May 8, 2007
ATHENS, Ohio - Senior Willie Walker and junior Matt Stiffler combined to go 8-for-11 with eight RBI and four runs scored and the Ohio baseball team scored a season-high 20 runs in a 20-3 victory over Dayton Tuesday night at Bob Wren Stadium.
"We're just swinging the bats really well right now," Walker said. "We have a lot of confidence at the plate. Once you start getting some runs on the board early and get the starter out of the game it is big."
Ohio (20-27) won for the fifth time in the last six games and has collected at least 10 hits in each of the last six games. The Bobcats finished with 20 runs on 22 hits and did not commit an error for the second straight game. A total of 13 different Bobcats picked up at least one hit in the game while 11 tallied at least one RBI and 10 scored at least one run. Ohio also reeled off seven consecutive singles with one out in the seventh inning. Dayton (18-29) finished with three runs on 11 hits with four errors. The Flyers have lost nine of their last 10 games.
Walker (Marysville, Ohio) had a huge day as he finished 5-for-6 at the plate with four RBI singles and a run scored. He has driven in 14 runs in the last five games. The five hits was a career high for Walker and the most by a Bobcat this season. Walker has raised his season batting average from .286 to a season-high .342 over the last seven games.
"I'm just going up there swinging trying to do what I can to help the team," Walker said. "When everybody is hitting it helps everybody else get confidence. It helps everyone in the lineup."
Stiffler joined Walker in the offensive outburst as he finished 3-for-5 with a home run, triple, four RBI, and three runs scored. He finished just a double shy of the cycle in the win. Stiffler also drew a walk on the night, his 41st of the season, to claim sole possession of third place on Ohio's single season walks list. He will tie Jeff Rook for second place on the list with his next free pass.
Sophomore Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) also had a big day as he went 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Junior Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI. He has now hit in eight straight games.
Sophomore Matt Schlarb (Lexington, Ohio) picked up his seventh win of the season to move to 7-2. He made the start for Ohio and allowed eight hits and three earned runs in 5.2 innings. He struck out four and walked two in the outing. Junior Andrew Shisila (Mentor, Ohio) turned in 3.1 scoreless innings while sophomore Adam Goodpasture (Columbus, Ohio) pitched a perfect ninth inning.
Chris Beesley took the loss for Dayton to fall to 0-1 on the year. He allowed nine runs, only three of them earned, on nine hits in four innings. Four different Flyers paced the offense with two hits apiece.
The Bobcats jumped on Beesley for two runs in the first when Stiffler singled to open the inning. Freshman Marc Krauss then reached on a Dayton error and Besl drove Stiffler in with an RBI groundout. Walker followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 Bobcat lead.
Ohio poured it on in the second inning as the Bobcats scored five times in the frame. Hartle doubled down the right field line to start the rally and senior Bryant Witt (Powell, Ohio) reached on an error to put two runners aboard. After freshman Jeremie Rehak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) reached on yet another Dayton error that allowed Hartle to score, Stiffler came up with a long, three-run home run to center field. Besl singled later in the inning and came around to score on Walker's second RBI single of the game for a 7-0 Ohio lead.
The Flyers got a run back in the top of the third but the Bobcats answered right away with two runs in the bottom half. Hartle again doubled to open the inning and moved to third on an infield single by Rehak. Stiffler drove both runners in with a ringing triple off the top of the right field wall to leave him just a double shy of the cycle and give the Bobcats a 9-1 advantage.
Dayton scratched for another run on an RBI double by Jeff Mercer, but some erratic Flyer pitching in the bottom of the frame led to four more Bobcat runs. Hartle and Stiffler walked around a single by Witt to load the bases. Senior J.T. Osburn (Warrenton, Va.) and Krauss then drew back-to-back walks with the bases loaded to score two runs. Besl followed with a sac fly and Walker finished the scoring in the inning with an RBI single for a 13-2 Bobcat lead.
The Bobcats poured it on again in the seventh inning with five more runs. After a strikeout to start the inning, the Bobcats rapped seven consecutive singles off of Dayton pitching. Besl, sophomore Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.), Hartle and senior Dusty Hammond (Bellefontaine, Ohio) each hit RBI singles and senior Jared Willis (Logan, W.Va.) drew a bases loaded walk to give Ohio an 18-3 lead.
Ohio added two more runs in the eighth on an RBI double by senior Jon Vondrell (Centerville, Ohio) and the fourth RBI single of the night by Walker for a 20-3 lead. Goodpasture was perfect in the ninth so end Ohio away winners for the fifth time in the last six contests.
The Bobcats look to continue their winnings ways Wednesday when they travel to Morgantown, W.Va., for a non-conference match up with West Virginia. Ohio has won four of its last five contests away from home. First pitch between the Bobcats and Mountaineers is slated for 7 p.m.