May 4, 2007
ATHENS, Ohio - Every hitter in the Ohio lineup recorded a multi-hit game and the Bobcats pounded out a season-best 24 hits as the Ohio baseball team earned its first conference road win of the season, a 13-6 victory against Akron Friday at Lee Jackson Field.
"Our kids swung the bat well today," Ohio Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "Coach (Scott) Malinowski has been working very hard with these guys all year. They are starting to read pitches and starting to come around."
Ohio (18-26, 4-15) recorded its third consecutive win and first victory of the season in Mid-American Conference road action. The Bobcats started the season 1-16 on the road and 0-9 in MAC road play but have won their last three road contests.
Ohio trailed Akron 3-0 after three innings but scored 11 times between the fourth and seventh frames. The team finished with 13 runs on a season-high 24 hits and committed just one error in the game. Ohio's previous season high for hits was 22 in the second game of a doubleheader against Oakland on March 18. Akron (19-18, 5-11) finished with six runs on 12 hits and one error.
All nine hitters in the Ohio lineup finished with at least two hits and seven collected at least one RBI. Sophomore Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) finished with a career-high four hits in five at-bats and finished a triple shy of the cycle. He finished with a double, a home run, a walk, two runs scored, and three RBI in the win.
"Klimko really picked us up today," Carbone said. "All of our hitters did a good job with two strikes and with runners in scoring position."
Junior Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) had a big day as he finished 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBI and two runs scored. Senior Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio) posted a 3-for-6 day with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored while sophomore Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) was 3-for-6 with a double and three runs scored. Freshman Jeremie Rehak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) joined Klimko with four hits in six at-bats and also tallied an RBI.
"I thought Rehak swung the bat very well today," Carbone said.
Freshman Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio) and junior Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) each collected two hits on the day and moved up on some of Ohio's single season records list. Stiffler drew his 39th walk of the season to tie him with four former Bobcats for fourth place on Ohio's single season walks list. His next walk will tie him with Jeff Rook for third place on the list. Krauss collected his 17th double of the season to tie him with five former Bobcats for sixth place on the team's single season doubles list. His next double will tie him with former Bobcats Adam Fox and Jason Graham for fourth place on the list. Krauss also drew two walks on the day.
"(Krauss) is a power guy but has command of the strike zone," Carbone said. "If you do not get the ball over the plate to Krauss, he is not going to swing at it. He is a tough kid."
Lost in the offensive explosion was a complete game outing from sophomore starter Kevin Mementowski (Parma, Ohio). He earned the win to improve to 3-2 on the season and allowed six runs on 12 hits in nine complete innings. The nine innings was a career-high for the Bobcat right-hander. He finished with three strikeouts and two walks in the win.
"(Mementowski) always gives us a chance to win, and that is all that you can ask," Carbone said. "He is tough, hard-nosed and gets three pitches over for a strike."
Billy McKinney took the loss for the Zips as he allowed seven runs on 14 hits in five innings pitched. Charlie Lenhard and Kevin Haas were each 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Akron lineup.
Akron struck first in the contest with a pair of runs in the bottom of the opening frame. Lenhard rapped an RBI double in the inning and John Turk gave the Zips an early 2-0 lead with an RBI groundout. A Brett Savage sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second gave the Zips a 3-0 lead.
Sophomore Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) put Ohio on the board in the top of the fourth when he led off the inning with a solo home run. The big fly came on a full count pitch and was Klimko's fourth of the season to cut Ohio's deficit to 3-1.
Mementowski settled down after the second inning and faced the minimum over the next two frames. The Bobcat offense backed their starting pitcher with a huge fifth inning as Ohio plated six runs in the frame. The inning started with a pair of groundouts before the Bobcats rallied with two away. Besl started the outburst with a two-out double and came around to score when Walker rapped a double of his own. Klimko followed with Ohio's third consecutive double to score Walker and tie the game at three. Hartle gave Ohio the lead with an RBI single and moved to second on the throw home. After Bryant Witt (Powell, Ohio) was hit by a pitch, Rehak and Stiffler collected back-to-back RBI singles to give Ohio a 6-3 lead.
The Bobcats added to their lead in the sixth with another run. Krauss opened the inning with a double to chase McKinney from the contest. After a pair of groundouts, Klimko came through with a two-out, RBI single to score Krauss and give Ohio a 7-3 advantage.
Ohio put things away in the seventh when the Bobcats tacked on four runs to take a commanding 11-3 lead. Stiffler started things with a one out double and scored on an RBI single by senior J.T. Osburn (Warrenton, Va.). Krauss followed with a walk in front of an RBI single by Walker. After a walk by Klimko and a pitching change, Hartle came through with a two-run single.
Akron tried to get back into the game in the bottom of the seventh with three runs. The Zips scored once on an error and plated another with a sacrifice fly by Scott Gunn. Lenhard made the score 11-6 later in the inning with an RBI single. Akron still had two runners on with one away, but Mementowski retired the next two hitters to escape further damage.
Ohio finished the scoring with two more runs in the ninth. Hartle collected an RBI on a sac fly and Witt stroked an RBI single for a 13-6 lead. Mementowski retired the Zips in order in Akron's last chance to finish his complete game and send Ohio away winners.
The Bobcats and Zips will continue the three-game series Saturday with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Lee Jackson Field. Ohio left-hander Zach Elmer (Delaware, Ohio) will make his first career start against Akron right-hander Frank Turocy. The game can be heard on WATH 970 AM or online at ohiobobcats.com.