a pitch and Krauss followed with a walk to load the bases for Klimko. The sophomore catcher came through in the clutch and lined a three-run double over the rightfielder's head for a 5-0 Bobcat advantage.
"I just went in there looking for one pitch and for awhile it didn't seem like I was going to get it," Klimko said. "He finally left one over the middle and I got a pretty good piece of it. It felt good."
The Bulldogs broke through in the fifth inning with five runs to tie the game. Isaacs retired the first hitter he faced but the next batter lined a come-backer off Isaacs' foot and reached on an infield single. Butler followed with an RBI double sandwiched between a pair of walks before sophomore Adam Goodpasture (Columbus, Ohio) entered the game for Isaacs.
"I thought Zeke pitched well tonight until he got hit in the foot," Carbone said.
The Bulldogs tallied two more hits in the frame and scored the fifth and final run of the inning on a double steal to tie the game at five.
Mementowski, who entered the game with two outs in the fifth, was brilliant in relief for the Bobcats as he retired the final hitter in the Butler fifth and then retired the Bulldogs in order in both the sixth and seventh innings with five strikeouts. He retired the first two hitters in the eighth via the strikeout to make it nine batters set down in a row before a two out walk snapped the streak. Mementowski walked the next hitter and an infield single loaded the bases, but the sophomore right-hander fanned the next hitter for his eighth punch-out of the night.
The Bobcats broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of runs for a two-run advantage heading into the ninth. With one away, senior Bryant Witt (Powell, Ohio) singled and moved to second when Johnston was hit by a pitch. Krauss followed with the big hit, an RBI double down the right field line to put the Bobcats ahead. Klimko finished the scoring with a sacrifice fly for his fourth RBI of the night and a 7-5 Ohio lead.
Mementowski went back to the mound for the ninth and Walker made a diving catch in center for the first out of the inning. Mementowski recorded the final two out of the game to earn the win and finish off the 7-5 victory.
The two teams were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader but rain in the area allowed only one contest. Ohio and Butler will instead square off in a doubleheader Sunday beginning at 12:00 p.m. at Bob Wren Stadium.