March 31, 2006
TOLEDO, Ohio -
The Ohio baseball squad utilized plate aggressiveness and favorable winds as it tagged one of the Mid-American Conference's best pitchers for seven early runs en route to a 10-3 victory in Toledo Friday afternoon.
Senior co-captains Anthony Gressick and Derek Witt turned in big days as the Bobcats (8-9, 2-2 MAC) evened their league record. Gressick finished 4-for-6 at the plate and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle while Witt was just one out away from throwing a complete game in the first MAC road contest of the year.
Coming into the series, Toledo (10-9, 2-2 MAC) sported the league's best team ERA at 3.28 and Friday's starter, Joe Welsh, ranked second in the MAC with a 1.65 mark. The Bobcat bats were not affected by the numbers, however, as they hammered out five runs on the strength of two homers in the first inning and never looked back as they earned a series-opening victory.
With a stiff wind blowing out to left field from the very start, Ohio (8-9, 2-2 MAC) wasted little time taking advantage of it. Jared Willis drove a one-out shot down the left field line for his second homer of his career. Anthony Gressick then recorded the first of what would be four-straight hits with a single. After Gressick stole second, Willie Walker singled through the left side and Gressick raced around for a 2-0 Ohio lead. A walk to Hayden Johnston was then followed by fellow freshman Brandon Besl's second round-tripper of the year - a bomb to left center - for a 5-0 Bobcat advantage.
The Rockets looked as if they were poised to take advantage of the favorable wins as well as Scott Boley cranked a two-run shot to left in the home half of the first, but Bobcat starter Derek Witt was able to limit the damage from then on as he allowed just one other run during the middle innings.
Ohio was able to add single tallies in both the second and third innings on Welsh. Willis singled and Gressick drove him home on a double in the second, then Bryant Witt pushed home Besl on a fielder's choice in the third after he doubled and Dusty Hammond singled, resulting in a 7-3 lead.
With the Rockets now going to their bullpen, Gressick drilled a two-run dinger to left center in the sixth to extend Ohio's lead to 9-3. The Bobcats added one more run in the ninth as Matt Stiffler came home on a play that saw Willis reach on a fielding error.
With a five-inning scoreless streak on the mound Derek Witt went back out in the ninth in search of his firs complete game of the year. The first three batters all reached on hits and one scored before Witt was able to get a double play. Toledo's fourth hit of the frame cut the lead to 10-5, however, and Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone chose to go to the bullpen. Yale Silverman came on and retired the first batter he faced to secure the victory for Ohio.
Witt (3-2) finished with five runs allowed - four earned - with three strikeouts and one walk in 8 2-3 innings pitched.
In addition to Gressick's heroics at the plate, Willis, Walker and Besl all finished with three hits.
Welsh (3-2) took the loss for Toledo. He allowed seven runs on 13 hits in five innings.
Drew Hoisington and Jake Oester each recorded three hits to lead the Rocket bats.
The two teams will get back at it tomorrow in the second of three weekend games. Ohio will send John Angelicchi (0-3) to the mound to face Toledo's Kyle Rawlings (3-1). First pitch is set for 1 p.m.