April 17, 2009
ATHENS, Ohio -
Five Bobcats recorded multiple hits and three collected multiple RBIs to lead the Ohio University baseball team past Akron, 10-4, Friday night at Bob Wren Stadium in the teams' series opener. With the win, the Bobcats (17-14, 10-3 Mid-American Conference) are off to their best start in league play since 1997, when Ohio went on to win the conference.
The 'Cats totaled 12 hits to the Zips' eight, as junior left fielder Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio), senior third baseman Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) and junior first baseman Jerod Yakubik (Byesville, Ohio) all tallied a pair of hits and RBIs each. Krauss crushed his MAC-leading 14th home run of the season, which moved him into a tie with Ben Crabtree (2002-05) for eighth on Ohio's career home runs list with 32 and a tie for 10th on the single-season ledger, while also scoring a Bobcat season-high four runs. Besl tallied a pair of doubles to move into a tie for second on the 'Cats' career doubles list with 53, as he now has 11 on the year.
Senior starter Chris Rigo (Westlake, Ohio) garnered the win to move to 4-2 on the year (4-1 in the MAC), going six innings and allowing three earned runs with five strikeouts. Senior Zach Fairbanks (Martins Ferry, Ohio) and junior Bryce Butt (Omaha, Neb.) combined to pitch the final three innings without allowing a run or a hit.
"Chris didn't have great stuff tonight, but he was throwing strikes for us," Ohio head coach Joe Carbone said. "His fastball had some run and sink on it and he got us six innings while we're ahead. That's the mark of an outstanding pitcher - someone who can win without their best stuff. I thought Fairbanks and Butt came in and did a good job of closing it out, as well."
Akron senior starter Tom Farmer (2-6) was saddled with the loss, as he surrendered seven runs on eight hits in five innings of work.
After Rigo worked out of a jam in the first inning with a pickoff and a pair of strikeouts, Krauss didn't waste anytime putting Ohio on the board, as he drove the first pitch he saw over the wall in right center for a 2-0 lead, as sophomore center fielder Gauntlett Eldemire (Shaker Heights, Ohio) led off with a walk. Besl then plated sophomore designated hitter Robert Maddox III (Euclid, Ohio) on a double to center for a 3-0 edge through one.
"We jumped out to a bit of a lead, which takes the edge off, and doing so with a home run gets you excited and ready to play," Carbone said. "Krauss had a good day. Besl had a good day. Maddox and (Hayden) Johnston did too, so the top of our lineup did a good job for us tonight."
The Zips (9-24, 6-7 MAC) took advantage of an error by Rigo in the third to score an unearned run, but left the bags full to keep it a two-run game. Yakubik scored Besl in the bottom of third, but senior Phil Bednar belted a solo shot in the fourth to keep the margin at two.
Sophomore right fielder Adam Gecewich (Strongsville, Ohio) had an RBI ground out in the fourth to again put the 'Cats ahead by three, 5-2. Ohio made it 7-2 in the fifth, as Besl's second double and Yakubik's first-career triple each brought home a run. Akron plated a pair of runs in the sixth to close within three, but Maddox scored a second time in the contest on one of senior catcher Chris Klimko's (McKeesport, Pa.) two hits on the day in the seventh to make it 8-4.
A two-out fielding error by the Zips' third baseman in the eighth allowed two more Bobcats to cross home for the six-run cushion. Butt then recorded the game's final three outs, with the last two coming via strikeout, to lock down the victory.
The Bobcats and Zips will conclude their weekend series with a doubleheader Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. ET at Bob Wren Stadium. Sunday's scheduled series finale was moved to Saturday because of the threat of rain Sunday. Both contests Saturday will be nine-inning affairs and will have live stats available on OhioBobcats.com. The games will also be broadcast on WATH 970 AM in Athens and streamed live on OhioBobcats.com. The "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Brian Boesch will call both games with pre-game coverage starting at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Notes: Ohio improved to 12-1 this year when holding its opponent to five runs or less ... The Bobcats are now in first place in the East Division, a half game up on Kent State, who lost to Bowling Green today ... Krauss and senior second baseman Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.) each collected their team-leading 17th multi-hit game of the year Friday, while Krauss had his team-high 13th multi-RBI game ... Johnston has a five-game hit streak going, while registering multiple hits in four of those games ... Krauss earned two walks Friday to move into a tie with Mike Arbinger (1999-2002) for fourth on Ohio's career base on balls list with 107 ... With his two RBIs and four runs scored, Krauss also moved into a tie for ninth with Brady Gick (1993-97) on the Bobcats' all-time RBIs ledger with 135 and sole possession of ninth on the career runs scored list with 142 ... Krauss climbed into eighth on the career total bases list with 332, after collecting five today, while Besl moved into tenth with 320 ... Besl also now has 671 career at-bats, which places him ninth in Bobcat history, as he passed current assistant coach Scott Malinowski.