May 3, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio -
The Ohio baseball squad defeated Wilmington 12-1 in 1995 - the last time the two teams met - and replicated that very same outcome as it went on to drop the visiting Quakers Wednesday night in a non-conference contest in Bob Wren Stadium.
Ohio (16-21) banged out 18 hits and two home runs at the plate and limited Wilmington (14-17) to just one run on eight hits on the mound with a staff of seven pitchers that saw action on the night.
Matt Stiffler led the offensive explosion with a near cycle as he finished 4-for-5 at the dish with a single, two doubles and his second homer of the year. Willie Walker also went yard for the Bobcats and drove in four runs while Hayden Johnston finished with three hits.
The Bobcats got a tally on the board in their very first at-bat. Stiffler led off the game for Ohio with a single in the hole at short and Dusty Hammond drew a walk to follow. An Anthony Gressick flyout moved Stiffler to third and a Walker sacrifice fly brought him home for the game's first run.
Ohio added another run in the third inning on Hammond's first sacrifice fly of the day. Johnston led off the at-bat with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a flyout before Hammond brought him home.
The Quakers were able to get a score across in the fourth inning, but they were not able to keep the Bobcats from extending their lead throughout the rest of the game.
Ohio registered at least two tallies in every inning from the fifth through eighth innings. The Bobcats got three runs in the bottom of the fifth on run-scoring double from Stiffler and sacrifice flies by Hammond and Gressick. They then added a pair in both the sixth and seventh frames, the first two on RBI hits by Johnston and Stiffler, and the next two on a run-scoring hit by Brandon Besl and sacrifice fly by Jason Selhorst to extend Ohio's advantage to 9-1.
The highlight of the night for the Bobcats at the plate came during the eighth inning. Stiffler led off with a home run over the boards in straight-away right field and - after a Hammond double and a Gressick flyout - Walker jacked his team-leading fourth homer of the year just a few feet inside the right field foul pole for a 12-1 lead to close out the scoring.
Bobcat starter Yale Silverman (2-2) was awarded the victory after tossing two scoreless innings with two hits allowed.
Kurt Smith, Cody Neyman, Daniel Utts, Matt Schlarb, Dan Weiss and Kevin Mementowski also saw action on the hill for the Bobcats. Neyman's appearance was his first since March 7 after suffering an elbow injury.
Stiffler's four hits tied him for the season-best single-game performance by an Ohio batter. Gressick and Vondrell have also accomplished the feat this year.
"Coach (Scott) Malinowski has been working with him (Stiffler) on getting his hands inside the ball and turning on the ball a little more," Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "I thought he did a real good job of doing that tonight. That's what he needs to do to be a good hitter."
Bryant Witt extended team-season-best hitting streak to 16 games while Walker moved his to 15.
Kenny Branscom (2-3) took the loss for the Quakers. He was charged with one run allowed in 1 1-3 innings before having to leave with an apparent injury.
Taylor Clark, Jamison George and Jimmy Wolverton each recorded two hits for Wilmington.
The NCAA Division III Quakers were recently added to Ohio's schedule to make up for games lost to weather cancellations. The Bobcats game scheduled for Tuesday at Youngstown State that was cancelled brought the season total to nine call-offs.
The Bobcats will rejoin league play this weekend when they host Mid-American Conference East Division foe Akron. The series is set to begin Friday at 6 p.m., in Bob Wren Stadium.