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Baseball Wins Rubber Match at Akron, 12-8

May 6, 2007

Box Score

AKRON, Ohio - Sophomore Brandon Besl slugged two home runs and tallied a career-high four RBI as the Ohio baseball team earned a 12-8 win at Akron in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday at Lee Jackson Field.

"It was a hitter's day and the wind was blowing out," Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "These guys that we have out there (Besl and Klimko) are just sophomores. We are real encouraged with the way our younger players are playing right now."

Ohio (19-27, 5-16) continued its hot hitting with 17 hits but the Bobcats cut things close in the win. Ohio led 8-0 after the top of the fourth but the Zips cut the lead to a single run at 9-8 after the seventh inning. The team has recorded at least 10 hits in each of its last five games. Ohio scored in every inning except the fifth and seventh.

The Mid-American Conference series win was the second of the season for the Bobcats. Ohio also took two of three from Ball State earlier this season. After a 1-16 start on the road this season, the Bobcats have won four of their last five games away from home.

The Bobcats finished with 12 runs on 17 hits and did not commit an error in the win. Akron (20-19, 6-12) finished with eight runs on 13 hits and committed one error on the day.

Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) paced the Bobcat offense as he recorded his first career multi-homer game and finished 3-for-6 with a career-high four RBI and three runs scored. The home runs were the fourth and fifth of the season for the sophomore third baseman.

Junior Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) also had a huge day as he was 3-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored. Stiffler also drew a walk, his 40th of the season, to tie former Bobcat Jeff Rook for third place on Ohio's single season walks list. Rook also holds second place on the list with 42 walks while Matt Engleka is Ohio's single season walks leader with 46.

Sophomore Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) finished 2-for-5 in the win and had a big two-run home run to give Ohio some breathing room after Akron had cut Ohio's lead to 9-8. He finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Seniors Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio) and J.T. Osburn (Warrenton, Va.) and freshman Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio) each collected two hits in the win.

Sophomore Chris Rigo (Westlake, Ohio) earned the win to move to 1-3 on the season. He allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 6.2 innings pitched. Junior John Angelicchi (Woodmere, Ohio) pitched the final 2.1 innings and did not allow a run on three hits to earn his second save of the season.

"(Angelicchi) is a gamer," Carbone said. "His breaking ball was good today and his fastball had good pop. He is doing some really good pitching for us right now. He is the kind of pitcher you want out there when the game is on the line."

Steve Zemanek took the loss for the Zips as Ohio knocked him out of the game after just three innings. He allowed eight hits and seven runs in the loss. Vince Chiera was 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead the Akron offense.

The Bobcats wasted no time getting to Zemanek as they jumped on the Akron southpaw for four runs in the first inning. Stiffler walked to start the inning and moved to second when Krauss singled two batters later. Besl then delivered a three-run home run, his fourth of the season, to give Ohio an early lead. Klimko walked after the blast and came around to score when senior Jared Willis (Logan, W.Va.) slugged a two-out, RBI double to make it a 4-0 Ohio lead.

The Bobcats added a run in the second when Stiffler singled and moved to third on a double by Osburn. Stiffler then came around to score on a passed ball to give the Bobcats a 5-0 lead. Ohio went up by seven runs in the third with a two-run inning. Walker and junior Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) each singled and scored on a two-run single from Stiffler for a 7-0 Bobcat advantage.

Ohio took an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning but missed a chance to blown the game open. Besl and Klimko rapped back-to-back singles to start the inning and Walker drove in Besl with an RBI single. Ohio still had two runners on with nobody out but the next three hitters went down in order to strand both runners.

Rigo had allowed just two hits through the first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth as Akron climbed back into the contest with a four-run inning. Kurt Davidson hit a solo home run to start the inning and Chiera collected a three-run double to cut Ohio's lead to 8-4.

Rigo settled down to retire the Zips in order in the fifth and Ohio got a run back in the top of the sixth. Besl hit a solo home run on a 1-2 pitch to open the inning. The home run was the second of the day for Besl and gave Ohio a 9-4 lead.

Brett Savage got Akron to within three runs in the bottom of the sixth with a long ball of his own. Savage's shot came with one runner aboard to make the score 9-6.

The Zips made it a one-run game in the seventh as they scored twice. John Turk had an RBI single and Phil Bednar drew a bases loaded walk to cut Ohio's lead to a single run at 9-8.

The Bobcats fired right back with a pair of runs of their own in the top of the eighth. Krauss singled to start the inning and Klimko delivered some big insurance runs two batters later with a two-run home run to left field to give Ohio an 11-8 lead. Osburn rapped an RBI single in the ninth and the Bobcats held Akron scoreless in the final two frames for the 12-4 final.

The Bobcats finally return home after an eight-game road trip Tuesday, when Ohio will play host to Dayton. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. in Bob Wren Stadium.