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Bobcat Comeback Falls Short in 6-4 Loss to Wake

March 20, 2007

Box Score

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Sophomore Brandon Besl extended his hitting streak to 13 games and the Bobcats scored four times in the seventh inning but a late comeback attempt fell short as Ohio suffered a 6-4 loss to Wake Forest Tuesday in Gene Hooks Stadium.

"(Wake Forest) is a real good club," Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "We played a good team and give them credit. They played better than we did today. We gave up five runs early to a good team with real good pitching. We did get up there and battle but it was too little, too late."

Ohio (9-7) started in a 6-0 hole due large in part to a five-run Wake Forest third inning. The Bobcats cut that deficit to two runs with a four-run seventh inning, but it was as close as they got in the loss. Ohio finished with four runs on six hits and committed three errors while Wake Forest (12-10) tallied six runs on nine hits with two errors. All six of Wake Forest's runs were unearned.

The loss snaps a three-game win streak for the Bobcats while the Demon Deacons ended a five-game losing skid with the win.

Senior Dan Weiss (Cincinnati, Ohio) took the loss as he allowed five runs, all of them unearned, on four hits in three innings pitched. He moved to 2-2 on the season and struck out two hitters against one walk. Junior Matt Smith (Centre Hall, Pa.) tossed 2.2 innings and allowed three hits and one unearned run while sophomore Chris Rigo (Westlake, Ohio) turned in 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.

"(Rigo) threw the ball very well," Carbone said. "He went out there and did a real good job. We are real happy with the way he went out and competed."

Alex Wiesner earned the win for the Demon Deacons as he pitched 6.1 innings and allowed four hits and four runs to move to 1-0 on the year. Brad Kledzik earned his second save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.

Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) was one of six Bobcats to pick up one hit on the day. He collected a seventh-inning single to run his career-long hit streak to 13 games. Senior Jon Vondrell (Centerville, Ohio) finished 1-for-3 with a two-run home run that started the scoring in the Bobcat seventh inning.

"(Vondrell) did a good job," Carbone said. "He was up there and swinging the bat. He was one of the few guys we felt was aggressive at the plate."

Junior Bryant Witt (Powell, Ohio) went 1-for-3 with a two-run double and junior Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Senior Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio) and sophomore Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) were each 1-for-4 with a run scored in the loss.

Willy Fox led the Demon Deacons with a 1-for-4 performance, including a three-run home run in Wake Forest's big third inning. Dustin Hood was 3-for-4 for the Deacons while Allan Dykstra finished 2-for-3.

Weiss breezed through the first two innings without allowing a baserunner but an error opened the door for Wake Forest in the third. Weldon Woodall reached on an error to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a walk put two runners on, Brett Linnenkohl rapped an RBI single to score Woodall. Weiss then recorded the second out of the inning on a fielder's choice, but Dykstra followed with an RBI single to make the score 2-0. Fox followed with the big blow, a two-out, three-run home run to left-center, to make it a five-run inning. All five runs in the inning were unearned.

While Wiesner allowed just one hit through the first six innings of work, the Deacons added a run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-0 lead. A Bobcat error again allowed for the run to score, as Wake kicked off the inning with back-to-back singles and then scored a run on an Ohio throwing error on a stolen base attempt.

The Bobcats got on the board and back into the game in the seventh inning, as they scored four runs on four hits and a Wake Forest error to pull within two runs. Stiffler started the inning with a single to left and scored two batters later when Vondrell crushed a full-count pitch over the left field wall for a two-run home run. The long ball was the first of the season for Vondrell and the sixth of his career.

"He hit that 3-2 pitch and put us on the board and got us going in that (seventh) inning," Carbone said. "He swung the bat well today."

After the Vondrell round tripper, Walker reached on an error and moved to third on a double by Klimko that chased Wiesner from the game. Witt greeted new Wake Forest pitcher Kirby Wedekind with a two-run double to left field on the first pitch he saw to cut the Ohio deficit to 6-4.

Rigo pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh and Besl collected a two-out single in the eighth to extend his hitting streak. He was left stranded, however, and the Bobcats went down in order in the ninth to end the comeback attempt and send Ohio to the 6-4 loss.

The Bobcats will look for their first road win of the season when they open Mid-American Conference play Friday at Northern Illinois. First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. CT at Ralph McKinzie Field.

"Ready or not (for the conference schedule), we are playing," Carbone said. "We still have a couple of unanswered questions but we found out some questions to other answers here today and earlier this week."