AKRON, Ohio - The Ohio University baseball team (25-25; 14-9 MAC) withstood a furious late-inning rally by Akron Saturday afternoon to take game two of the three-game series 9-8. With the win over Akron, Ohio earned a spot in the 2012 MAC Championship.
Ohio held a comfortable 9-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the eighth, but Akron would go on to score four runs in the eighth and two in the ninth, coming up one run shy of sending the game into extra innings.
Bobcat starter Jason Moulton (Toledo, Ohio) picked up the win after he went 5.1 innings, allowing six hits and just two earned runs, improving to 6-3 on the year. Junior Brett Barber (Hurricane, W. Va.) came on in the eighth and picked up his team-leading sixth save on the year.
Offensively for the Cats, Ohio outhit Akron 12-11. Freshman Cody Gaertner (Allison Park, Pa.) was one of five Bobcats that finished with two hits. He also had a game-high three RBI. Fellow freshman Ian Mezlak (Lorain, Ohio) also chipped in with a pair of RBI and hit his second home run of the year.
Ohio took the early lead as it plated three runs on two hits. Senior captain Ethan Newton (Norfolk, Va.) got things started as he led off the game with an extra-base hit, doubling to center. Freshmen Tyler Wells (Lexington, Ky.) and Jake Madsen (Cincinnati, Ohio) both reached base as they reached on an error and drew a walk, respectively.
Senior Jensen Painter (Willshire, Ohio) followed Madsen with a single through the left side to drive in Newton from third. Gaertner followed and drove in the first of his three runs thanks to a sacrifice fly to right field, which drove in Wells from third base. Junior Dan Schmidt (Kamiak, Wash.) came up next and reached on an error, allowing Madsen to score from third.
Ohio increased its lead to 4-0 in the top half of the second thanks to an RBI single by Madsen, which scored sophomore Garrett Black (Lima, Ohio) from third. Akron responded in the bottom half of the second as it plated a pair of runs.
In the third inning, Mezlak gave the Bobcats a 6-2 lead after he hit a two-run home run over the right field wall, which plated sophomore Scott White (Springboro, Ohio). White got on base as he singled through the left side. Ohio struck again in the fourth thanks to a two-out double to right center field by Gaertner, which scored Painter and Newton to make the count 8-2.
Ohio extended its lead to 9-2 in the top of the eighth as Madsen scored from third. Akron would not go away as it loaded the bases with no outs to open the frame and would finish the inning with four runs on four hits, capitalizing on two Bobcat errors. Barber came on in the eighth and recorded the final out of the inning.
In the ninth, Akron loaded the bases with no outs. The Zips would score two runs and would later have the tying run just 90 feet away in the form of Bryan White.
White nearly tied the game as he attempted to steal home after a ball got away from Gaertner, but he was called out at the plate after the Ohio catcher threw the ball to Barber, who applied the tag to retire White.
Barber secured the win on the next pitch as he got Akron's Jared Turocy to ground out to the mound to end the game.
The Bobcats return to action Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Ohio junior pitcher Seth Streich will take on Akron's Alex Lofton as Ohio goes for its third league sweep of the year.