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Ohio Baseball Takes Two From Oakland

March 18, 2007

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio baseball club cranked out 40 hits as it recorded a doubleheader sweep of visiting Oakland, winning by finals of 19-2 and 10-9 Sunday in Bob Wren Stadium.

Behind six strong innings on the mound from Matt Schlarb (Lexington, Ohio), and four RBIs from Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio), Ohio (9-6) rolled to a 19-2 victory in the first game of the twin bill. The Bobcats then needed a four-run eighth inning rally and an RBI double from Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the 12th inning of the nightcap in the second game as they took both contests from Oakland (6-8).

"It was a big day for us," Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "The second game was a big win. After they went ahead of us by four runs, we didn't quit, we kept banging away."

Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) led Ohio at the plate in the doubleheader with a 5-for-10 performance with three RBIs and four runs scored.

"Matt [Stiffler] is a good college hitter. He is solid," Carbone said. "He can go the other way, he can drive the ball, he can bunt, and he can run. He can do a lot of things for you."

Game No. 1: Ohio 19, Oakland 2
The Bobcats wasted little time getting on the board in the first game of the day. Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.) got things started when he took the first pitch he saw to the right-center gap for a one-out double. After Stiffler flied to center, Besl fouled off a series of deliveries from Oakland starting pitcher Matt Trausch before he laced a single through the left side that plated Johnston for a 1-0 Ohio lead.

The Golden Grizzlies were able to provide an answer in their second at-bat of the day. Chad DiFranco started the Oakland rally with a two-out single up the middle, then advanced to third on a single by Andy Shepherd. Dan Ryan then tied the game with a RBI single to center which scored DiFranco. The Bobcats got out of the inning when centerfielder Walker threw out Shepherd as he tried to advance to third on Ryan's hit.

Ohio kept the scoring going in the home half of the second and regained a one-run advantage. Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) led off the inning with a bloop double down the right field line and came home from second three batters later as Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) singled to center with two outs for the go-ahead RBI and a 2-1 Ohio lead.

The Bobcats then exploded for six tallies in the third inning to take a comfortable early advantage. Ohio sent 10 batters to the plate and all nine hitters in the line-up reached base during the frame, including the first five in a row on hits. Jon Vondrell (Centerville, Ohio) started the scoring with an RBI single to right field and Klimko drove a double to the right-center gap to plate two more. Bryant Witt (Powell, Ohio) was then intentionally walked and Oakland replaced Trausch with reliever Ben Darga. Walker promptly greeted Darga with his first home run of the season - a three-run shot down the right field line - for an 8-1 Ohio lead.

After Darga set the Bobcats down in order in the fourth, Ohio put up five more runs in the fifth to extend to a 13-1 lead. In the first pitch he saw, pinch hitter Jeremie Rehak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) lined a single to center for his third RBI of the season. Johnston then stroked an RBI double to left and Stiffler drove a double to deep center field for two more runs as the Bobcats went ahead 12-1. Stiffler closed the scoring in the inning two batters later when he came home from third on an Oakland throwing error.

With plenty of run support, Bobcat starter Schlarb was effective on the mound. After he allowed the lone run in the second inning, Schlarb then retired 10 of final 16 batters he faced, and just three Oakland batters reached on him in the third through fifth innings.

Ohio added four more runs in the seventh to take a 17-1 lead. With one out, consecutive Ohio batters were walked on four pitches, then the next two Bobcats were hit by pitches to force home the first run. Two more runs came home on a dropped pop-up off the bat of Klimko as Ohio extended its lead to 16-1. Walker then recorded his second RBI hit of the day with a single to left to bring home the `Cats 17th tally.

Oakland ended its five inning scoreless drought in the top of the eighth as pinch hitter Rob Merkle jerked a one-out homer over the right field wall for the Grizzlies' second run of the day.

Two more runs would come home for Ohio in the eighth inning as well. J.T. Osburn (Warrenton, Va.) and Kris McDonough (Upper St. Clair, Pa.) provided back-to-back RBI hits with two outs to close out the scoring.

Schlarb (3-0) allowed just one run on six hits in six innings of work. He recorded five strikeouts and walked just two.

Chris Rigo (Westlake, Ohio) allowed just one run on one hit in three innings of relief to earn and extended save. It was the sophomore's eighth career save, which moved him past Yale Silverman for sixth place on Ohio's career list.

Johnston (2-for-5), Stiffler (3-for-5), Besl (2-for-5), Klimko (2-for-5) and Walker all recorded multiple hits in Ohio's season-high total of 18. Stiffler finished with four runs scored and two RBI in the game.

Trausch (2-1) took the loss for Oakland. The junior southpaw was charged with seven earned runs allowed on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Darga, the first of four Oakland relievers, allowed four runs on three hits with a walk in 2 1-3 innings.

Seven-different players recorded a hit for Oakland.

The 19-2 victory marked the most runs, and the largest margin of victory, by a Bobcat squad since they defeated Duquesne 20-3 in 2005.

Game No. 2: Ohio 10, Oakland 9
Just like Sunday's opener, the Bobcats were the first to strike. After Oakland got a hit in the top of the first, but didn't score, Rehak led things off for Ohio with a single to left. Making his second start of the season, Kirk Payne (Hilliard, Ohio) smacked his first home run of the 2007 campaign to follow Rehak, which gave the Bobcats an early 2-0 advantage.

The Grizzlies bounced back with two runs of their own to tie the game three innings later, but Ohio put three more runs on the board in the home half of the fourth to go back ahead 5-2. Witt singled up the middle with one out to bring home the frame's first run. Two batters later Vondrell pinch hit for Payne and singled through the left side to plate two Bobcat baserunners for the 5-2 advantage.

Oakland chased Bobcat starter Zeke Isaacs (West Carrollton, Ohio) in the fifth five runs to take its first lead of the day. After getting the first out of the inning, Isaacs surrendered consecutive singles and Carbone went to Kevin Mementowski (Parma, Ohio) out of the bullpen. The Golden Grizzlies got to Mementowski for three more hits in the inning and plated five runs before he was able to get the third out.

The Golden Grizzlies then extended their lead in the top of the sixth with a two-out RBI double off the bat of Kevin Carkeek to go ahead 8-5. The inning started when Ohio left fielder Jared Willis (Logan, W.Va.) dropped a fly ball, which made the eventual run unearned.

After scoring five runs on nine hits on Oakland starter Billy Schmieder, the Bobcat bats were cooled off by lefty reliever Andrew Estes, who came on with one out in the fourth. Although Ohio was able to plate two runs with Estes on the mound, the Oakland reliever got out of the inning without any further damage, then shut the Bobcats down through the next four frames.

The Grizzlies tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh as Markle pinch hit and brought home another Oakland runner with a sacrifice fly.

Down 9-5, the Bobcats staged a comeback in the eighth to draw back even on Oakland reliever Scott Boleski. Dusty Hammond (Bellefontaine, Ohio) and Witt recorded back-to-back singles to start the inning. After the next two Bobcat hitters were retired, Stiffler singled to right to plate both Hammond and Witt to bring Ohio within two. Besl then doubled to left to put the tying runs in scoring position. Hartle then followed with a bloop single to right-center to tie the game at 9-9.

Each team went in order in the ninth, and Bobcat reliever Andrew Shisila (Mentor, Ohio) worked his third scoreless inning in a row in the 10th to set Ohio up for a chance to win.

The Bobcats made some noise in the bottom of the 10th. Willis led off with a single through the right side and was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Vondrell, but Oakland reliever Mike Takashima was able to keep Ohio off the board.

Oakland threatened in the 11th as it got a one-out single from Drew Jenison. Jenison then stole second and later moved to third on a passed ball, but Shisila struck out two Grizzlies in a row to escape the jam.

After the Bobcats got just one runner on in the home half of the 11th, the Grizzlies threatened again in the 12th. Ohio's fourth reliever of the game, Matt Smith (Centre Hall, Pa.) got the first two outs, but surrendered a double to Justin Wilson. Wilson then advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Smith was able to get a line-out to end the scoring threat.

After 11 and a half innings, Besl was finally able to deliver for the Bobcats. Willis led off the bottom of the 12th with a single to left. Vondrell the sacrificed him over to second and Stiffler joined him on the basepaths with an intentional walk. Besl the stroked a 1-2 pitch over the Oakland centerfielder's head for the walk-off victory.

"We stayed in the game and played hard the whole game, from the first pitch to the very last pitch," Carbone said.

Smith (2-2) earned the victory in his second relief appearance of the season after he threw a scoreless 12th. Isaacs allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings in his fourth start of the season. Shisila was the anchor in the bullpen with 4 1-3 innings pitched and just one hit and no runs surrendered with five strikeouts.

Besl extended his career-long hit streak to 12 games with his doubles in the eighth and 12th innings. He was one of nine Bobcats in the game to finish with two or more hits. Willis led the way with a 3-for-5 performance.

Takashima (1-2) took the loss in relief for Oakland. He allowed just the winning run in 3 1-3 innings. Estes threw three scoreless innings in relief and limited Ohio to just five hits. The starter Schmieder surrendered five runs on nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.

Andy Shepherd led the way for the Grizzlies at the plate in the second game with a 3-for-6 performance with four RBIs.

The Bobcats 22 hits exceeded their previous season-high that they established in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.

Ohio will next be in action when they travel to Wake Forest for a single game Tuesday at 3 p.m.